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Mike Rowe on the High Cost of College (Video Interview)

Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe on the High Cost of College (Full Interview)

"If we are lending money that ostensibly we don't have to kids who have no hope of making it back in order to train them for jobs that clearly don't exist, I might suggest that we've gone around the bend a little bit," says TV personality Mike Rowe, best known as the longtime host of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs.

"There is a real disconnect in the way that we educate vis-a-vis the opportunities that are available. You have - right now - about 3 million jobs that can't be filled," he says, talking about openings in traditional trades ranging from construction to welding to plumbing. "Jobs that typically parents' don't sit down with their kids and say, 'Look, if all goes well, this is what you are going to do.'"

Rowe, who once sang for the Baltimore Opera and worked as an on-air pitchman for QVC, worries that traditional K-12 education demonizes blue-collar fields that pay well and are begging for workers while insisting that everyone get a college degree. He stesses that he's "got nothing against college" but believes it's a huge mistake to push everyone in the same direction regardless of interest or ability. Between Mike Rowe Foundation and Profoundly Disconnected, a venture between Rowe and the heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, Rowe is hoping both to help people find new careers and publicize what he calls "the diploma dilemma."

Rowe recently sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to discuss his bad experience with a high school guidance counselor (3:20), why he provides scholarships based on work ethic (6:57), the problem with taxpayer-supported college loans (8:40), why America demonizes dirty jobs (11:32), the happiest day of his life (13:14), why following your passion is terrible advice (17:05), why it's so hard to hire good people (21:04), the hidden cost of regulatory compliance (23:16), the problem with Obama's promise to create shovel ready jobs (33:05), efficiency versus effectiveness (34:17), and life after Dirty Jobs (38:24).

Approx. 41 minutes. Cameras by Meredith Bragg and Joshua Swain. Edited by Bragg. Published on Dec 13, 2013

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Boundless, free textbook startup, settles publishers lawsuit

Boundless, the free textbook startup, settles lawsuit with publishers | PandoDaily: "... Last spring, Pearson Education, Cengage Learning, and Macmillan sued the company for copyright infringement, unfair competition, and false advertising. They argued that since Boundless allows students to download an “equivalent” of the book they created, it is in violation of their copyright. Boundless countered the charges, arguing that the content in the Boundless’ free textbooks is not protected by copyright, since it is public domain material. Boundless further accused the textbook publishers of a copyright monopoly, saying their right to claim ownership of the OER material is barred by “their own unclean hands and inequitable conduct.”..."

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University of Kansas online education

University of Kansas preparing to be more aggressive in online education efforts: "That strategy is not to simply move classes online in bulk, but to focus on specific targets. Students such as Remp, who might be using community college courses during the summer or at other times to fill requirements, are one example. Other plans call for more and more fully online graduate programs for working people. Another focus is combining online material with physical classrooms, allowing students from miles away to enroll in professional programs or improving education for KU's undergraduate students on campus."

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Is the US Spending Enough on Education?

The problem is NOT money -- (other than, perhaps, the way the money is allocated) --

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Is the US Spending Enough on Education?: "US Total Population and Children Population  . . . children as a percentage of the population plummeting from 1964 - where they peaked at over 36% to today where they are just 24% of the population. The number of children in '64 was about 69.7 million, today up to 76.7 million, a growth of 7 million while the overall population grew 123.7 million . . . Number of Children and Per Child Spending On Education in Constant 2009-10 Dollars -- I cannot understand how this spending, so absurdly high, is continually pointed out as too little to spend on education! In constant dollars we are spending 7 times the amount on education as the 1950's - the generation of students that put the man on the moon, invented computers, the list goes on and on. At 1/7th the cost!" (more at the link above)

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Enstitute, Alternative to College, Digital Elite

For a small group of the young, digital elite, Enstitute seeks to challenge the conventional wisdom that top professional jobs always require a bachelor’s degree.

Enstitute, an Alternative to College for a Digital Elite - NYTimes.com: " . . . But college is expensive, and becoming more so — between 2000 and 2011, tuition rose 42 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics — and students fear being saddled by debt in a bleak job market. (Students from the class of 2011 who took out loans graduated with an average debt of $26,000.) And some employers complain that many colleges don’t teach the kinds of technical skills they want in entry-level hires. Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor, upped the ante to this argument when he started the Thiel Fellowship, which pays a no-strings-attached grant of $100,000 for young people not to attend college and to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams instead. Enstitute doesn’t offer anything like $100,000 to its apprentices. Still, it is aimed at intelligent, ambitious and entrepreneurial types — people like Ms. Gao, who participated in the Technovation Challenge, a nine-week program and competition for high school girls to design a mobile app prototype at Google in New York. . . ." (read more at link above)

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For better learning, change the font

For better learning, change the font - Indian Express: "Font size has no effect on memory, even though most people assume that bigger is better. But font style does. New research finds that people retain significantly more material—whether science, history or language—when they study it in a font that is not only unfamiliar but also hard to read."

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Coursera, K-12 education, online courses for teachers

Coursera makes first foray into K-12 education with online courses for teachers — Tech News and Analysis: "Online learning startup Coursera is partnering with several schools of education, as well as other institutions and museums, to bring professional development courses to K-12 teachers online."

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Moolah for MOOCs, Coursera Raises Another $20M

Coursera is also on top of the buzziest trend in edtech: MOOCs — or massive open online courses — which aim to democratize education by making lectures from quality professors widely available. (source infra)

More Moolah for MOOCs -- Coursera Raises Another $20M - Liz Gannes - News - AllThingsD: "Coursera, with 5.5 million students taking classes from 100 universities and institutions, is one of the largest companies in a crop of ed-tech startups. Learn Capital partner Rob Hutter observed that at least 60 technology startups in the education space were venture funded in 2012...globally the market for education is $4.6 trillion, and the total market capitalization of companies in the space is just $50 billion...In some ways, Coursera is the last big MOOC standing. Udacity, which was also founded by a Stanford professor — Sebastian Thrun — has refocused on classes that help prepare people for jobs in the technology industry. And edX, the nonprofit version of Coursera that originated at Harvard and MIT, now seems somewhat more focused on open-source MOOC tools. (EdX started with $60 million from its founding universities, while Udacity has raised $20 million from venture capitalists.)...Coursera now has a staff of about 70 people, and it is making some money by selling verified certificates that students can use to show they’ve completed a MOOC...."

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