Really..DOE is Pursuing GE through Negotiated Rulemaking?!?

Just when we thought it was safe to start focusing on the business of running schools and educating the disenfranchised, our industry received the news that DOE is pursuing Gainful Employment legislation through Negotiated Rulemaking in the fall.  Obviously their loss in the courts has not dissuaded them from finding another way to advance this backward legislation.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know our industry needs oversight.  There are still bad actors that give the private sector colleges and schools a black eye.  But rather than spending exorbitant effort to organize negotiated rulemaking sessions for GE, wouldn’t it be better to get the brightest minds together to talk about issues that really make a difference to students?  Transparency, transferability of credits, access to state education funds, and college to career preparation all come to mind as topics that would permanently improve the lives of students, graduates, and the employers and communities where they work.

Let’s dream of a time when purpose surpasses politics and the needs of the students is more important than DOE saving face.

The Rise of the Mind

It’s a great day to be an educator!  The emergence of MOOCs, coupled with advances in low cost LMS platforms, and the proliferation of internet access means that anyone, can teach anything, to almost anybody!  Throughout the ages, the masses were taught by evangelists and philosophers and craftsmen.  Students apprenticed and learned a trade.  Education was never meant to be only for the elite and the wealthy, and yet at some point, something went terribly wrong.

Academe is recent times has been disastrous.  Tenured professors with no incentive to innovate, colleges with 15% on-time graduation rates, and burdensome regulations intended to kill private-sector options.  Student debt is out of control and states are out of money.

Enter the rise of the mind!  A throwback to ancient times when educators just wanted to teach.  And people other than traditional educators are getting into the action.  Udemy enables anybody to set-up and teach classes, on any subject, online.  Udacity engages individual professors to teach courses that are not affiliated with a university online.  edX plans on providing free access to its platform so that anybody can construct and teach a MOOC.

The possibilities are limited only by our mind and our imagination.  The kinks still need to be worked out.  Questions about evidencing quality, verifying student credentials, transferability of credit, and accreditability of providers are important issues to resolve.  We have great minds interested in advancing the open education concept so I am confident they will be able to overcome.