Nicolaus Copernicus surmised that the Earth rotated around the sun in about 1514, and no one killed him for thinking that. When Galileo later declared that Copernicus was right, and that the Bible was therefore wrong…the Catholic Church told him (and I’m paraphrasing here):
“Hey, man. We all know you’re probably correct about this. We concede that you’re a wizard, and what you’re saying makes sense. But you gotta let us explain this stuff to the rest of the world very, very slowly. We can’t suddenly tell every pasta-gorged plebeian in rural Italy that we live in a heliocentric universe. It will blow their minds and fuck up our game. Just be cool for a while.”
It’s become fashionable recently to second guess college. The ROI no longer works: it’s too expensive and doesn’t guarantee you a good job. It’s elitist and out of touch with reality. Student debt is predatory and out of control. Anyway, MOOCs’ unbundling model is the future of higher ed, so we might as well get on board, right?
That all may be true, but I think it’s too narrow. There’s a corollary to “you can’t optimize what you don’t measure”: measurement can give you tunnel vision. You can collect X University grads’ incomes, divide by tuition, and compare to College Y, but that doesn’t mean you can reduce either one to a simple financial investment you optimize to get the best salary. Continue reading