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What Does the Present State of Education Mean for the Future?

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Sitting in a room of mostly 50-something professionals at a recent economic forecasting session hosted by the Philadelphia Business Journal, I looked on as a young man made his way to a microphone to pose a question for the panel. Innocently enough, he asked, “Can any of you on the panel share with me and for our audience when you purchased your first home?”  

All morning, the session had been abuzz with chatter about what economic segments might advance and which might retreat. Suddenly, the place was silent as all eyes turned to the presenters. For those like me who witnessed the exchange, the room remained quiet far too long.

Not a single presenter answered the question. Sensing the same awkwardness as everyone else, the young man spoke again: “I’m a 24-year-old recent college graduate; I’m a sales professional working for a local radio affiliate; I have $247,000 in college debt; and I really don’t think I’ll ever be able to purchase a home.”

Finally, one of the presenters quipped, “Well, then, I guess you better sell a lot more ads!”

Ouch. If only it were that easy.

Quite simply, education is broken in this country. In today’s online environment, one professor can teach hundreds, even thousands, of students. With that kind of access, you have to wonder why colleges continue to add new buildings, install new stadium suites, and buy up block after block. With record enrollments and skyrocketing costs, at what point will the business of educating follow the automotive, real estate and banking segments into a cycle of implosion and rebirth? I’d say we’re closer
to the former—and let’s all hold on to our seats for the latter.

Meanwhile, parents worry about getting their kids into the best schools, so they’ll have their pick of the best colleges. But at what price?

In this month’s issue, Michael Bradley sits down with the newly hired headmasters of two of the area’s most esteemed private schools to get answers to that question and others (“EA Vs. Haverford“). They offer some frank opinions on test scores, scholastic sports, and the future of their schools and private education in general. Be sure to visit mainlinetoday.com for an expanded version of the interview.

Also in this Issue: From educating our children to educating our palates … The fall harvest is upon us, and that means the latest vintages of adult grape juice will be available soon. We hope you’ll join us for our second annual Food & Wine Affair Sept. 19-20 at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern. This exclusive event will highlight some of the best wines out there, and offer guests the chance to purchase what they taste. Expect about 40 vintners and at least 200 labels, not mention a first-class Winemakers’ Dinner on Sept. 19, prepared by award-winning Desmond chef Chris Calhoun.

And let’s raise a toast to … education.

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