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The Education of Tomorrow

This summer, Margaret Spellings (Secretary of Education from 2005 – 2009) penned a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal (http://on.wsj.com/1qg85fn).  It discussed the future of education and how terms like freshman, sophomore may go away and students will classed by similar skills, rather than age.  If you’re proficient in math, you’ll be taught with upperclassmen.  If you’re deficient with English, be prepared to study with younger students.

Going further, many teachers will not be employees of the school, but freelance contractors who work at many schools and able to bring their skills to a group of like-skilled students — almost an adjunct professor relationship, but in high school.

There are many factors driving this metamorphosis including demographics, parents and business (and its need for competent, trained employees).  The enabler for this change is technology and the “access to the flow of data, allowing them to help their children find the education that best fits them.  Students and parents (buyers) will be in control of the education, selecting from ala carte menu of options.  Gone will be the fixed-price menu, where a student attends a school based upon geography and is offered few alternatives.”

We’re starting to see this now.  Home schooling is one the rise, online courses are offered in High School, private schools are booming, and kids are attending multiple campuses on a daily basis.  In terms of changing how kids are taught, private schools have taken the lead on this transformation, as they’re not beholden to public education structures, and are at the forefront of designing and constructing education facilities to meet this new reality.  Public schools would be wise to watch and consider the benefits of such a transformation.

Just has technology has changed our lives; it also changes how education is built and supported — smaller structures, easy access, flexible classrooms, technology everywhere.  And it must be delivered cost-effectively.  Retrofitting old schools can only take you so far.  Being able to foresee these changes, and execute nimbly and efficiently, will be key to the further and future education of our children.

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