One of the fascinating points below is the powerful role technology–online learning–can play in achieving Perry’s goal of a $10K bachelor’s program. Even if they manage to shave a few thousand off the bill, that would be helpful. Yet doing so with technology presumes that teachers and students will have learned to use online learning technologies. The irony is that K-12 budget cuts in Texas ELIMINATE the virtual school network (a.k.a. TxVSN), and WIPE OUT the state technology allotment, where virtual learning coordinators/facilitators in instructional technology departments across Texas school districts.

Do Governor Perry and the State Legislators really know what they’re doing? Of course, perhaps the vision isn’t one where school districts and colleges build capacity to get the job done using free, open source tools like Moodle–which many Districts have adopted–but instead are required to purchase online learning packages from EXPENSIVE providers.

Wouldn’t it be curious to find out how those online learning initiatives for K-16 students are funded and by whom?


Educational Equity, Politics & Policy in Texas: Perry’s call for $10,000 bachelor’s degrees stumps educators

    • Perry’s call for $10,000 bachelor’s degrees stumps educators
      • Gov. Rick Perry challenged the state’s public institutions of higher learning this week to develop bachelor’s degree programs costing no more than $10,000, including textbooks
        • Tuition, fees and books for four years average $31,696 at public universities in Texas, according to the Higher Education Coordinating Board. Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College is the cheapest, at $17,532.
          • “College, except for the parties, needs to be less place-based,” he said. Web-based instruction and other technology could drive the price down to $2,000 a year, he said. Perry wrote to university regents last week , urging them to develop $10,000 degree programs and to scale up those programs so at least 10 percent of the sheepskins awarded by their schools are based on this approach. He said programs could include online classes, classes at no-frills campuses, credit for prior learning, credit for Advanced Placement classes in high school and other elements.
            • The Higher Education Coordinating Board is examining Web-based instruction and other innovations for cost savings. Paredes, the higher education commissioner, said there is nothing inherently wrong with, say, a student in Texas taking an online course including a package of lectures by a top scholar of American literature at Yale and a reading list with such titles as “Moby Dick” and “The Scarlet Letter” that are out of copyright and sell for very little. Graduate students at various universities could be hired to grade students’ work, he said.
              • Technology is clearly the core of what we are doing,” said Robert Mendenhall , president of Western Governors. But cost-cutting can be carried only so far, he said. Web-based programs still need faculty members who interact with students and grade their work, especially writing, a core skill in higher education.
                • Critics of online education worry about quality and intangibles that could be lost without a face-to-face setting. “A lot of the discussion about online classes takes the view that education is a package of facts,” said John Curtis , director of research and public policy at the American Association of University Professors in Washington. “Education is a process of interaction, of thinking through concepts, debating ideas and having others react to your thoughts.”