Well, this looks like a very impressive outline. I think you should proceed with confidence.
The difficult thing about using a detailed outline, though, is that you are committing to do this scavenger hunt. I suggest that you should always be willing to change the outline to accommodate changes of focus that you want to make after going deep into your readnig of some of the articles you find.
You say you are stuck on the part about finding background information, but that should be easy. All you have to do is spend some hours reading articles other people have written about the role of education. If you read 5 articles, you'll see that a few of them cover some of the same major topics. soon, you'll find that you are sort of an authority in the field, in the sense that you know the major philosophical underpinnings of this question about the role of higher ed.
Try this: http://www.questia.com/library/education/history-of-higher-education.j sp
I love questia, but you hve to pay 20 dollars for a month of access....
and wiki is a good place to get a solid understanding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_education_in_the_United_States