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It is impossible to address all the points raised in Paul Gessing’s op-ed on “Digital Education” in a space-limited letter, but a couple of his statements are so egregious that they shouldn’t be allowed to stand unopposed.
First, is his statement “For-profits have a relentless, selfish imperative to seek out and adopt cost efficiencies.” This is probably true, but their fundamental goal is to make profits for their shareholders, not necessarily to improve student experience. Cost efficiencies, which increase profits, may have nothing to do with better education or student success, and in fact, may make things worse for students, depending on what is counted as a “cost efficiency”.
Second, is the statement “Nonprofits, by contrast, have little incentive to become early adopters of cost-saving tools and techniques …”. What evidence does Gessing have to support this statement? Non-profit businesses feel the same stresses as for-profits in terms of meeting government mandates and their payroll. Failure means they will likely fold their doors, so striving for cost efficiencies in a non-profit is just as important as it is for a for-profit.
Finally, there is Gessing’s “nonpartisan” claim. Does anyone believe that someone who quotes the American Enterprise Institute and who supports Ms. Skandara can lay claim to being nonpartisan?
Digital education in some form is surely something that will benefit students, but making it a political football is not likely to result in what is best for the students.