By Kate Duguid
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.
On Tuesday, California may not have a suspenseful governor’s race, but the contest for an obscure state education post has attracted an astonishing amount of outside money and turned into a high-stakes test run for the 2016 presidential campaign.
--Anka Mulder is Vice-President for Education and Operations at Delft University of Technology. She was formerly Global President of the OpenCourseWare consortium.—
Starbucks recently announced that it will make it possible for thousands of its part- and full-time U.S. employees to complete a college degree online at Arizona State University. Starbucks says that this is a unique collaboration that allows employees to finish their bachelor’s degrees with full tuition reimbursement. ASU has a successful online education program.
With Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the 21st Century, rising to number 1 on best-seller lists, inequality has become central to the public debate over economic policy. Piketty, and much of this discussion, focuses on the sharp increases in the share of income and wealth going to the top 1 percent, .1 percent and .01 percent of the population.
Many economics students are unhappy with what they are being taught. A network of 62 groups from around the world has drawn up a petition calling for more “pluralism” in instruction. The malcontents find the dominant neoclassical model too narrow and want to know why so few experts predicted the 2008 financial crisis. They also want less abstract theory and more study of actual economies. The reproaches are just, but the students’ reform agenda is insufficiently radical.