Post high school education challenge

I have recently been working on a couple of consulting projects in the post high school education space and a common challenge is surfacing … enrollment. More precisely, the continued decline and absence of growth in enrollment with traditional and non-traditional students.

Bloomberg posted an article today on a similar topic, though seemed to focus more on the ‘for profit’ segment.

How this all plays out is a coin toss at this point in my perpsective, but the landscape will be VERY different 10 years from now. How these institutions recreate themselves in an era of ubiquitous digital connectivity will be the key test in my opinion. Competition for every eyeball (whether for entertainment or education) is intense and will only increase as the demographics in US continue to decelerate and decline.

Cicero – Is the US repeating Rome’s decline?

I recently finished a historical novel about Cicero A Pillar of Iron, by Taylor Caldwell published in the early 1980s. While reading this, i wondered if it was recently published and she was intentionally creating parallels between the Rome of Cicero and current US. But alas, only if the 1980s were as we are today … similar? maybe.

It seems Cicero is a character loved to be hated by almost every dogmatic position through history – and he was eventually executed because of it. But Caldwell’s treatment of the narrative suggests he was above all in favor of a Republic, and he fought (often unsuccessfully) via rhetoric and law (are they really rooted differently?) to save the dream of a republic against the tyranny of the privilged; they, who expertly inflamed and manipulated the poor against the middle class to maintain full privileged power … that eventually evolved into the dictators and then emperors …

I ask myself without a real answer, “how far are we today to that same slippery slope”?

That old saying about learning history to avoid repeating it cannot be wrong, else why do so many people know it (but sadly fail to practice it)?

Intergenerational Theft

A recent post caught my attention, both on the question posed for portfolio management risks and a key phrase used “Intergenerational Theft”.

Quote: “The undisciplined use of debt almost always comes back to haunt the debtor, or, the debtor’s relatives. That is, the major impact of this “haunting” almost always lands harder on the next generation. As Mr. Rattner concludes, “my principal fear is that all this irresponsible borrowing amounts to intergenerational theft.” Basically, this means that there will be no room from future spending programs, like for infrastructure, or lower taxes, say to help the middle class. And, this will be the case even if we avoid a financial collapse resulting from market disruptions.”

The US and global debt will be force to be reckoned with sooner or later and how that reckoning plays out will be most likely incredibly disruptive … where did all the fiscal conservatives go? I never agreed completely with them, but their tension in the system was necessary to maintain balance … are we titling off the map and leaving the mess for our children and grand children to clean up?

Takes brains to turn data & information into knowledge

A recent post really hit the nail on the head in describing a future scenario where the overwhelming quantity of data and information will require well-educated people to analyze, interpret and make plans (knowledge).  It is easy, I think, to infer that those markets (geographies, countries, cities, etc) that are heavily investing into education, training and innovation around mathematics, science and computer science will be the economic, innovation and thought leaders of the future.

Sadly, most of us in the USA watch as our education programs wither from underfunding and especially the under appreciation of teaching as a serious, high-paying profession.

Customer orientation

A recent article which I am assuming is accurate at least at the root highlighted a view of ‘Orientation’ by companies.

Now … I find the ‘corporate profit orientation’ above that of the customer.  Would not a retailer want to provide convenient and customer choice modes of payment?  I get it the op costs could be higher with different vendors, but would you rather have happy, loyal customers?

Protest and Resist

In the midst of trying to be an active citizen and taking action that support my social principles and values, i stumbled into a dilemma.

The current verbs used to characterize progressive actions in my community tend to be:  Protest and Resist.  Other words like rally, march and gathering are used.  My dilemma is my desire to act FOR something (anchored in my social values and principles), OR join the larger, louder voices AGAINST something (protest and resist).

Forward momentum seems best suited behind actions FOR something.  Agreed, that sometimes obstacles must be removed to allow forward motion, so in that case, AGAINST is necessary BUT NOT sufficient.  I want to more leaders answering with both necessary and sufficient.