Amir's Reviews > Rebooting for the New Talent Economy by Andrew Rosen
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Apr 07, 2012

really liked it

I found Mr. Rosen book both insightful and thought provoking. In his book, Mr. Rosen highlights what he believes are some of the drawbacks and challenges facing both non-profit education universities and public community colleges, as well as breaking some of the myths surrounding for-profit schools. One might assume that the author will be biased toward for profit education institutions (Mr. Rosen is the Chairman and CEO of Kaplan Inc.), however, I have found it not to be the case.

The book starts with the history of education in the USA. I found it fascinating to learn about the early days of the land-grant colleges and some of the bias against their low admission standards and their government funding. Of course one should remember that Cornell and Berkley were originally a land-grant colleges, I would assume that today no one would dispute their importance in the education of many students and the major innovation that sprang from these universities. Time will tell if any of the current for-profit schools will rival the likes of Berkley with their innovation and the success of their students.

Mr. Rosen continues with describing some of the short falls of our current top education institutions, the resort like colleges, the utilization time of the students in today’s top colleges. One study that is quoted in the book is quite compelling. The study suggests that the average student spend 2.9 hours a day on education while at the same time the average student spends 4.5 hours a day on “Leisure and Sports”. All this happens at times of an ever growing tuition (and other) fees. While reading, I found myself pondering. What is the goal of our education colleges and universities? Is it to teach or to entertain? And what is the goal of the student and his parents when signing up for a 4 year degree? Not an easy question to answer.

The book continues in exploring some of the short coming of our community college, admittedly a very good idea, however with funding constraints and other described limitations it can not answer all our countryman and countrywomen education needs.

The second part of the book describes the evolution of private for-profit colleges and the differentiating characteristics of the schools, the students and the operations. Mr. Rosen describes the leaders of the new type of schools and their background. The reader should ask himself, is there any other place for a 30+ year old person to get a four year education without stopping his current work and family obligations?

Although I do not agree with all of Mr. Rosen’s points with regards to the taxpayer cost comparing non-profit, public and for-profit schools, I do appreciate laying it out as a counter view to the case against private sector higher education. Mr. Rosen goes on and provides his point of view with regards to other biases and myths against the private sector institutions.

I think Mr. Rosen was a bit light on describing the reasons for some of the aggressive tactics that schools used to recruit students, however he does admit to the fact that “There are cases where overaggressive recruitment has taken place”.

I think that some of it has to do (as anything else in life) with a wrong incentive systems to the recruiters, but only time will tell if changing the incentives will prevent some of the overaggressive tactics.

For years now people have compared the results of students at the different type of education institutions, but is it a fair comparison? Can you compare an 18 year old university automat (more in the book) to a part time single parent student? And if this comparison is not fair how do you still measure the success of the schools?

I found Mr. Rosen statistics and explanations about using similar type of students when comparing education success (or failure) very interesting and valuable, I do wish that more will be written about better ways to measure success. This comparison begs the very hard question, is everyone can comply with the requirements of a 4 year degree, and if not what can be done to help the ones that want it but do not have the skills / tool set to achieve it?

In conclusion I would highly recommend Mr. Rosen’s book Change. Edu to any student, educator, community leader and all who wish like to learn more about our current education landscape, the challenges we face and the future opportunities.

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Reading Progress

April 7, 2012 – Shelved
June 19, 2012 – Started Reading
June 23, 2012 –
page 70
June 27, 2012 –
page 95
June 29, 2012 –
page 120
July 3, 2012 –
page 165
July 11, 2012 – Finished Reading

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