Once upon a time, attending an Ivy League school meant that you had received the highest level of education. Because of this, admission to these schools was made strict, and tuition was made expensive; albeit for good reason.
Attending an Ivy League school meant that you were at the best school because you were obtaining the best education. Ivy League schools had the best education, not only by title, but because of the things they had access to. These schools had the best books which were the best source of information. It had the best professors, who were the best in their fields. Attending an Ivy League school gave you access to an elite pile of information and knowledge. All of these things equated to the fact that you were receiving the best education available.
Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.
After paying thousands of dollars, your education is now signified by your degree. To employers, this degree means that you have acquired a range of skills that distinguish you from the rest of the pack. The people competing with you, who did not attend these Ivy League schools, are allegedly inferior in knowledge and/or skill because their institutions’ quality of education (teachers, information, resources) is not up to par with yours.
When employers are hiring, they are looking for employees with the best skill set for the specific job. As a result, thousands of people turn their aspirations to attending and graduating from these schools because it means the highest form of learning and job security.
These were the conditions that our parents and generations before us were limited to, and at the time, it worked for them.
Then the internet came along.
Websites like Wikipedia and Google posses and give access to information and knowledge that was once restricted to a limited group of a people. Ivy League libraries are no longer the greatest collection of knowledge and information. The internet has made this information accessible to everyone. People are no longer bound to their location or their institution. The internet has leveled the playing field for everybody.
iTunes U, which has full courses from many Ivy league schools that anyone can listen to, has made these elite teachers and their lessons available. Email has made these teachers accessible. The “best teachers” are now available to everyone. We have Online libraries such as Khan Academy, which has 4,200 video’s of lessons. Covering arithmetic, physics, finance, history, and just about every subject in between.
With the use of these resources, you can now attend your local community college and be “Harvard educated”, in a literal sense. Your learning opportunity is no longer bound to your local teachers and libraries. Degree’s no longer represent as much as they once did. The internet has made learning more efficient, and has truly given everyone an equal opportunity for learning.
There are two fundamental equalizers in life – the Internet and education.
It leaves you to ask, when you go to college what are now paying for? Why should I go to class to listen to average teachers, when I have the best teachers available to me via internet?
Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, have added a new dynamic, and have forced us to reconsider and redefine everything. Not going to school is no longer as detrimental to one’s learning process as it once was. The once huge gap in competence between Ivy League education and public education has shrunk. Employers must find a better, more thorough way to interpret skills than just the school name on a degree. We as a generation must understand the current time and that the internet has broken our current education model. This expiring model’s days are numbered; it is in need of rework and innovation.
Our ancestors built the castle known as our education model with wood. It was the best they had, and they built it sturdy. But it is no longer the best option available. Bricks have long been invented and have long been accessible to us. What worked for our ancestors is no longer working for us, as we have better resources. It is time for us to teardown and rebuild.