Union College President David R. Harris recently penned an argument against free speech on college campuses, claiming that institutions of higher learning have a responsibility to manage speech by providing “constructive engagement,” so that students can have an optimal learning experience.
Educational techco littleBits is partnering with The Walt Disney Company to close the gender gap in STEM through a one-year pilot project called Snap the Gap. Launching in California, 15,000 ten-year-old girls will be given a building kit to invent and play with their creations, provided by Disney, a subscription to the educational platform JAM.com, and a female mentor who can help them develop in STEM.
Besides happening on the same day, what do these two completely different events involving TPUSA students have in common? They both took place the day after President Trump signed an executive order that took aim squarely at the checkbooks of colleges and universities that deny free speech to students on campus.Coincidence?
Some of the conclusions may not come as a surprise in the Omidyar Network’s report on what works in scaling education technology in different regions worldwide. Governments, educators, advocacy groups and companies large and small need to work better together. Long-term planning and investment in infrastructure for widespread and improved access to the internet and mobile devices is critical.
A new generation always gravitates towards technology. Remember when we used to wait for computer class, just to get to tap a few keys while sharing a device with three other students? Technology in education has come a long way from then, with third and fourth graders submitting their homework via email, or taking online tests.
The traditional textbook has been in a state of transformation for some time now, and 2019 marks an important year of acceptance from the education industry and outside influencers who recognize where its path is leading. Those of us in the industry have all heard about the impending “death of the textbook.” We live in an increasingly digital world and students spend a lot of time using technology to connect to people, to be entertained, and to learn. It’s this third piece that we are finally embracing.
In this high-tech era where a college degree is positioned as a necessity for success, vocational education is often overlooked. But experts say that a vocational education provides the right experience for many jobs that are currently vacant. Indeed, there are 30 million jobs nationwide that don’t require a Bachelor’s Degree that pay an average of $55,000 annually, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
The free and open exchange of ideas and information is fundamental to the educational mission of AAU universities. The robust discussions and debates that occur at research universities have been central to the advancement of democracy, the creation of new knowledge, the fostering of educational excellence, and the promotion of social progress. As heads of these institutions we are unequivocally committed to preserving and honoring this proud heritage.
American colleges used to pride themselves on their commitment to free speech and free inquiry. That’s the only way learning takes place, we thought, and you’d have to go back to the Dark Ages to find people who disagreed. Only now the Dark Ages have returned, with college speech codes, barking-mad left-wing student mobs and faculties that refuse to hire open conservatives.
This isn’t about conservative versus liberal, Democrat versus Republican, or left versus right. It’s about intellectual freedom versus social tyranny. When those who wish to see colleges and universities function as the intellectual equivalent of totalitarian police states are finally defeated, we will all have gained a major victory for freedom and individual liberty. Our free speech rights must be protected, so that all views have space in our society where they can be expressed.