Potential Solutions to Unequal Opportunities in Higher Education

| February 28, 2013

Unmasking the myth of traditional education as the great equalizer, this video examines the lives of two students living just 45 miles apart in Massachusetts. Both are at the top of their class and are motivated to excel in school. One attended an excellent high school with high quality teachers and state of the art facilities, while the other had four principals in one year and subpar learning facilities. Guess which of the two is going to Harvard while the other was forced to drop out of college because he couldn’t afford it? In a nutshell, these two public school students have had fundamentally unequal opportunities for educational success.

While the reproduction of inequality through the education system in the US is as old as the institution itself, Vialogues users offered a fresh perspective to this long-debated and daunting issue. They questioned if technology today could help level the playing field by offering alternative educational opportunities (such as theĀ 10K-B.A) or if inequitable opportunities will simply be transferred to this new space? To join the conversation, check out theĀ vialogue.

01:58 jagnitti: This statement is heartbreaking. This kid had a desire to learn and just didn’t have the opportunity

02:04 elisa.brazil: His school did not have the necessary resources to offer a solid STEM education. I wonder if technology-based STEM learning resources could help fill the gap? Could resources like Late Nite Learning Labs or Khan Academy, for example, serve as the silver bullet and help even out the education playing field? Or is this a Band-Aid solution that might exacerbate the current gap between the haves and have nots?

03:18 DLales: A low tuition but extremely high fees?! What a way to take advantage of students.

03:21 elisa.brazil: I wonder if initiatives like the “10K-B.A.” offer potential solutions to the current unequal educational opportunities outlined in this video. OR are they simply a new face to an old issue (i.e. reproducing unequal chances through inadequate polices -like the scholarship program mentioned by Romney. They sound good in theory but in practice they do not address the structural factors that play into inequality.

This article first appeared on New Learning Times on 2/28/2013