Monday, December 7, 2009

Where's my flying car?

Predicting the future is always a dicey task, but you can't tell that from reading old education policy pieces. I feel like I've read a lot of articles from the 1970s and 1980s that take a current trend and assume it is the wave of the future. They never seem to anticipate that it's merely and ebb-and-flow phenomenon that will soon swing back, or that the status quo will be able to resist the reformist impulse. Remember the "private colleges will all fold" panic of the 1970s? Remember the predicted PhD shortage of the 1980s?

It's easy for me to sit here in my chair in 2009 and smirk, but the major lesson I've learned from this is not to count my chickens before they hatch. I tend to assume change won't happen, and if anything I'm too conservative in that.

The upshot is, you're never likely to open up your blogroll and see that today Turducken has predicted that soon we'll all be learning virtually, that public universities will sever their connections with their states, or that the adjunctification will increase to its logical end.

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