The Educational Policy Institute


Swail's STOP MAKING SENSE now available on Amazon and iBooks.

January 8, 2018

The Educational Policy Institute Press has released the latest book from EPI President Dr. Watson Scott Swail. In Stop Making Sense, Swail provides his take on a variety of policy and practical issues in education writ large, especially on issues involved educational equity, the cost of going to college, and the returns on a college educated for our nation and our graduates. Stop Making Sense provides essays taken from The Swail Letter between 2011 and 2014. As a policy analyst, former teacher, and President of the Educational Policy Institute, Swail provides a perspective that is at times raw but always interesting.

Here is what some of the experts in the field have to say about Stop Making Sense:

“Stop Making Sense” actually makes a great deal of sense!

Dr. Swail’s wide-ranging interests, set in the perspective by his impeccable research, lively mind, engaging style and passion for higher education offer matter for thoughtful reflection, discussion and debate. Set in chronological order, these brief essays draw the reader in and, while each stands on its own, it is nearly impossible to read just one! The themes and topics are as vibrant today as they were the day they were written. The problems besetting higher education are large and have not changed significantly. Swail identifies fundamental issues, especially in the areas of funding, costs, access, retention and curricular development. Not simply a critic, he is a positive force, pointing the way to well-reasoned solutions that could be implemented. It is evident that his work is an essential and important contribution to the improvement of education in the national and international contexts. Swail is not simply an intelligent and experienced thinker on education, he is also a former teacher, parent, and current lecturer and advisor. His experiences will resonate with all who want the best for their children and for the future of society.

Roseann O’Reilly Runte, Ph.D., Former president, Carleton University and Old Dominion University, current President and CEO, The Canada Foundation for Innovation. Dr. Rune has been awarded the Order of Canada and the French Order of Merit.


Reading Watson Swail’s collected essays is like stringing
small gems together to make a beautiful necklace.

Each stone is valuable but taken together the whole is far greater than the sum of the parts. The panorama of education hot topics, the breath of learning, the runway of ideas and issues leaves the reader’s head buzzing with challenges, possibilities, ideas and anti-ideas. Timely insights from the mind of Watson Scott Swail will bring much to the thinking of educators, professors, academics and practitioners of all sorts. And lay people in search of information and insights analytical and anecdotal. This is a welcome text for those who care about the future of schools, schooling, colleges, universities, teaching, learning, research and scholarship. It’s fresh and refreshing but also sound all at once.

Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, JD, President Emeritus, The George Washington University, and University Professor of Public Service, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration.


Stop Making Sense is available in ebook and print formats. Chapter titles include “The Financial Woes of Higher Education,” “Robert Reich and College Affordability,” and “The ROI on Higher Education.” Swail also takes on the NCAA in “The NCAA: Missing the Point of a Higher Education” and rails against the idea of free tuition in “College for Free? Not Really…”

Dr. Swail is a prolific writer, as noted by this collection of blogs from his The Swail Letter ( He edited the 2012 Teachers College Press book, Finding Superman: Debating the Future of American Public Education, and was the lead writer in the Jossey-Bass publication Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education. His most recent book is Educated Thoughts: Perspectives from one of America's Leading Educators. His next book, The ROI of Higher Education, is slated for publication in Summer 2018 by Teachers College Press.


Available in print or digital on and in Apple iBooks.


The Swail Letter on Education

Things Aren't Always What They Seem (December 19, 2017)

Legislation to Improve Graduation Rates Could Have the Opposite Effect (September 27, 2017)

Blame Business (September 19, 2017)


Six Year Graduation Rates of Degree Seeking Students at Four-Year Institutions, by Gender and Race/Ethnicity (October 25, 2017)

Number of Applications, Admissions, and Enrollments at Four Year Title IV Institutions by Institution Type, Fall 2016 (October 19, 2017)

Historic and Projected Expenditures for Public School Students, 1989-90 to 2025-26 (October 5, 2017)

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The Educational Policy Institute is a Virginia-based think thank and educational research center focused on issues related to educational opportunity.

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