Episode 1: 5 BIG Problems to Solve in Education
Welcome to Education and Technology Futures, a videocast that highlights interesting trends and connections in the worlds of education, technology, and culture. In this inaugural episode, Rob takes a look at 5 BIG challenges facing education in the coming decade.
I’ve noticed that, particularly at the beginning of a new year, we humans think a lot about how to feel better and look better.
And that positive positive thinking certainly isn’t limited to our personal resolutions.
In the coming months, we’ll hear plenty of rosy prognostications about the economy.
Corporate leaders will crow about their Q1 performance and tech companies will continue rolling out gadgets and solutions that promise to transform our lives.
Politicians focused on the 2020 elections will tell us how strong and affluent our country is or soon will be.
Education leaders at every level will tout institutional improvements and educational advancements.
To be sure, it will all sound so good that we’ll be tempted to believe the hype and rest content that we’re on the cusp of finally becoming a truly great and equal society.
Unfortunately, there are some “other” realities lying beneath the surface, things we don’t like to talk about, problems that can’t and won’t be solved by our hype or wishful thinking.
Problems like the 43 million adult Americans who are carrying a combined student loan debt totaling more than $1.5 trillion.
And that’s a number that isn’t likely to get any smaller since the cost of college tuition has risen more than 188% in the past twenty years, a growth rate surpassed only by the cost of hospital services.
And those costs are a real and often insurmountable barrier to the millions of people in the U.S. who either want or need additional education to improve their professional and personal futures.
Such as the 90 million adults in the U.S. (27.5%) who only have a high school degree or less.
Or the 18% of our public school students who reside in rural areas, where there are often fewer resources and where it is harder to recruit teachers.
Or the approximately 40 million people in the US who are living in poverty.
Or the 2.3 million prisoners in U.S. correctional centers, or the other 4.5 million adults on parole and probation.
Not to mention the fact that, over the coming decade, automation in the workplace will disrupt job categories, skills, and wages, and less-educated workers are the most likely to be displaced.
These are some of the really BIG realities facing our society and no amount of positive spin or hyped technology will make them go away.
They are the BIG issues that we have to solve.
And to do that we must all be willing to get real, starting this year. We need, to come together with BIG and innovative ideas, with a commitment to making the American dream a reality for everyone.
Citations and Articles of Interest
- Mark Perry’s Chart of the Century (rising costs of consumer goods)
- Rural Education in America
- Education Attainment in the United States: 2018
- United States: Population Trends and Educational Attainment
- What is the current poverty rate in the United States?
- Addressing the $1.5 Trillion in Student Loan Debt
- Student Loan Debt Statistics in 2019
- Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie of 2019
- Parole and probation have grown far beyond resources allocated to support them
- Jobs lost, jobs gained: What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages