The GSV Big 10: Poison Ivy
Here's your weekly coverage corner for the top 10 stories, insights, and major plays in learning and upskilling.
Tom Vander Ark is an Education Legend…he’s done everything from college football at Colorado Mines to being a VP at PACE Membership Warehouse (sold to Sam’s Club) to serving as Superintendent at Federal Way Public Schools to being the first Education Lead at the Gates Foundation.
Today, he’s the CEO of Getting Smart and a contributor to the Hoover Institution’s recent publication, A Nation At Risk +40 | A Review of Progress in US Public Education. Read his chapter, “Unfulfilled Promise: The Forty-Year Shift from Print to Digital and Why It Failed to Transform Learning” here.
As we all saw this past week, the Presidents of MIT, Harvard, and Penn performed a civic duty by illustrating on camera how upside down many of our elite institutions are. Admiral William McRaven has said that the gravest threat facing the United States isn’t Hamas, China, or Russia…it’s our own education system. John Ellis paints a bleak but fair picture of the cancerous collapse of higher ed…and a couple suggestions on how to start saving it.
The collapse continues. In the Knowledge Economy, what you know makes a difference for an individual, company, and a country. Given that, the USA is in big trouble. Math scores fell off a cliff, dropping 13 percentage points from 2018. When the “silver lining” cited by the entrenched status quo was that reading and science were flat, that’s not a winning defense. Sec. Cardona has called for a “math revolution”…we think another type of revolution needs to take place, and that won’t be pretty for the people that got us in this mess.
Regrettably, money doesn’t buy you happiness, or better test scores. Phones, cited as a distraction in the classroom (because it is), can be utilized as a powerful learning tool. With AI, every student has a tutor in their pocket, and bringing in invisible learning such as games and engaging media such as TikTok can enhance the learning experience, without breaking the bank.
China went from the most attractive education market in the World for investors in to uninvestable, all with the blink of the eye. While going from first to worst was true in virtually every category related to investment in China BC to AD, the two former leaders have quietly worked back, with New Oriental and TAL up 131% and 58% respectively. What’s the future look like? History has shown that it’s usually enriching to zig while others are zagging.
LinkedIn has been the World’s job platform for the past two decades…but X, the artist formerly known as Twitter, is coming for the crown. LinkedIn has become cringe, where X has the opportunity to be cool. X’s vision of being a “super app”, where you can learn, earn, and conduct your life, is intriguing.
The game is over. Speaking English has won, and it’s the dominant thing people learn on Duolingo. It’s the language of the Internet and global business, with a high ROI for being able to speak it (this is good because it’s the only language I speak). But as a window to tomorrow, learning Chinese and Japanese is what Gen Z is doing, as 86% of Japanese learners and 76% of Chinese learners are under 30. Ni Hao and Konnichiwa!
There’s 4,000 universities in the United States but there’s one way to think. As technology continues to steamroll through the economy, the ability of critical thinking and lifelong learning is more valuable than ever. The role of the university needs to reflect the dramatic changes in the World we’re living in.
AEI’s Rick Hess and TbT’s Rahul Kalita(aka Tutored by Teachers, and full disclosure, GSV Ventures investment) sit down for a conversation. TbT has over 5,000 educators (earning $40/hour) on their platform, teaching students in 15 states and in three of the largest 20 districts. In Indianapolis, K-11 students improved their math scores by 12-25%. ROE = ROI.
Yes. As anybody who’s lived in Argentina can tell you, inflation destroys the value of an asset…and grade inflation works the same way. Different than Lake Wobegon, where everyone is above average, at our Ivy League schools, average is excellence… 82% of grades at Yale were A’s last year.
Our friend and industry legend Paul LeBlanc is stepping down after 20 years as President and CEO of SNHU. Under his leadership, LeBlanc transferred SNHU from a flailing traditional liberal-arts college with 2,500 students into an online education powerhouse with over 170,000 students. LeBlanc defined elite equaling excellence…rather than exclusivity.
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