You know how golden words can roll off someone’s tongue and you are ready to proclaim them all-knowing and all-seeing? But then, they keep talking and that burst of brilliance fades to black… That was my experience with an article written by Jeanne Allen in Forbes online Education section last month. The article is titled, “Our College System Is Exposed — What Now?” It takes the recent college admissions scandal and uses sound logic to make anyone desperate to attend “only” an elite college look ridiculous for passing up literally hundreds of colleges that can prepare them for the same level of success offered by those highly selective schools.
I almost applauded right there in front of my computer at the concise, informative and insightful message Ms. Allen delivered that would impact everyone who read it. That was only because an advertisement had been inserted into the middle of the article. My mistake was realized when the story picked up again after I glanced at three articles that “You May Also Like”. Ready to gain more knowledge from this contributor of sage advice, I read on. That is when I realized that the article really should have ended at the break.
Ideas were offered about how to change the entire education system because it is archaic. I took pause after reading that an online degree from a state college was equivalent to an Ivy education. A call was made for changes to accreditation standards to allow for more non-traditional programs and for federal financial aid to be extended beyond its present boundaries.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against any of this; but I am also a realist. For each action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That statement holds true in areas other than physics. There is a lot wrong with our education system from pre-K all the way through our institutions of higher learning, but there is a lot right about it too. That is why students from all corners of the globe come to the US to study. The statement I agree with most in the second part of the article is doing things that encourage our colleges to accelerate innovation. Rating colleges no more than their age, endowments and decorated faculty would be a good start in encouraging innovation. Changing the lens through which families view the college education will change the characteristics believed to be most important.