the 21st century education

23 Feb

Since I was in college, I’ve been frustrated with the way the modern academic system works. Over time, that dissatisfaction has only grown more severe. As a value investor, my goal is to get the most value for the price paid. Yet formal education is an investment whose value seems to have decreased over time – it provides less and costs more every year. At my alma mater, students today are paying more than double the tuition I did to receive an education that is a commodity. I believe there are much better ways to deliver education that don’t involve formal education or degrees, but rather systems that potential employers agree offer a comprehensive assessment of skills. In short, it’d be a, “I don’t care how you learned it if you know it” approach. Folks with the wherewithal to learn the requisite skills through self- or small-group study would be encouraged to do so. Others could pursue a more formal path but not by following the pre-determined, formal curriculum that now exists.

One university is taking some concrete steps to shift the model, and it sounds promising. Steve Blank wrote a nice blog entry about it. It’s available here.


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