Clause 61: The Pushback Blog

Because ideas have consequences

Mark Cuban on Higher Education

with one comment

Mark Cuban, owner of Landmark Theaters, Magnolia Pictures and the NBA Dallas Mavericks, has written several articles on what he believes is a bubble in higher education:

Cuban calls for a business focus on attending college:

The class of 2014 and beyond now has to prepare a college value plan. What classes are you going to take online that enables you to get the most credits for the least cost? What classes are you going to take at a local, low cost school so you can get additional credits at the lowest cost?

Then, with your freshman and sophmore classes out of the way, you can start to figure out which school you would like to transfer to, or two years from now, which online classes you can take that challenge you and prepare you for the areas you want to focus on. If you have the personal discipline you may be able to avoid ever having to step on a campus and graduating with a good degree and miracle of miracles, no debt.

That is a great idea, but I don’t know how many graduating seniors could actually execute it. There are some major risks that they would have to manage:

  • Many students gear their performance up or down in response to their perception of the performance of students in their classes. Often there are people in local schools who are not really serious about their education. The student who wants to implement Cuban’s plan cannot be lulled to sleep in the low-cost school, or transfer to a more competitive four-year school will carry a nasty shock.
  • This assumes that the student knows what course of study s/he intends to pursue at the outset and stays on that course. Many college freshmen do not know what they want to major in, or even what one does with the major once one graduates.
  • The student must ensure that the credits taken before transferring will be honored by the school to which s/he intends to transfer.

The key caveat is provided by Cuban: “If you have the personal discipline, …” It can be done, but it requires a much greater degree of focus and self-motivation than many college-age students currently possess.

The one place where I really differ with Cuban is where he says:

College is where you find out about yourself. It’s where you learn how to learn.

There are more cost-effective ways to find out about yourself than attending college. And can we really afford to have 21- and 22-year olds who are still finding out about themselves? All your life you will be finding out about yourself; when is it time to join the grownup world and start producing?

As to learning how to learn, he is right that undergraduate college has been the place that people typically made the jump from being taught to learning how to learn, if they ever did. But it is an inefficient delivery system; look at how many people who attended college and are still waiting to be taught, rather than taking ownership of their learning. Moreover, we need that transition happening in high school. We need all citizens, whether or not they attend college, being able to take ownership of their learning.


Written by srojak

May 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Bubbles, Winter is Coming

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to know so much
    about this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something.
    I think that you simply can do with some percent to force the message
    house a bit, but other than that, that is fantastic blog.

    A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.


    June 14, 2013 at 11:33 am

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