Probably several things, but the important one is that the delivery of both services is virtually unchanged since the time of Socrates. I know of no other industries that can fit that characterization. Given the nature of the product, it is not unreasonable that little has changed in the world of prostitution. Not so for education, especially with the innovations and technological advances that have been embraced by virtually all other industries.
Education is still delivered with one teacher leading a group of students. In the early grades, that may be necessary because of the hand-holding and babysitting aspects of the job. For later classes, especially at the college level, there is no reason for this model. It has been obsoleted by technology.
The outdated model survives because schools are not free market organizations subject to the marketplace and its competitive pressures. They are government operations run for the pleasure of many interests of which the education of children does not appear paramount. Lack of alternatives, especially for lower income families, enable schools to do as they please regardless of the results or monies spent.
New school buildings, more equipment, more administrators, smaller classes and higher-paid teachers have been accompanied by continued declines in test scores. Costs consistenly outpace inflation. Yet results continue to decline.
It is easy to be critical of the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Post Office, Social Security, Amtrak and other government-run organizations. They are truly disasters. But so is education, and its costs may ultimately be greater than all other government fiascos. By any measure, schools have been failing for years. Any one who has watched some of the idiot TV shows or JayWalking with Jay Leno has to be appalled at the ignorance of the citizenry.
There is no excuse for education not changing other than it is government-run, virtually immune from competition. Nowhere is this system more damaging than the inner cities where graduation, literacy rates and mathematical skills are a national disgrace. Despite these failures, the political class does everything it can to protect the failing institutions against competition, whether the challenge come from charter or private (voucher system) schools. Obviously, the debt owed to the teacher unions are more important than saving a generation of kids.
A major economic crisis is about to hit at the college level. The chart to the right shows what a bubble college tuition fees truly are. Remember the housing bubble that started our economic crisis? It hardly seems a bubble when compared with college tuition costs.
The nonsense that has been subsidized via tax dollars at the college level is about to come to an end. The tuition levels no longer make any sense in terms of a simple return on investment calculation. Furthermore, other delivery methods, likely associated with the internet, are about to take over.
Why do we have so many professors? Why do they teach so few courses? In my field of finance and economics, most of these professors are sub-standard in the classroom. Their interests are forced into useless research. The reality is that few are qualified to contribute anything to the frontiers of knowledge. Most barely understand what they are supposed to know.
Regardless of the field, there are probably only two or three people in a generation that truly advance knowledge. The rest just play the nonsensical game of “publish or perish,” pretending that they are contributing to the advancement of knowledge in their field.
Gary North presents his view of what is about to happen to higher education.
Digital Education vs. the Ruling Elite
by Gary North
by Gary North
Recently by Gary North: The Ron Paul Curriculum: A New Way to Educate Americans Free of Charge
Ruling elites as recently as 1600 appealed to God to justify their continuing rule. This was called the divine right of kings: rulership beyond any earthly court of appeal. That began to be undermined in the second half of the seventeenth century. A century later, Enlightenment democratic theory had replaced the divine right of kings. The divine right of Parliament or the divine right of the People replaced it.
This forced a major strategic change on the ruling elite. The ruling elite has to pretend that it does not exist. It formally acknowledged the legitimacy of the People as the final court of appeal. This involved training and screening the judges.
Basic to maintaining this deception has been control over the media. Also vital has been control over the schools – compulsory attendance laws, teacher certification, tax funding, and