Monday, April 27, 2009

Postsecondary costs, thoughtful answers

The "Confessions of a Community College Dean" blog points out that most businesses don't buy equipment or add staff without a clear idea of the payoff for their own bottom line. The logic is different for health and higher education:
We adopt innovations not because they pay off for us, but because they pay off for other industries. We prepare students to work in the current economy, at jobs as they're currently configured. That means not just professors and libraries, but human patient simulators, multimedia labs, imposing IT infrastructures, and the lab technicians to tend to it all. We don't capture any of the economic gains from these investments. Our students do, and the economy as a whole does, but we don't (at least not directly). We upgrade even when it isn't 'efficient,' because we couldn't do our job otherwise.
The full post, with additional insights into why health and postsecondary costs keep rising so much faster than inflation, is here.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!