Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Rick Perry, Meet Salman Khan.

Back in February, Texas Governor Rick Perry challenged the state's colleges and universities to find a way to offer a four year degree for $10,000 or less. Not $10,000 per year, $10,000 total. Including books.  With the technology available today it should be possible. The cost of a four year degree the way it is done now has risen by over 400% from when I collected my degree almost 30 years ago. higher education must be one of a very few enterprises to have had negative productivity growth over time. Wander over to Instapundit and search on the term "higher education bubble" and you will get a 100 or more results. The current higher education system is becoming unsustainable and is an increasingly poor return on investment for the student.

Which brings me to Salman Khan. He may have the answer to how Texas can meet Perry's challenge. Khan was a hedge fund analyst working in Boston. He has some younger cousins that lived in New Orleans who needed tutoring in math. He put together a few YouTube tutorials for them so they could learn at their convenience. He didn't make the videos private, so other people started to watch them and thus was the Khan Academy born. I'll let him tell you the rest of the story in the TED video that follows. I see the question that needs to be answered is the determining how you test to make sure that degree requirements are met. I don't see this as a huge problem but the higher education establishment willl undoubtedly try to make it harder than it needs to be because this won't just upset their rice bowl, it will kick it across the room and shatter it.  The video is 20 minutes. It's worth every minute.

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