It’s time to hit the reset button on private education. I’m not talking about small changes, incremental improvements, or enhancements to existing programs and services. It is more about making the necessary structural changes in program mix, pricing models, assessment options, and delivery options that create a scalable solution that fits into our new economy.
Hop onto any educational chat on Twitter in the evening or review any major or regional professional developments conference topic highlights over the past two years. Chances are you will find a litany of topics around student-centered learning, school reform, experiential or place-based learning, and moving to a new curriculum. Each of these topics generally have a lot of traction and support in our industry because they will make learning better for students. And, despite my criticism, I really support each of these important ideas as they will improve learning for everyone. These changes should have come about a long time ago.
My concern runs deeper. If we don’t fix our model, we won’t have any students to provide an enhanced learning experience. The fundamental issues that I think we need to be preoccupied with are a new, scalable business model, new pricing and delivery options, and new ways to assess real learning. Thank goodness that the mastery transcript team is now a national movement! We have to fix the structural solutions to our problems. That is an honest first step.
Our real problem has been and continues to be access, not quality learning. If we don’t find a new model, we won’t have students to teach. Most indicators - from domestic residential students to lower school entry points - show that the private, low volume, high price business models are struggling. This is a bigger issue than improving learning, optimizing marketing, and creating new indexed pricing or financial aid models. It runs deeper. It is structural. We have to do better. It is time for a reset.