Education: Price and Technology

Gregg Easterbrook’s latest Tuesday Morning Quarterback column has two items related to education this week.  One, how price is altering the college and university landscape:

 The expense of college continues to rise faster than inflation; total student debt is close to $1 trillion; even attending a public university is becoming a financial challenge.

 This suggests parents, and high school students, will begin to alter their behavior in ways calculated to manage college costs. Parents of children who are doing well in school should consider moving to Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia or Wisconsin, where the flagship state university is a prestigious institution, offering the chance of in-state tuition at a great college.

The expectation of four years at a leafy campus while maturing might be replaced, for cost reasons, by an expectation of some time on campus, mixed with online courses and work. Not as much fun perhaps as four idyllic years being JoeCollege or JaneCollege, but a way to restrain student debt.

And two, the pros and cons of technology, especially among boys:

[a research study shows] children from disadvantaged families now waste more time with video games and on the Internet than do children from affluent homes. Publicly subsidized programs to provide computers and Internet to the disadvantaged were rationalized as tools for education. How are they actually used? The article quotes Vicky Rideout, author of a study on the subject, saying, “Despite the educational potential of computers, the reality is that their use for education or meaningful content creation is minuscule compared to their use for pure entertainment.”

Girls and women are taking over college admissions; 57 percent of undergraduate students at four-year colleges are female. There are many reasons, and surely one is that teen girls waste less time on video games than teen boys do. If disadvantaged teen boys are wasting more time than affluent teen boys, that makes the picture worse.

If you’re a football fan (or even if you’re not) the rest of the article is worth reading as well.


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