The Technology Silver Bullet

More technology will solve our problems, says one Education Department official. Innovations in technology are key to getting more Americans through college. This is, well, questionable.

According to an article by Ian Quillen in Education Week:

President Barack Obama’s goal of once again leading the world in percentage of college graduates by 2020 is impossible without increased implementation of technology in education, said U.S. Deputy Director Steve Midgley today at the Virtual School Symposium in Indianapolis.

“The only way to hit that goal is to bring people back to the system and provide credentials,” Midgley said. “The only way we’re going to do that is with technology.”

Really? What’s the proof for this assertion? President Obama’s goal of the United States leading the world in college graduates stems from the realization that many other developed countries have more (or a higher percentage of) college graduates.

But do they have more college graduates because of “increased implementation of technology in education”?

No, they don’t. Technological innovations are not the key distinction between the United States and countries with a higher percentage of college graduates. It just isn’t.

It’s perhaps more important to note that in all the countries that have surpassed the U.S. in terms of college completion relative to population, college is generously state supported and very, very cheap for students and their families.

While technology sure looks flashy, that low-tuition plan might be the more important trend to follow.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer