On Friday, November 18th, 2005, al berrios & co. Events in collaboration with NYU's Stern's Berkeley Center presented a keynote interview of unprecedented significance. Read about it below:
- Read about the only other public event where Mr. Kravis spoke: "The Unprepared Employment Model"
|Our Mission - The Challenge of Free Education|
Public education is not entirely open to the influences of the open market. As a result, they are not exactly renowned for their overwhelming success in preparing its students to exist in society, since they don't have to traditionally compete for any of their resources or students.
Private education is open to the influences of the open market. As a result (and prepare yourself for a scorching opinion), they are slowly, but surely transitioning from institutions that empower its students with the skills and tools to learn and continue learning independently of them, into marketing-machines that no longer teach, but develop multi-million dollar, cutting-edge research "centers" named after well-intentioned, but uninvolved do-gooders, manned by mercenary faculty and resource-hungry administrators who surreptitiously promote "networking" over merit, and charge "customers" hopelessly high prices for access not once, but at least twice during an educational career, ingeniously exploiting the societal impression they've developed that positions them as the only gatekeepers to a higher quality of life.
There is a need for an institution that sits right in the middle. Not a vocational institution, but one that truly embodies "a love for lifelong learning". An institution that recognizes public and private education's failures and admits its students not on clear-cut "best-of-the-best" criteria, but on more "wholistic" qualifications that include better interpretation of achievement and accomplishment throughout that student's educational career. An institution that recalls its mission to instruct its society, instead of profiting from it. And like the armed forces, an institution that trains its own leaders and faculty for a secured amount of time, to avoid needing to pay top dollar for talent, which inexorably changes its goals.
Make no mistake about it, education is the core of rearing a civilization and it is a war. And when the emphasis is the advancement of pure theory over practical application to exist in society, or the aggregation of fat endowments and vast resources over the ability of students to even access those resources, it's all of society that suffers.
This is the purpose of the Free Education Project, an al berrios & co. initiative (FEP). To create an "institution" from the collaboration of many other institutions that would permit any "student" to access their resources without charging them to do so. But access isn't enough; students who take advantage of their access must be able to exploit the value of their experience afterwards. To this end, the FEP will work in partnership with participating institutions to modify their "open-access" framework for this initiative, as well as designing special "degrees" that recognize a student's successful participation and completion of their free education at their institution. The FEP will promote this degree's value in society, and particularly, amongst the organizations that benefit from an educated labor pool, so a student with an FEP degree can attain that which previously seemed nearly unattainable, educational equality and the opportunity to pursue and achieve any lifestyle they desire.
This initiative isn't promoting abandoning theoretic inquiry and discovery, nor should it be perceived as an effort to make teaching content uniform. Nor is it suggesting that every member of society must participate. Indeed, many will choose not to take advantage of a free education. But many will and learn much more than the skills they need to exist - they'll discover their passion for new knowledge in new areas and very likely continue their education at the institution that gave them an opportunity. Consider the FEP at your institution the equivalent of a free sample or trial offer. There is little-to-no downside.
This road won't
be easy, but if it were, it wouldn't be worth taking.