Dark discussions with educators

Bryan Alexander, Jul 21, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Bryan Alexander's 'Dark Post' has been resonating with educators since it appeared last week. "Never in my professional life have I heard so much fear coming from educators." In it, he summarizes educators' comments and fears, as follows:

  • little confidence out there in higher education’s business model, with cuts to departments and misguided spending priorities
  • professorial tenure declining and adjuncthood on the rise; nobody sees tenure making a comeback
  • fear of technology - MOOCs will kill the class, data will dehumanize college, ebooks will kill the book
  • political gridlock, a lack of bipartisanship, a disaster in the making int he K12 system

"They don’t mention political heroes who will help them." Nobody will help them. The college and university system has set itself aside for too many years. A country with a greater commitment to public education would find resilience in the support of the people. In Canada and in Europe people march in the streets to support education funding. We don't see that in the U.S., and the people taking the system apart are free to move with impunity.

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