American higher education is generally acknowledged to be the best in the world.

It offers elite colleges and universities where great thinkers and researchers have freedom to teach and study and where young people can learn from them and even work with them.

It offers great state universities where students can learn what they need or want to know about almost anything.

It offers community college where students of any age can learn almost any trade or occupation or fill in the gaps of their education.

It has a large online sector that gets poor results but offers a fast track to a degree in a degree-conscious world.

And it offers many options that don’t fit into any of the categories above.

Now Bill Gates has turned his mighty gaze onto this cornucopia of choices, and he does not like what he sees.

Although he did not stay at Harvard to earn his own degree, his vast wealth makes him an expert on every subject where his gaze falls.

In an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, he  shared some of his thoughts about what higher education needs.

And, to this reader, the real jolt comes at the end of the interview, when he refers to NCLB and the SAT as the “gold standard.”