Rethinking What I Know About Formal Education

I grew up in a middle class home in Westchester County, NY where the forced dream was to go to college.  I grew up with the pressures of “not if” but “where” I was going to college and from early grade school, I was prepping for the SAT’s.  That one test was the key to getting through the admission door at many top tier schools, all schools in which I had my sights set on.

I graduated (almost did not – was going to leave early to pursue a startup) with my 4 year degree from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.  I did not have the typical college experience as I was only there for 13 weekends in four years due to running a business while in school and traveling to the office and clients Friday-Mondays.  School provided a campus for learning as learning did not happen in just the classroom.  I think I actually learned more outside of the classroom then in it.

Fast forward to today, I have two children, both under the age of four.  I’m thinking about college for them already but I do not know if they will have the same college education I did.  Why?  The forthcoming education evolution here in the United States and how it might impact them.  The NY Times just wrote an article called The Campus Tsunami that outlines a lot of the current landscape.

Companies like Skillshare, General Assembly, Lore/Coursekit, Udemy, Minerva, Khan Academy, Codecademy, Edmodo, and others are forcing us to re-think what education is, not just what college is.  While much of this post has been about college, I think I need to re-think how my kids will even go through grade school.

I do not know what the future holds, but I have to imagine that the Internet will disrupt everything it touches.  This means education as I and my parents know it is being re-written.  I am excited for what lies ahead.

  • falicon

    My wife and I have this debate often as well (ours are in 3rd and K right now)…she's much more a believer in traditional education than I am…I continue to say that by the time our boys are of college age it will look nothing like what she thinks of as 'college'…

  • dherman76

    We are in the same boat. I'm really interested in where all of this is heading.

  • falicon

    Since it's fresh on your mind, I think you'll really enjoy today's XKCD ->

  • Jon Burg

    My wife and I have been discussing this for some time.  With our recent move, we are learning our way through the Israeli educational system, which is an odd push both towards strong skills in math and science, as well as a more free-form approach to other subjects with far more opportunity for the arts.  

    In a country fueled by entrepreneurialism, what role will a traditional degree play in a career (as opposed to two or three years at a tech company)?

    At the same time, look at what's happening at Yahoo!  Clearly college still matters to many.

  • Sabbir

    Really its helpful post.I think right education is the backbone of a nation.