Friday, July 18, 2014

Former ed secretary: 'Consumer-driven education' is coming

"When I look ahead to the schools of 20 years from now, what I see are institutions that not only will be more diverse, but will in every way look and function differently from the schoolhouses of today," writes Margaret Spellings, who served as secretary of education from 2005 to 2009.

Ms. Spellings, writing recently in the 125th anniversary edition of The Wall Street Journal, predicts that
Parents, for one, will have access to the flow of data, allowing them to help their children find the education that best fits them. Buyers, meaning the parents and students, will be in control of the education, selecting from an à la carte menu of options. Gone will be the fixed-price menu, where a student attends a school based upon geography and is offered few alternatives. Students and their parents can take their state and federal dollars and find an education that best suits them.

For many Americans, this revolution will mean home schooling. For others, it will mean accessing coursework online at any time. For all students, this will mean more individualized learning. ... 

From early ages through college, data and information will guide students and parents through this new world. They will look for the best education options like travelers today look for a Trip Advisor rating.

The only reason we will not reach this better place is if the status quo prevails. But the market-oriented forces that have changed so much of our world — competition, customization, technology, modern management, and customer focus — are too powerful for even an entrenched educational establishment to resist.

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