Earlier this month, David Brooks, the well-known New York Times columnist, published an op-ed entitled, “The Practical University”. In the context of the rapidly-expanding world of online education, Mr. Brooks is correct when he states that we are forced to ask the question, “What is a university for?” His answer: “…universities are places where young people acquire two sorts of knowledge, technical… and practical.” To date, some 452 individuals have either submitted comments about Mr. Brooks’ answer to that question, or have weighed in themselves on this critical matter.
For the price of one four day pass to the Master’s golf tournament this weekend, you could get a) a year’s tuition at a New York State University, b) a trip for two to Paris c) a motorcycle. This isn’t a multiple choice question. I’m saying you can get all of these for the price of one ticket, which right now is averaging over $13,000 on the secondary market. Of course, the list price is only $200, but you have to have been born into that, since an actual ticket hasn’t been up for sale for decades. So if you want in to Augusta National, you have to scalp your passes like everyone else that isn’t a corporate sponsor.
It is difficult to know if MOOC’s (Massive Open On-line Courses) are a conspiracy to undermine the Academy or mankind’s final redemption, a way to open the avenues of higher education. However one sees it, millions of people are already taking on-line courses. There is a revolution taking place driven by technology and cost controls. Where it will end up is anyone’s guess, but ultimately the success of this innovation will depend on measured competencies.
When Marshall McLuhan penned his now immortal phrase: “The medium is the message,” he could have added the ultimate truism of a then little-known Ellery Sedgwick: “In America, getting on in the world means getting out of the world we’ve known before.” Apparently, the world we’ve known, the American-bred world of ‘bigger means better,’ is now in full flight toward the target of Teensy-Weensy land, where everything of value will now be able to fit on the postage-stamp screen of a gadget grasped between thumb and forefinger and able to store or send the sum of any known or conceptualized quantity to an automated receptor of as yet undetermined size and shape.
The United States spends more on health care than any other nation on earth. Yet, the U.S. has some of the worst health care outcomes of any nation in the developed world. Why is that? It’s due to the tortured way the nation runs its system.
Helen Keller famously wrote that "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." She continued: "To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable."
On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released startling new data on the incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in American kids. According to the CDC, over 6 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Despite coming on the heels of April Fool’s Day, those numbers are no joke.
I am the father of two boys, aged 3 and 5, whom I’m actually quite fond of. That’s despite their, shall we say, unpredictable behavior, which can range from angelic to beyond maddening, and I’m being generous. Like one time when they older decided to cover the younger in shampoo, despite not being in the shower. And when these things happen, you try not to lose your cool, which is like trying not to break 55 on a highway in the desert. Sometimes you even say a few words you might regret, like words you can’t say on public radio but your kids manage to repeat in public at remarkably inopportune moments.