http://higheredwatch.newamerica.net/sites/all/themes/nafbase/images/logo.pngBy Rachel Fishman and Amy Laitinen. When President Obama said he was going to “shake things up” in higher education just under a month ago, many of us didn’t really believe it, fatigued from lofty presidential promises that failed to go anywhere due to Congressional gridlock and the effective workings of the higher education lobby. Well, we were wrong. This week he revealed his bold new vision for higher education that will focus on three key areas: paying for performance, promoting innovation and competition, and ensuring that student debt remains affordable. The first priority—paying for performance—could be the most ambitious reform to higher education funding since the creation of federal financial aid. Speaking to a large crowd of mostly college students at SUNY Buffalo, Obama explained, “Our first priority is aimed at providing better value for students -- making sure that families and taxpayers are getting what we pay for. More...