True of Higher Education As Well

From Twilight of the Elites, by Chris Hayes:

“Go all the way back to Sumerian civilization,” Bill Clinton instructed a crowd of global jet-setters at the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos, “and you’ll see that every successful civilization builds institutions that work, that lift people up and reward people for their greatness. Then, if you look at every one of those civilizations, all those institutions that benefited people get long in the tooth. They get creaky. The people ruling them become more interested in holding on to power than the purpose they were designed for. That’s where we are now in the public and private sector.”

I think this is where we are with higher education, frankly. I don’t like some of the rhetoric around the MOOC craze, but that is all offset by one thing — the people behind these projects are sitting down and saying “How can we give as much opportunity to as many people as possible?” And it’s really about time.

For a variety of reasons, it’s hard to do that in higher education. More people means less selectivity, and less selectivity means less power. I think that’s starting to change. Student success initiatives are a start — more graduates, at any rate. Online initiatives are helping institutions see that many of these questions are not zero sum. But this is all still against the background of an industry which measures success by status, and not graduates.

I’m hoping reading this book will give me some insight into these issues, I’ll let you all know.

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