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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Education as an Import or Export

Here is another of my responses to a colleague at Walden...

To the best of my knowledge, the state of Florida is also experimenting with virtual high schools. The online classes are offered for students who can't attend classes for various reasons (health, incarceration, and so on) or to offer access to subjects not offered at the local high school (Latin for example).

Wyll,

This is not only true, but Florida is exporting their virtual high school courses! The Newport-Mesa Unified School District in California began an online program for high school students last year, and though they have plans to transfer to their own system sometime in the future, for their initial efforts they simply purchased access to Florida's online curriculum. They continue to do so as they expand the program in it's second year.

Incidentally, it strikes me that as people are concerned about the United State outsourcing science and engineering jobs (in addition to other labor), and that as Entertainment continues to grow as our second greatest export, perhaps Education, too, could become a important export for our country. Currently, an increasing number of students from all over the world come to the United States for their face-to-face education and then return to their home countries to use their new skills. Walden has students from all over the world participating in distance learning. While this tendency is alarming to some, I think perhaps the perspective of looking at education as an export might be a more positive (and global) way to look at this, and it might be even a productive direction to focus our energies.

-Mark

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