Why you should care
A new OZY original series delves into the people, numbers and ideas changing a fast-moving field.
Join OZY as we roll up those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer and roll out the back-to-school drill — sharpened pencils, crisp clothes and new ideas and knowledge that promise to challenge and excite receptive minds. With nearly 2 billion students around the world hitting the books, the atmosphere crackles with intellectual energy.
But this ain’t your mama’s college experience. OZY is here to help chart the way forward on the people and ideas shaking up higher education.
According to George Mason University professor Bryan Caplan, U.S. schools are deeply dysfunctional. They don’t teach useful job skills, nor do people retain most of what they learn in their classes. On those points you will find much agreement in the education world. But here’s the kicker: Caplan says if we introduce kids to job training by age 12, they could be ready to enter the job market as young as 15. Not only would this save taxpayers money and boost the economy, it would allow kids to pursue the path they find most fascinating, sparing them hours of boring, pointless lessons.
In 2018, the U.S. News and World Report college rankings might as well be the white man’s world report. Gone should be the days of ranking universities based on job prospects, alumni salaries or faculty ratings. Instead, we need a fresh system in which colleges are categorized based on the climate they create for women.
This year, total outstanding student loan debts in America surpassed $1.5 trillion, more than consumer credit card debts. Is college worth it, or is there a better way? Praxis founder Isaac Morehouse believes college is just an overpriced social signal for competence. He’s backing a new model for apprenticeships — a quick online crash course, followed by internships. Fully 96 percent of participants end up with full-time jobs, and the paid internships offset the cost of the course.
Three decades ago, two liberal arts colleges — Bates College and Bowdoin College — became essentially the only major colleges to not require SAT or ACT scores from potential applicants. Now, there are more than 1,000 colleges that no longer require testing results. But even as many colleges jump on the bandwagon, one of their key arguments — that eliminating testing would also help student body diversity — has come under fire. Researchers found no changes in low-income and underrepresented student enrollment after the colleges went test-optional.
The Ax-Wielding Futurist With Instructions for Higher Ed
The bearded forecaster lives in rural Vermont, where he chops wood for exercise. But every time he steps out, he’s transforming ed tech — lecturing on the past, present and future of education, mostly at the college and university level. Bryan Alexander promotes the opportunity for higher education institutions to further adopt and enhance such digital technologies as data analytics, learning management systems, open education resources, open access scholarly journals and textbooks, mobile technologies, social media, virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence — all to improve teaching and learning.
How Do Today’s College Students Stack Up to These Legends of 1966?
Back in 1966, the sharpest minds showed their intellectual prowess in competitions like the General Electric College Bowl. In a legendary game, four female students from Agnes Scott — a women’s college in Decatur, Georgia — nailed a last-minute comeback against four male Princeton students, the defending champions. Today, HQ sweeps the nation twice a day, and everything is a Google search away. But has the internet actually made college students more knowledgeable, or is knowledge simply more accessible? How do today’s college students stack up to the competitors of 1966? Test your acumen to find out.