What is the future of education?

imagesEverything around us is evolving through technology and the world we are living in will look very different in ten years, the same will hold true for education.  So what is the future of education?

Decades ago our public school system was one of the best.  People went to college with hopes that the degree would be the key in getting the right job and perhaps making more money than their parents did.  Much has changed.  Our public school system is far from nimble.  There are layers and layers of costs that take away from the cost of actually educating a student.  Many teachers are far from innovative and are tenured so we are stuck with them until they retire.  I never was a fan of the charter school system as I thought we should fix the system we have but the reality is I know better.  The only way to fix something inside is to start outside.  New Orleans is a perfect example of what happens when an entire education system is completely wiped away and starts from scratch with charter schools that are funded by the state, it works.   They are actually educating kids in New Orleans without the layers of corruption and money spent poorly.  They are also being innovative in how they teach kids of this generation.

The cost of a college education is exorbitant.  The debt that has been taken on by individual students is just waiting to come back and bite us all in the ass.  The lenders have used those college loans as an opportunity to make money.  We should allow students to take out loans and charge them interest rates that are based on the annual inflation rate and cap them if it gets over 5%.  Getting out of school and getting an entry level job ( that is if you can get a job in your field of choice ) and pay the type of monthly bills back to the lender is strangling most graduates ability to function on their income.  That is not a good thing.

Will more kids graduate from high school and go to a two year program that is geared towards their field of choice such as being an electrician, being a plumber, being a mechanic, being a program entry person.  Vocational schools can be a really great place for the right person and doesn’t leave you laden in debt.

More people will take classes online and there will be a time when you can get your degree through a MOOC.   That is a very good thing for the global world because many of the students online don’t necessarily have access or the cash to go to a place for high learning.

How about the top schools in this country vs the schools that are not in the top 25?  My guess is that the top schools will always have people that want to go to them but I do believe that they will all have to become more innovative in how they are run.

Will people will want to get a history degree with a minor in some abstract field?  If they are taking out a loan that they have to pay back my gut is the answer is no.  They will want something more practical.   Having more professors be collaborative in their teachings with professors from other areas might make a difference.  After all one of the most amazing things about a liberal arts education is expanding your mind to think differently.     Seeing a Computer Science professor collaborate and teach a class with an English teacher around tech and content could be one example.  Teachers can only be innovative when tenure is taken out of the equation.  They are forced to do research, write papers and publish books that are read by few people but are just the standard process of what it means to be a tenured professor.  What if professors were just reviewed annually based on innovation, thinking out of the box, getting kids excited and not publishing a damn thing.  IMHO tenure should go.  It would change everything.

What if every college got rid of single sex fraternities? Based on what is coming out from under the rug on many college campuses across the country it seems like we are going down that path.  It would create more inclusion between both genders who could live under one roof.  This generation is the perfect generation to push for that change.  They feel more empowered to say things, they are more collaborative with each other and they are well aware of the world that we live in and how hard it is to chart your course outside of college.  It is important for a student to think about what goes on beyond the university.

This conversation can continue on and on but it is time for a major change in education.  I’d like to see one major educational institution take a bold stand and stop tenure, rethink their curriculum, get rid of single sex organizations and be a leader.  While they are at it they should push to change the drinking age from 21 to 18.  If you are 18 you can vote and be drafted.  You are going to drink at 18 when you get to college so let’s make it legal so we can have open honest conversations and some rules and regulations on campuses about binge drinking.  Otherwise it will continue to create havoc on campuses across the country.

Education tends to move at a tortoise speed and the time is now to be bold and make some changes in education.