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Democracy and Technology Blog Real education reform

The New York Times has an excellent report on the promise of digital education:

“I don’t believe that charters and vouchers are the threat to schools in Orange County,” [Superintendent William M. Habermehl] said. “What’s a threat is the digital world — that someone’s going to put together brilliant $200 courses in French, in geometry by the best teachers in the world.”

The economics of digital courses will be so compelling that no vested interest will be able to stop it.
If each course is approximately $200, students can sign up for 10 digital courses for approximately $2,000 plus the cost of a computer and a broadband connection versus — in the case of the D.C. public schools, for example — somewhere between $8,322 and $25,000 that was reportedly spent on each pupil last year.
Plus, entrepreneurial educators can cater to a wide variety of individual interests and learning abilities and make a good living doing it.
Imagine being able to study economics in high school with someone like Milton Friedman (or Paul Krugman, if you prefer) or creative writing with the likes of J.K. Rowling.
So maybe instead of advocating charters and vouchers, educational reformers ought to emphasize credits for digital courses.

Hance Haney

Senior Fellow, Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney is Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.