Shane J. Lopez and Valerie J. Calderon write an article entitled How America's Boys become Psychological Dropouts. Moved by the findings, an Anonymous user left a comment that rings the age-old question, what does the future of education look like?
For a fraction of what we now spend on an ineffective, bloated bureaucracy masquerading as an education system, every U.S. citizen could learn anything they want, at their own pace, without having to drive or live miles away from their home, without going into debt and without suffering through boring lectures that are more of a boost for the professors’ (or graduate assistants’) egos than a learning experience for the student.
Five numbers every American needs to know…
Total amount of currently outstanding student loan debt guaranteed by the Federal government: Over $1 trillion
Total annual budget of the United States Department of Education: About $100 billion
Total amount of capital investment necessary to create an online university-level course starting from scratch: About $200,000
Total number of university level courses (by subject) including all graduate programs: About 5,000
Total one-time investment necessary to put all university level courses online and available for free to every U.S. citizen in an accredited, degree-earning format: $1 billion
Yes, for about one percent of the annual budget of the U.S. Department of Education, every U.S. citizen could take any course and earn any degree (bachelors, masters and doctorate) that his or her time, effort and commitment would allow… all without incurring one cent of student loan debt.
Not only that… but by centralizing the content creation and decentralizing the content delivery, every U.S. citizen could have the advantage of experiencing the very best lecturers, thinkers and educators from the very best schools - all in the comfort and convenience of his or her own home, office or favorite wireless location.
Not only that… but by using the tools of the information age (interactive charts, graphs, videos, tests, etc), these online courses could be the most interesting, engaging, inspiring and efficient courses ever created. There is simply no comparison between what is now possible versus the 18th Century classroom model. And, yes, in terms of cost savings, safety and the quality of the product, the same dynamics hold true for primary and secondary education as well.
You want to balance these budgets both state and federal? You want a highly educated work force? You want to relieve parents of the burden of paying for college degrees? You want to relieve young families of the burden of tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt?
Then allocate just one percent of the annual budget of the Department of Education to create the United States Academy of Technology; put every course, every major, every bachelor, every masters, every doctorate online for free and let every U.S. citizen learn as much and excel as far and as fast as he or she can.
We have the technology, the talent and the dollars available to do this - and do it excellently - right now.
"A system of general instruction, which shall reach every description of our citizens from the richest to the poorest, as it was the earliest, so will it be the latest of all the public concerns in which I shall permit myself to take an interest." --Thomas Jefferson
Sooner or later, some nation will give up its attachment to the traditional education model – visualize outside the box for just a moment – and realize that there is an enormous competitive advantage to be gained - as well as a fortune of money to be saved - by undertaking the initial expense to put all human knowledge online and make it available to its citizens in an accredited, degree-earning format. In less than a year, the United States could be that nation.
Education is moving away from the traditional "brick & mortar" to online learning. Agree or Disagree?