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.
America’s ever-deepening college debt problem is really a symptom of a worse malady: our societal addiction to college itself. Any sober assessment of the facts would indicate that too many Americans are going to college. As a result, college costs--and debt--have skyrocketed while the rewards for college have plunged.
President Trump just signed an Executive Order requiring colleges and universities to uphold free speech or risk losing federal research and education grants. “Universities that want taxpayer dollars should promote free speech, not silence free speech,” President Trump said at the White House on Thursday. “People who are confident in their beliefs should not censor others.”
When hackers struck one-third of North Dakota's schools with a vicious malware attack last February, it highlighted the growing cyber threat facing America's public-education sector-even in a state that's ahead of the cybersecurity curve.
Now it is finally occurring to some folks that A) college is not necessarily the best choice for all students and B) the world needs people who do what Mike Rowe always called the jobs "that make civilized life possible for the rest of us." Done well, new studies show, it can boost both academics and wages for students. It might even help solve the mystery of the missing non-college educated male workers. And so Career and Technical Education (CTE) is coming back into its own.
Well, it turns out that U.S. taxpayers spend about $40 billion--not million--a year on research at American colleges and universities. These dollars are spent by the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation and a host of other agencies. These funds are not being used to underwrite tuition or teaching; Washington is engaging universities as subcontractors in order to conduct selected research.