Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Higher Edu Ch ch ch changes - Anya Kamenetz

"There are people out there who are extremely talented and valuable, who don't have the resources to succeed in the current system. In a crass sense, they are undervalued talent. They're non-credentialed talent. Is there a way for them to prove their talent in order to succeed? ...  they're going to get hired by forward-looking companies who are going to underpay them because they don't have a credential, and then those companies are going to succeed wildly. So that's the opportunity that the Silicon Valley group sees. And I think that's going to be a growing opportunity until it evens out. "

The foundation of the value of higher education is institutional trust -- The institution prints paper we call "degrees." Just as paper money is backed by "the full faith and trust of the US government," degrees are backed by the full faith and trust of the institution.  A degree costs more than a piece of paper because of the public trust of the institution - its reputation. We trust that the institution has made sure that  students know enough before they graduate so that they won't go out and be an embarrassment to the institution -- Accrediting bodies police schools as well.  The system is necessary cause a lone individual has no way to show the world what they know or  have done. Oh, wait - what about the internet? What about blogs, videos, websites, etc...?

This is what I was talking about. A school certifies two things:
  1.  What knowledge, skills, abilities and accomplishments are "good" - i.e. important, useful, relevant, necessary
    1. In a particular field
    2. In general
  2. Who knows that stuff - or is smart/dedicated enough to learn that stuff.
Higher Ed is pretty close to losing its monopoly on 2) - I am not sure about 1).   

    Article about Anya Kamenetz here.
    Read a chapter of her book here http://diyubook.com/read-the-book/