Silicon Valley’s Next Target
THE SOURCE: “The Siege of Academe” by Kevin Carey, in The Washington Monthly, Sept.–Oct. 2012.
First Silicon Valley practically killed newspapers, then it delivered a devastating blow to book publishing. What iconic American industry does it have in its crosshairs now? Education, reports Kevin Carey, the director of education policy at the New America Foundation. Venture capital investment in educational technologies totaled almost $400 million in 2011, up from less than $100 million five years ago. “The one thing that sticks with me more than anything else,” Carey writes about a recent trip to the epicenter of the digital revolution, “is that the onslaught is shaping up to be relentless.”
The potential market is vast—education is a $1 trillion industry in the United States. Higher education is particularly ripe for disruption, as they say in the valley, because college students are graduating with expensive degrees, no jobs, and lots of debt. Silicon Valley start-ups hope to decouple learning and the college experience from brick-and-mortar universities.
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