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The GSV Big 10: Let Freedom Ring!
Here's your weekly coverage corner for the top 10 stories, insights, and major plays in learning and upskilling.
Let Freedom Ring! Leadership matters – I just listened to Jeb Bush and T. Willard Fair articulate what needed to happen for them to lead Florida to become the shining leader it is today. The Heritage Foundation has released the second edition of its Education Freedom Report Card to promote education freedom in each state. Florida remains on top, but Sarah Huckabee Sanders looks like a rising star in Arkansas, as her state has made a remarkable leap from #13 to #4. For more on each state’s performance, check out the full State Legislation Tracker.
The Heritage Foundation
Two Stanford legends debate the future of college sports (if you want to understand Condi’s bonafides for football, watch this speech at the National Football Foundation dinner). Changes to the transfer portal and name, image, and likeness (NIL) rules have turned collegiate athletics on its head, with major downstream effects including conference realignment and pay-for-play facilitated by collectives. Rice and Luck take the field (literally) to have this nuanced discussion over a contentious topic. Essentially, college sports are at risk of becoming minor league professional leagues. Don’t be surprised when we begin to see private equity dollars begin to privatize university athletic departments.
A tax on the endowments of deep-pocketed private universities and scaling higher ed through online delivery are both good ideas. Harvard is the greatest private equity business model ever created, and Stanford is the greatest venture capital model ever created. It would seem reasonable to tax them and have that money educate more of the public. The problem is relying on the government to carry out that audacious plan. This brings to mind a timeless Reagan quote – “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
We know, we know, we give lots of love to our partners at ASU. That said, it’s undeniable that the institution is a driving force that is propelling the industries of the future. All you can do is tip your cap and cheer them on. ASU has become the leading hub of R&D for the semiconductor industry. How’d they do it? Chip fabrication plants require manpower, and it has become America’s biggest supplier of engineers, with over 30,000 actively enrolled engineering students.
There’s been a sea change in American business school admissions, especially among Americans. 85% of full-time, two-year MBA programs saw fewer domestic applications in 2022 than 2021, but 80% of those programs saw more applications from international students. At least 17 of the top 26 programs have seen long-term application declines…it’s not where you go, it’s what you know. The cat’s out of the bag…business schools are much more akin to fraternities than universities - the several-hundred-thousand-dollar membership card is losing its magic as the public catches on.
Money talks, and the beneficiaries are keeping silent. Check books can make moral clarity murky. At least 200 American colleges and universities illegally withheld information on approximately $13 billion in undisclosed contributions from foreign regimes. From 2015–2020, institutions that accepted money from Middle Eastern donors had, on average, 300 percent more antisemitic incidents than those institutions that did not. Check out the full report from the NCRI here.
The Free Press
Conventional wisdom says to flee China and embrace India. We are bulls on India, but we also think that the deep seated cultural importance of education in China is as strong as ever. The number of American students in China had dropped to as low as 350 from 15,000 in 2015…but there’s been a massive rise of students from Belt and Road countries. American students may no longer be learning Mandarin instead of Spanish, but China’s not going anywhere as a dominant hub for education.
For the past 20 years, EVERYBODY said coding was the ticket to prosperity and significance. The reality is, technology is replacing the technologist. Pretty soon, not even developers will be writing code anymore…Tabnine offers every developer their own sidekick that automates >30% of their code.
The Year of the Owl continues. Falling squarely into several of GSVs most important educational megathemes (Invisible Learning, Hollywood Meets Harvard, Knowledge as a Currency, and Generative AI), Duolingo continues its strong year, hitting 83 million MAUs and 24 million DAUs across its platform. CEO Luis Von Ahn also shared that Google Search’s new language learning feature is not an existential threat to Duolingo, but is in fact a collaboration with the company, as Google wants to start sending those users to the Duolingo app.
Investor’s Business Daily
What is the real purpose of education? This is an important question for us to discuss and define. It’s clearly not about “drilling & killing” and mastering standardized tests, but instead about teaching kids to have rich, fulfilling, and purposeful lives. Happiness comes from feeling like your life has meaning and you are contributing to the good of society. Sir Anthtony Seldon lays out his vision for how to define a good education, the changing ROI dynamics of higher ed, and why grades alone shouldn’t define intelligence.
Money Maze Podcast