Blog Post

The Future of Education Is Now

I am honored to announce the publication of  my piece, "The Future of Education is Now,"  just out, in Anthropology News . . .


This brief article is for a series the American Association of Anthropologists asked me to write on "the future." It is an appetizer for my book, The New Education: How We Can Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux (Basic Books, Sept 2017).


The title (finally, a title!) is exactly the one Charles Eliot used in his 1869 manifesto in The Atlantic Monthy that started the transformation of the Puritan College into the modern American university we have inherited lock, stock, and SAT scores. Because of that essay, he was made Harvard's youngest president and stayed to be its longest, 40 years, where he and his colleagues remade or made (Chicago, Stanford, Johns Hopkins) the modern university together, including all the rankings and accreditation systems that preserve what they created.

Almost none of the infrastructure of our colleges and universities today existed before 1869 in a significant way and nearly all of it was firmly in place by 1925. It was mostly funded by the Robber Barons who were distraught that there was no professionalized higher education to train a new corporate professional-managerial class to run the second Industrial Age and the infrastructure principles were based on Taylorist assembly line/manufacturing/production management theory of the day. Literally. I'm saying it's time for a do-over; we need The New Education for 2017.

There's a chapter "Against Technophobia." There's a chapter "Against Technophilia." There's one on the cutbacks to public higher education and censorship. There are recommendations for how to change debt structures for students, how to address and redress the adjunctification crisis, how to make huge changes to general education and majors.

There is also an appendix of pedagogy "how to's" that anyone can put into a classroom tomorrow (really!) while we are waiting for all of higher education to change (it took Eliot 40 years it is not going to happen now, overnight). It champions higher education as a public good and advocates a form of activist, progressive, research-intensive, project-based, student-centered interdisciplinary higher education that is good for the public.


You can read the piece for the rest, but that's one snippet.


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