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News Corp’s Joel Klein: Education Is A State-Run Monopoly That’s Very Hard To Disrupt | TechCrunch


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Analytics and assessment, is seems, is really what Klein is focusing on. The biggest mistake we’ve made so far, he thinks, is that we have focused so much on technology but not enough on assessment. Different kids, after all, learn in different ways and at different speeds. But with enough analytics, we should be able to better personalize the education experience.

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I'm going to go on a limb here. The problem I see with education is not common core standards or assessment; it's the rising cost of education for both the state and the family, juxtaposed against an increasingly-competitive white-collar job market.

The education I received in many ways prepared me more effectively to compete on a Jeapordy show than it did for competing in the job market.

And so, education as Joel describes it, I don't believe matches up with what families and children actually want.

People in this country, in my opinion, want the ability to be able to provide for their families. In our current society, for the majority of folks, this means getting a job. Much of the cultural shift places a higher value and respect quotient for white-collar jobs than blue-collar jobs; which requires a college-level education.

However, the what -- and not the how -- we are educating our nations children does not align with this goal. All the folks on stage are solving a certain kind of problem -- accessibility and availability; what, however, they are unfortunately not solving is affordability.

To be abundantly clear, those folks are each pioneers in their respective rights, and I applaud the efforts and sacrifice they have put in to move our country forward. We are in their debt.

At the same time, the folks who hold the cards, so to speak, are the employers -- and to a greater extent, the shareholders.

Ironically enough, most of the folks aiming to change education or whom believe education is ripe for disruption are living by a double standard. They tout incredible tools like Khan Academy, Coursera, and Udacity, whilst at the same time maintaining a strict hiring bar that intimidates and dissuades non-bachelors degree holding folks from applying for jobs at their respective companies.

And we'd be lying to ourselves if we think that any investor or executive in silicon valley would have a cognitive bias and predisposition towards someone with a degree from University Now, U of Phoenix, Straighter Line, or course certificates from Udacity or Khan Academy.

The greatest problem to education in this country is one of affordability, not accessibility and availability (which, interestingly enough, is a big problem for folks outside of the US -- which is why it's no surprised that 2/3 of all Coursera students live in either India or China).

When the Facebooks, Googles, Microsofts, News Corporations, Udacitys, and Twitters of the world start not only hiring but actively seeking folks without a former college degree and/or attendance at a non-brand name private or public university, then I believe we will see the cycle begin to change or be "disrupted or revolutiononized."

And finally, I'll say this. I'm globally minded -- very much so -- but I will say that these companies actually probably prose a greater threat to American jobs than any other.

As they solve the access and availability question for the rest of the world, they actually help other nations scale their own education and technical skills at a much greater rate, which will worsen the cycle for Americans here at home (immigration policies notwithstanding).

Until folks can support their families without jobs -- an unlikely near-future given the current economic and political climate -- it will be the companies who hold the opportunity to change or perpetuate the current education cycle.

It's true, companies are still quite snobby when it comes to credentials.

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