By Jim Shimabukuro
3 November 2008
“We have a 21st century economy with a 19th century education system,” says Rupert Murdoch, “the Australian-born US resident whose News Corp empire ranges from the Wall Street Journal and the Fox News Channel to British television and newspapers” and “whose New York-based conglomerate includes Twentieth Century Fox, Fox News Channel, Dow Jones & Co., [and] MySpace.”
He is referring to Australia in the opening segment of his 2008 Boyer Lecture series, “A Golden Age of Freedom,” which was broadcast from Sydney on 2 Nov. 2008, but he could just as easily have been referring to the US.
The upshot of Murdoch’s assessment is that we’re “leaving too many children behind” and they won’t be able to compete in the global economy, opening the door for countries such as China and India to eventually “reshape the world.”
Robert A. Compton, a former venture capitalist, “former President of a NYSE company, . . . entrepreneur founder of four companies, and . . . an angel investor in more than a dozen businesses,” was inspired by his travels to India in 2005 and 2006 to create the 54-minute documentary Two Million Minutes (see the 3-minute trailer below) in 2007. He, too, raised the alarm about the inability of our current educational system to produce graduates capable of competing against their counterparts in India and China. He says, “We are not preparing our children for the careers of the 21st century. We ignore the global standard of education at our peril.”
Assuming that Murdoch and Compton are in the ballpark with their assessment of our educational system and assuming that technology will have to play a key role in the change process, what are the key elements for an effective 21st century model for schools and colleges?
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