TED Conversations

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

U.S. Education Overhaul

I propose a simple, time tested model to 1.) lower the cost of education and 2.) empower students with useful knowledge. Please give any insights you may have.

The following is the process of gaining a marketable education:

student desires - education - learning - marketable skills - employer desires

In the U.S. this process breaks down at each step. Specifically, the main incentive for students to get an education is to have a financially stable future, however most students don't study, learn, or practice what they want to do until they get into the work place. Therefore they're useless until trained by the employer.

So why do we do it? Today's U.S. education system is the product of our industrial age, but market demands have changed. Education is just slow to catch up.

THE SOLUTION: My proposed method is to take students out of high school and inject them directly into the field they want to be in. This will cut out the 4+ year waste of secondary education, save students from debt, and provide them with connections, experience, and skills they will actually be able to use.

Employers have two incentives to do this. 1.) a young student is more malleable and the employer can raise up this student asset however he wants. 2.) it makes economic sense for the employer; Average college tuition is ~$40,000 / year. Times four years, that gives a student roughly $160,000 that he was planning on spending on his undergrad. Plus four years of time. Instead of paying a school to entertain a student, a student could pay a fraction of that money and time to a mentor, while providing benefit to the mentor simultaneously.

Again, the student here gains connections, experience, and skills.

Thoughts?

0
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Dec 1 2012: If you find this hard to believe, I won't blame you.

    For many skilled positions, your solution was exactly the way many people were trained, by their employers. Then came the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Equal employment opportunity was a BIG issue then, and over the next several years this law resulted in many law suits against employers, some of them baseless. Employers needed a way to standardize the employee selection process. Most employers took the easy way out, by simply requiring a college degree. This solved the equal opportunity problem and also provided employers with better candidates. Coincidentally the draft for the Vietnam war was producing many veterans eligible for the benefits of the GI Bill; one benefit being help with college tuition.

    To this day, many skilled positions that could be filled by high school graduates still require a college degree. Changing this would involve changing the law.

    One of many unintended consequences.
    • Dec 1 2012: That is perfect to know. It totally makes sense, so if we were to change education in this way, we'd need a way to make it fair. How about supplementing the mentored learning position with two things:

      1) A classically designed education but from a far cheaper and accessible online source like coursera or udacity?

      2) Have peers of students under an employee. Then the employer discriminates less because he hires more, the peers can help each other through the learning process. The employer may not be able to hire all the students, and that could be a problem.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.