Last updated on: 11/25/2013 | Author:

Tom Carroll, PhD Biography

President Emeritus of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future
Pro to the question "Is a College Education Worth It?"

“Yes, a college education is certainly ‘worth it’ to the many students for whom college is a way out of cyclical poverty or geographic isolation… The value of college as a way to access new opportunities cannot be underestimated.

…Pursuing a college education often provides the first opportunity for students to direct their own education, select courses that are meaningful to their future career interests, and work with teachers and fellow students as colleagues.

The inherent value of learning aside, the current reality is that a high school education leaves many young Americans unemployable and unprepared to meet future challenges. Students graduate without the communication, collaboration, and analysis skills that will help them be successful. To succeed in the antiquated structure of many public schools, students have to shut off their technology, separate what they are learning into the often arbitrary silos of discrete courses, and succeed at reproducing answers obtained through rote learning. These strategies are especially detrimental in the sciences, where mastery occurs through hands-on experimentation and problem solving. All too often, college is the first time that students have the opportunity to learn in this way.”

“K-12 Education Should Take a Lesson from Colleges,”, Nov. 17, 2011

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • President Emeritus, National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, Mar. 1, 2014-present
  • President, National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, Nov. 2001-Mar. 1, 2014
  • Founder, Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology (PT3) program
  • Creator, Technology Innovation Challenge Grants Program, US Department of Education
  • Former Director of Technology Planning and Evaluation, E-rate program of the US Department of Education
  • Deputy Director, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education
  • Director, National Research Centers and Regional Laboratories, National Institute of Education
  • Assistant Professor, Anthropology and Education, School of Education, Clark University, 1975-1979
  • Volunteer, Peace Corps, Lesotho, 1967-1969
  • PhD, Cultural Anthropology, State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Helped the Corporation for National Service for US Secretary of Education launch AmeriCorps
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Is a College Education Worth It?