The strange beast that is higher ed

by | Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I have blogged previously about the challenges faced by higher education (here and here), exacerbated (or maybe revealed) by new technologies. Here is an essay by Charles Murray — not a person I thought I would ever cite approvingly 🙂

He has a recent essay in WSJ titled: For Most People, College Is a Waste of Time. Here’s a key quote:

Imagine that America had no system of post-secondary education, and you were a member of a task force assigned to create one from scratch. One of your colleagues submits this proposal:

First, we will set up a single goal to represent educational success, which will take four years to achieve no matter what is being taught. We will attach an economic reward to it that seldom has anything to do with what has been learned. We will urge large numbers of people who do not possess adequate ability to try to achieve the goal, wait until they have spent a lot of time and money, and then deny it to them. We will stigmatize everyone who doesn’t meet the goal. We will call the goal a “BA.”

You would conclude that your colleague was cruel, not to say insane. But that’s the system we have in place.

Murray, given his American Enterprise Institute connections, not surprisingly focuses on certification, and does not have as much to say on technology. That said, technology is possibly the greatest single motivator for the kinds of change that Murray is espousing.

Topics related to this post: Learning | Online Learning | Teaching | Technology

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