Equity-Focused Paradigm Shifts

A topic that is of great concern to me—and one I’d like to consider addressing for this class’s paper—is the issue of accessibility to equal education in the United States. While we certainly have significant problems with accessibility to equal education at all levels, I want to specifically address the issue with concerns to higher education. How do we provide citizens with a level playing field for attending and doing successfully in college? When will the U.S jump on the bandwagon and finally recognize education at all levels as a universal right to all people? Can this happen in the next decade? In our lifetimes, at all? How can we make this happen?

Published this past week, Patrick Blessinger’s, Shai Reshef’s and Enakshi Sengupta’s article, “The Shifting Paradigm of Higher Education” addresses how, since World War II, the field of education, at both the basic and higher education levels, has undergone significant change, as well as lays out what paradigm shifts have occurred/are occurring, and how/why these changes are taking place.

The primary forces, the authors write, driving demand for higher education include: 1.) globalization-internationalization process, 2.) political-legal education reforms, 3.) changes in socio-economic landscape, and 4.) technological innovations.

As a result, these forces have driven changes that include: 1.) emergence of universal access to higher education, 2.) emergence of more effective forms of teaching and learning, and 3.) emergence of a right-based approach to higher education. With a domino-like effect, these changes have then caused: 1.) the development of lifelong learning as a human right, 2.) the global democratization of knowledge, and 3.) the development of global knowledge society.

With equity pushing to be the new foundational value for education, these aforementioned changes, the authors note, are challenging leaders in higher education to reconsider the nature of higher education and how it’s provided. For example, schools, the article credits, such as the public schools of higher education in the State of New York, are working to make public education tuition-free. If we’re going to make the playing field fair for all students, though, this luxury cannot be limited solely to inhabitants of a single state. I’m happy to read that paradigm shifts are occurring, though I fear the rate at which they’re turning.