Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What a wonderful world!

I see babies cry, I watch them grow
They'll know so much more than we'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

I have great hope that, with time and tenderness, higher education will do right and put its bright, lazy mind to the task of reformation and relevancy. For too long, we've been failing to educate so many of our citizens and a recently released report by the National Commission on Adult Literacy made me shudder. OK, the rich and lucky babies still get the best education in the world...even though even the privileged aren't majoring in the science or math fields. We can continue to claim we're a great nation, but it's not evidenced in the data on American literacy and competitiveness. Nationally, we're crawling in a hole and HE is playing peek-a-boo with the problem. ("I can't seeeeee you!!")

Access. affordance, engagement, relevancy. These are all topics that cry for attention as an aged and out-of-touch industrial age institution batons down the hatches. I love my ivory tower but oh YouTube. I was bemoaning this thorny problem to a friend of mine last week and noticed that the discomfort we're feeling is similar to the one we get when sipping milk just before it goes sour. You can tell it's just this side of turning, still...good enough, but use it fast because in no time you'll be at that reflux stage if you sip it.

Here's what WICHE wrote about the report in a policy alert email they sent out:
"It presents evidence that our failure to address America’s adult education and workforce skills needs is putting our country in great jeopardy and threatening our nation’s standard of living and economic vitality. The Commission makes several recommendations for immediate action to reverse the course we are on."
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