The False Promise of the Education Revolution
For whom are we reinventing college? The punditry around reinvention has trumpeted the arrival of MOOC’s, badges, “UnCollege,” and so on as the beginning of a historic transformation. “College Is Dead. Long Live College!,” declared a headline in Time’s “Reinventing College” issue, which pondered whether massive open online courses would “finally pop the tuition bubble.” With the advent of MOOC’s, “we’re witnessing the end of higher education as we know it,” pronounced Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University, in The Boston Globe.
Read beneath the headlines a bit. The pundits and disrupters, many of whom enjoyed liberal-arts educations at elite colleges, herald a revolution in higher education that is not for people like them or their children, but for others: less-wealthy, less-prepared students who are increasingly cut off from the dream of a traditional college education.