Wanted: The $1,000-a-Year Education

A president’s proposal for an education revolution

A father I know asked his 9th-grader how his math grades had jumped from C to A-, when prior personal tutoring hadn’t helped. The reply: “Dad, it’s easy! I taught myself using Khan Academy.”

Thanks to an innovative flow of new technology, the eagerness of young entrepreneurs, and the work of visionaries like Salman Khan, young people are adopting new breakthroughs in education. The Sloan Consortium’s Babson Survey Research Group/College Board study of online education found that 32 percent of U.S. higher ed students were taking at least one course online in fall 2011. And they are learning: 77 percent of academic leaders rated the outcomes in online education the same or superior to those in face-to-face classes. The number of those leaders identifying online learning as critical to their long-term strategy was 69 percent.

What does the future hold? Worldwide, there are about 1.5 billion children eligible for primary education and 650 million students eligible for higher education. What if we could effectively educate each student for just $1,000 a year? It would be an achievement greater than the $100 tablet computer (soon to be on the market) and would make education accessible to almost anyone.

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