Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How Multiple Education Models Help Protect America's College Standing

Just like we wouldn't put all of our money into a single investment it is not wise to force higher education into a single model. Sixteen of the top 20 schools in the world according to the U.S. News and World Report on the "Best Global Universities". That ranking is important for high profile schools but most people don't attend such institutions. Ensuring multiple models are accepted will help keep America competitive in the future as these models institutionalize.

It wasn't but a decade or so ago that online education hit the market. Even though people viewed its quality as low it spread quickly to other schools and into the international market. It has become common in the higher education world and slow innovators are losing out on potential students and international reach.

Having multiple models and incorporating new ideas is important for helping the country keep its leading position. When we try and legislate higher education to the point where only traditional models are acceptable we loose our ability to adapt and change. Our innovation declines and the cost of education continues to rise while the nation looses its educational competitiveness.

Traditional models are hear to stay but will continue to adapt emerging technologies or they will fail to have the same clout in the future. Elite land based universities will still attract rich students. New generations of elite schools that have more virtual reach are starting to sow seeds that will bear fruit in the future and lead new markets.

Multiple tracks is great for the development of national intellectual capital. Wealthy 18-25 year olds can attend one type of school, while working CEO's and professionals can attend another. Their knowledge will contribute to the university that attracts the most professional attention and market reputation. New models mean new opportunities in the U.S. and overseas.

Innovation in education requires enough freedom to do something new without being subject to excess restrictions. The arguments of quality are beneficial but the arguments for particular models are not. Education may someday be cheap and accessible to billions of people on the planet through something as simple as their cell phone or watch. Where the U.S. wants to be in that equation is an open ended question.

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