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The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2014

    The prior reviewer clearly has an agenda that does not synch wit

    The prior reviewer clearly has an agenda that does not synch with Dr. Reynolds' views. While Reynolds takes a very business-like view of the matter, including his prescriptions for improvement/change, it seems to be a much better view than continuing "more of the same" which has gotten us to this point. I marvel at the stand of those who think there's nothing wrong with our education system that more money won't fix.

    For those like myself who are not education professionals, Reynolds' summary of the history of education in the USA should be an eye opener on how we came to have the system we do. It would be useful if critics of Reynolds were to examine the success of institutions like Webster University,  no non-profit school with 20+ locations in 8countries on four continents that educate 20,000+ students. A school that has a cash-flow POSITIVE operating budget, has 30%+ "diversity" students and earns a 60% graduation rate.there is a school doing things correctly, without massive subsidizing of its operating budget by a large endowment and who is expanding every year. Did I mention it is a nominally non-profit school? 

    Those in education may not like Reynolds' views but they can not argue that the status quo is sustainable. As for the liberal arts and humanities in the future, there is a place for them but those who pursue such degrees can not complain is a skills-hungry job market does not value their learning as highly as their peers with not more commercially attractive skill sets. A "must read" for anyone interested in the topic. 

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    An Essay on Some Problems in Education

    Though I will be critical of the content of this book, it would make for a great discussion among book-club circles. Reynolds' overall argument, especially his bias in general explanations of the history of education and his views on society and politics, needs to be questioned. Glenn Reynolds belongs to a right-wing libertarian brand of thinking, economics being foremost in his concern about schooling, and he certainly grinds his axe. For the most part, his facts about huge administrative and bureaucratic costs that gobble the better part school and university budgets are correct. The exploitation of part-time or adjunct teachers, paid as wage at less than half the salary of tenured, is a fact he repeats over and over. The increasing high cost of college education is his major focus, which he calls the "bubble" that sometime has to burst; too many graduates can't find employment to pay back their loans and so hosts of impoverished students will be saddled for life to pay them off. A good bit of fear-mongering here. He is very cynical about the lesser ranks of the 99%, thinking too much is spent to aid diversity in school populations. His aim for education and people is to prepare workers for the job markets. There is not a whiff of interest in the humanities or arts. No mention is made of segregation and poverty of Americans being responsible for many of the ills of scholarly success. He suggests for-profit charter schools will help the education system out, and largely that on-line distance education will be the route for students' getting degrees and licenses. No need is seen for Liberal Arts as part of our cultural wellbeing. Reynolds does not view schooling as the education of the mind and heart, there is no instilling of skills and values to make the student intelligent, motivated to learn and become self-propelling through curiosity. His horizon is the job market and hordes of licensed and skilled workers for the marketplace--engineers not theatrical arts, business management and entrepreneurship not philosophy, literature and languages. Essentially his attitude comes from a Wall-Street profit-above-all mentality.

    The New School is not a treatise for change through well-intentioned solutions; it is an extended essay that is peddled as a $15 book. For a truly insightful book, I would suggest you read Diane Ravitch's "Reign of Error" if you want a clearer picture of what is wrong with education. Reynolds' book is a cold, mean un-illuminating candle of hope compared with the passion, compassion and reason of Ravitch's explanation of necessary change in education.

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