• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: Governor Walker Breaks New Ground in Higher Ed

    Governor Scott Walker (R-WI), already well known for his efforts to curb union power, has now set out to tackle an equally big task: busting the higher education bubble.

    The problem of college affordability is recognized on both sides of the aisle, but sadly, most efforts to abate the problem – such as increasing federal subsidies – have only exacerbated it. Walker wants to try a different approach for taxpayers and students in his state.

    Last Tuesday, Walker released his proposal to create the University of Wisconsin Flexible Degree Program, a competency-based approach using both online learning and traditional college courses. He explained:

    This unique competency-based model will allow students to start classes anytime they like, work at their own pace, and earn credit for what they already know… Students can use knowledge obtained on the job, through free open courseware, or anywhere else to quickly test out of a module or a course. A student may move ahead as soon as he or she can prove content mastery.

    Obtaining a degree through the University of Wisconsin system will now be more affordable and customizable. By tapping into and giving credit for the knowledge a student has obtained outside the classroom or through another school, the Flexible Degree Program brings down the cost and the time required to graduate. If a student proves his mastery of a certain subject, he can obtain credit without taking a full class. Walker’s office notes:

    Students can demonstrate college-level competencies – no matter where they learned the material – as soon as they can prove that they know it…

    Rather than molding coursework around a set timeframe, these modules can be designed to contain only the knowledge required within a specific competency. This could benefit working adults who need to start and pause their studies because of work and personal commitments. It could also benefit highly motivated students who are able to move through course materials at a faster pace.

    Courses in this new program will be based on competency, not seat time, so students can move on to the next topic when they have mastered the current material. Students will have broad access to high quality coursework and student services, and they can graduate as soon as they can prove their mastery of the material…

    Students with extensive knowledge from the workplace, free open courseware, or other life experiences will be able to quickly move closer to degree completion by having their knowledge assessed and credited.

    The classes can also be tailored to allow for a student’s busy schedule or career goals. What’s more, Walker expects the program to reach even international students, broadening the university’s student and revenue base.

    Governor Walker, as was the case with his efforts to curb union influence and empower teachers, is on the cutting edge of a higher education revolution. As Heritage’s Stuart Butler notes:

    In as little as a decade, most colleges and universities could look very different from their present forms – with the cost of a college credential plummeting even as the quality of instruction rises.

    If this transformation does come to pass, it could have profound and beneficial implications. It could significantly increase the international competitiveness of American workers in a world in which we need higher skills and productivity to compete. It could sharply improve the employability of those on the bottom rungs of America’s income ladder, giving them the tools they need to move up. And it could do much to restore the American Dream for those who have begun to believe that opportunity in this country is disappearing. In other words, such a change could hardly come too soon.

    Walker’s plan is a real solution to the problem of college affordability, cutting costs for the student and the taxpayer. The first-in-the-nation Flexible Degree Program is a great step toward giving all students their chance at the American Dream.

    http://www.morningbell.org

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    123 Responses to Morning Bell: Governor Walker Breaks New Ground in Higher Ed

    1. avordman says:

      This could be the most intelligent and logical change to ever take place in upper level education

      • Ripleydog says:

        I applaud Walker for trying something but where I see this failing is that the people giving the grade are the people who have never worked in the real world. Most of the professors at these universities have never held a job outside of acedemia and are nothing more than professional students. I am someone who went through the wisconsin school system, worked and went to school full time to get my masters degree. These professors have no clue that the text book and real life don't always mix. They only know what the text book says and not how it applies to the real world. Who is going to judge whether an individual is "competent" in a certain subject? Who is going to judge whether an individual's real world experience is sufficient? I'm afraid it will be these professors who have no clue themselves and my people will be frustrated and the plan will fail.

        • sfcb2010 says:

          I think almost every college is that way. Instructors have no clue on what is going on in the outside world.

          • Buba says:

            Out of all my University Professors, very few had no experience. In my core classes that really mattered for my degree, they were all working professionals for years before they came and taught.

        • W. Colborne Mullen says:

          You are quite likely right, unless one considers the possibility, The forward thinking people who came up with the plan have considered your response, and will be able, to put, in place, a system, of using a computer program, of correct answers, to do the grading. Try being positive. Do not discourage inovation, by playing the devils advocate. I could have had two degrees, if this format had been available, in my youth. I could not function, in the usual style, of education. I despised having, to guess the teachers OPINION. to acquire a higher grade.

        • Old Colonel says:

          You are working off a totally false assumption. What Gov. Walker is proposing is a combination of CLEP like tests, resident and on line programs. Most universities today make use of adjunct professors. These are people who have already established themselves as experts in their fields. There have been standards and measurements for all career fields to equate work experience to academics. Time for you to go back to school?

        • DEFEATOBAMAIN2012 says:

          I think this is an excellent idea, students can work in the field they are interested in and get experience they will need, if they realize this job is not something I want to spend the rest of my life doing they can change. 4 yr college does not guarantee you a job work experience that field will. I've hired both, the grad that had hands on experience than the grad we had to teach how to apply what he learned in 4 yrs.

    2. glynnda says:

      Excellent idea, but not a new one. I earned about 25% of my undergrad doing out of the class work, such as writing papers, time/experience, military experience, testing etc. I think the really signifigant part of his idea is the idea of making "tenure" less and less important. I didn't see it in the article, but the implication is there. Also, the importance of "butts in the seat" needs to be made less significant. During my years both grad and undergrad, I saw a lot of people passing classes who shouldn't have been. Many of them couldn't write a basic composition…..very sad

      • sfcb2010 says:

        I did too. But now everyone can do it, not just a select few. I got my Associates in 6 months due to my Army experience.

      • ssgdunigan says:

        I finished my degree through the Regents Bachelor of the Arts program at WVU. It worked exactly like what Governor Walker is proposing, allowing me to use my experiences in the workforce and military as college credit. I finished my degree in about a third of the time by getting unnecessary classes out of the way so I could concentrate on those I actually needed.

      • Beepster says:

        I started college with 36 credit hours, and tested out on 12 more. This was back in '79.

      • Glynnda are so right and specifically on your last point. I found that problem to be greatly disturbing and felt this diminished the quality of my earned degrees.

      • gingercake5 says:

        I can hear the unions screaming from here!

    3. doctorbigwolf says:

      These ideas should also be promoted in K-12 education to allow higher ability students to move at their own learning paces, minimizing the time wasted sitting around in classes waiting for others to catch up. We as a nation need to move away from age-restricted grouping (placing students in grades based solely on chronological age) and move toward a more flexible model based on students' readiness levels. Our gifted and talented students should be provided with the opportunity to soar and not be encumbered by traditional pacing and curricular constraints.

      • Edward says:

        I agree to a point, but not so fast that they lose out on the social education as many of those gifted do. Kids need to learn social skills as well.

        • momsaid says:

          If a child is capable of advanced work, his 'social skills' will suffer greatly as he/she plods along, being held back because of unprepared/inept teachers. It is not necessarily wrong to seat different ages in the same class. Remember the old one-room schoolhouse? No one was held back there, because as soon as they'd mastered a reader/speller/history/grammar/mathematics book, they'd move on to the next one. The other students of the same age were not held hostage to a slower one, either. BTW, have you noticed the 'social skills' found in many classes these days? I home-schooled my children for good reasons…so they could learn real vocabulary (sans cuss words), read, write, spell, etc, until they could seek things out on their own. The more they learned, the better they could relate to disparate people, places and situations. They also had friends in the neighborhood and at church.

      • donowonder says:

        Be careful. There is something to say about a very smart 10 year old sitting next to a 19 year old in the same classroom. Many 10 year olds will not have much of a social life with their peers (classmates). Yes I know there are exceptions, but not too many.

        • Jason says:

          I've heard this argument made time and time again, but I've never seen any actual evidence to support it.

          From first hand experience, I can tell you that a sufficiently gifted 10 year old will have more of a social life sitting next to a 19 year old than he will sitting next to his age-appropriate peers.

      • David Johnson says:

        Non graded outcome-based education has been suggested for 30 years but no one seemed interested until now……

      • KC - NM says:

        We have a few very progressive technological charter schools that work with this approach. The benefits are significantly greater than what public education can offer. Check out http://www.sslc-nm.com.

      • m5783 says:

        I remember this being tried when I was in 5th grade. English/reading was broken up into 'mods.' Each mod was supposed to be one week's worth of class. We were told to go at our own rate. After 10-15 minutes, I was finished with one mod. The teacher accused me of cheating. There was another girl that was almost as fast at finishing as I was. By the end of the first month, we were both done with a years worth of class. The teacher could not believe we weren't cheating and we basically read library books the rest of the year. I wish that they were prepared for the smart kids as well as the normal and slow. I have seen some advanced classes now that are just extra busy work. Teachers still don't know what to do with faster learners. They really don't know what to do with students that are smarter than they are.

        • Colonialgirl says:

          Had an experience in an "English Lit" class whee by mid-semester, I had been through ALL the reading texts at least twice, some more than that as I read at 900-1000 WPM's at a 99% comprehension level. Got "A"'s on ALL the teasts. She assigned a story in the front of a book ( Hemingway's "Short Happy Life of Francois Macomber") By the time she wandered by my desk, I was way in the back of the book. I thought she was gonna have an apocalyptic fit; Asked if I had read the story assigned, ANS: YES MA'AM. Said I should read it again; I explained that I had already read it over 4 times ot including the current time; She asked "Would I be willing to take a test on it?"; ANS: YES MA'AM. That ended the conversation as she KNEW that I always made "A"'s on her tests.
          PS: I STILL remember facts and details about the story now 50+ years later.

      • teach4ever says:

        Yes, I agree. Having had three really bright kids who got their homework done in the earlier grades while the teacher was giving the instructions, I can relate to those who think school wastes a lot of time for some kids. Also, we do not want a grade to reflect how many hoops you jump through, but what you know.

      • Lee Reynolds says:

        You are absolutely right, which is why the usual suspects will fight this tooth and toenail. They want to create an equal society. Freeing the intelligent and talented from the shackles of the dunces they are currently forced to share class time with would result in more inequality. It is the same reason why they want to punish those who achieve in any area of human endeavor.

        Unless and until our society is freed from the false notion that human beings are equal, those enthralled by the pipe dream of an equal society will continue to cause problems for the rest of us.

      • Ellen Ray says:

        SC Whitmore School is an online mastery-based charter high school. Students work one-to-one with their teachers, revising their lessons until mastery is achieved. With no semesters, students move through their courses at their own pace. This approach is ideal for students who need more time to complete a course as well as the students who wishes to accelerate their graduation.

    4. Kim says:

      While there are definitely some good ideas here, what is missing is that this basically creates an advance trade school education. That is fine but a university education is suppose to provide a well-rounded education of trade, humanities, sciences, etc. The idea that everyone needs a college education is a false assumption. Trade schools, advanced trade schools, are viable alternatives. They are not less important nor do they deserve less respect. However the discussion on higher education should differentiate between these alternatives and provide for both.

      • Roger says:

        So what you are saying is that this couldn't provide a "well-rounded" education? besides I thought K-12 was supposed to give you a well-rounded education and college was supposed to supply you with "field-specific" education like doctor, lawyer or educator. Also on another note aren't colleges just "trade schools" for "higher income" people?

      • Gabriel Austin says:

        The problem is that MOST college students and graduates in the U.S. are of an astonishing ignorance of the humanities. One obvious symptom of this is the well-known ignorance of languages other than their own. And the latter often consists in jargon-laden conversations. One has but to listen to or to read the newspapers and journals which disgorge the same vocabulary and concepts of memorized college courses.
        Another symptom is the resentment – often accompanied by adolescent vulgarities – when this is pointed out.

      • gingercake5 says:

        University education has been taken over by liberal ideologues who "want to separate a child from their parent's teachings" as fast as possible. They actually admit this, and they merrily corrupt the kids. Then they graduate with *attitudes* but no employable skills.

    5. Robert says:

      One of them is now President of these great states. And he got his degree from Harvard!!!!

      • Srephen Sullivan says:

        No, he got his degree from Columbia College and a law degree from Harvard. We know nothing re his grades at either institution as they have been "sealed" by his legal team at great cost for some reason. Perhaps he was educated by some semblence of Walker's proposed program. Who knows? Just saying…..

    6. LMT says:

      Perhaps it would be useful to address the exorbitant rate of inflation for college expenses versus the general rate of inflation; what is the cause of it, especially in the last ten years?

      • Vlad says:

        The hyperinflationary increase in tuition is the result of the disassociation of the "product" from the consumer.

        Subsidies have guaranteed a revenue stream for the universities, which has lowered the quality, and removed the consumer from direct application of his/her capital for the acquisition of the product(education). Tuition "prices" rise, students generally don't care, because they are only paying a portion of the actual cost.

        Student Loans are given out like candy, with no association to the degree of risk, associated with the borrower. This has incentivized borrowing for more(and more expensive) education than one can afford.

        The education "bubble" will burst, as did housing.

        • lewisrvaughn@att.net says:

          Vlad you nailed it. Guaranteed gov. loans, easy access and lowered standards have created far more demand than is needed in the market place. Gov. has, in effect, screwed up the capitalistic free market system. The suppliers (colleges) drool over all that money with many providing inferior products. No or few jobs available. Occupy Wall Street. CAUSE AND EFFECT.

    7. I can't believe I am writing this, Governor Walker seems to have a good idea here.

      • Rob says:

        Keep expanding your mind Steve. Focus on facts and reality not propaganda.

        • Ace says:

          The fact is that everything else Walker has done is idiotic. However, this would be so genius that even the most liberal of people, like myself (who considers Obama to be very conservative on the political spectrum) recognize and admit this is a great idea.

    8. Don Webb says:

      As already noted, this is not a new idea. I was allowed to opt out of class time by taking the final in the 60's and 70's at Wayne State University but only after I had paid for the credits. However, my Astronomy professor warned me that if he had to write a special test just for me, he promised that I would never pass it. <grin> All professors should have tests prepared as part of Walker's plan. Another step would be to get all text books on Kindle. These books are priced way over their value and are just another source of income for the schools and their professors. And lastly, many research projects are paid for by government grants and some of the more outlandish are for people working on their doctorates. There should be colleges where research is not part of the education equation!</grin>

      • timpclimber says:

        Agree with most of your comment but most technical text books are not over priced. They have fewer buyers, shorter use life, have many more costly illustrations and their paper and bindings are much more expensive than regular trade books. True, ebooks are cheaper to produce but many of the same costs to produce texts are up front and not in the printing. Also you have to convince the content experts to take time out of their busy lives to write the book.

    9. Mary......WI says:

      I'm very proud Gov Walker is our Governor. And an added note….he did not complete his college education.

      • christto says:

        And his lack of a degree is something to be proud of? After 4 years of college he only had 94 credits? (normally you'd have around 120.) Why is education demeaned in this country? I am not saying that everyone needs a college degree, but I would expect that we would encourage that level of intellectual ability and exposure in our elected leaders.

        "Walker released a letter from Marquette that showed he attended the school for four years, from 1986 to 1990, and would have needed to stay there for at least another year to get a degree. He had 94 credits and would have needed at least 36 more. The exact number of credits he needed isn't clear because students must take classes in certain areas of study to get degrees."

        • DenisB says:

          I don't see where his "successes to date and leadership skills" have in any way been hampered by his failure to finish the 36 credits. The assumption you need a degree to be competent to be a governor or any other successful leader is belied by the number of people who succeed and prosper without one. Needing a degree is elitist.

          • Jbubba says:

            Or worse yet, the number of people with degrees (especially advanced degrees) who are elected to positions of power over others and only then demonstrate no level of leadership skills or competence.

        • Edward says:

          And yet he has become Governor of WI, Turned the state around from the brink of bankruptcy, and now is trying to straighten out some of the higher education barriers… Seems worthy of pride to me…The biggest costs I see after all the subsidies, etc… is the Massive Rise in Top End Educator Administrations salaries…

        • tomindecatur says:

          What kind of degree does Bill Gates have? He seems to somehow managed to survive without one. On a more important note, why would anyone be required to have a college degree to be a governor? The only people who feel threatened by someone succeeding without having the "credentials" you want to use as a lock, are those who either make their living as the sacred grantors of those credentials and see their livelihood in peril and those who only have that sacred piece of parchment to recommend them. Which is it?

    10. Dr. says:

      The Habilitation Personnel Training Project, in the Department of Special Education, University of Kansas, under Dr. Gary Clark's direction, developed a modularized, competency based, 34 hour training program for general Special Education Teachers. This was done in 1976. The final report is in ERIC. It was nationally field tested but no one at the time wanted to accept it as a college program. To colleges and schools of Education, it was still more important to collect the tuition money from the students for in class attendance rather than get them through school as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

      • Kevin says:

        Excellent point. There is no incentive for Higher Ed to be more efficient in their content delivery. Finding the right mix of institutional incentives, coupled with fiscal restraints may be the key to success. I would also point to the explosive growth of other high quality online/cohort structured programs injecting strong competition to the Higher Ed marketplace.

    11. michelle says:

      Just completed my degree in marketing and communications at a 4 yr private college. I am now working a 9-5 data input job, see no future and am burdened with $50,000 in student loans. All that time and money for a “well rounded education” put me in debt up to my ears, not prepared to actually find a job in my field, four years behind my peers and no better off in the marketplace of employment. Wasnt worth the time and money. Something has go to change! I hope this is the key for future generations.

      • Old Colonel says:

        Sorry to hear about your debt. The issue is not getting your degree, it's about what you do with it. You need to focus on the job search and market yourself in your field and then look to have the funds to pay the cost. Remember, "There is no premium on igornace". Good luck

      • Rob says:

        Michelle,

        You need Dave Ramsey. Do not loose heart.

      • 2D Okie says:

        You aren't alone,I took a degree in advertising design from a state school in Kansas. The education in my major wasn't worth the price,but fortunately, some of my other courses gave me a universal education. Sadly, almost everyone can say that they only had a hand full of really good teachers in their entire educational experience…and we still remember them.

    12. Don, I understand this is not a new idea, and that Walker likely had little input to any particulars of the "plan", but he is the one presenting the idea and has the political push behind the idea. He gets the credit if it works well, and is the goat if it fails. There is nothing new about this concept, politcians have been attempting to reform health care sinse Teddy Roosevely, but we now have "Obama care", the democratic plan writen in part by the heritage, and copied from "Romney care", yet the success or failure of the act will fall on Obama in all historic terms.

      • DEFEATOBAMAIN2012 says:

        Would you prefer to hire a grad with hands on experience and college degree or
        a grad with 4 year degree warming a seat and no experience
        that you will have to teach him/her how to apply what he learned.

        • ThomNJ says:

          Depends upon the job – I worked years ago as an applications engineer in the industrial gases business. The best engineers were those young ones fresh out of college or perhaps a few years maximum. They were good, because we worked on new applications, and they did not have any pre-conceived notions about what was and was not possible. Sometimes, experience brings along unwanted "boundaries".

    13. It is wise to take note of the profound vision Walker has for LEADING Wisconsin. This is a great idea to try to break free from the high cost of education and any potential political 'indoctrination' in the classroom. This puts families and students first before the greedy government. It should have been attempted long ago. What is taking everyone so long to put the needs of their customers first?

      • "indoctrination"? You watch to much Fox news. "puts students before the greedy government"? the idea is being presented by a politctian. Clearly you are a tea party republican………

        • LesCon says:

          Higher Education is rife with Indoctrination. Just look at the so-called Humanities, Social Work, Political Science, and Journalism coursework offered. Along with the Black Studies, LGBT Studies, Hispanic Studies, and Women Studies programs rammed down the throats of college kids today and you get INDOCTRINATION.

          You would have to be brain dead not to see it. But then maybe you've been watching too much MSNBC.

        • Eileen says:

          A politicians job is to serve the people not take from them. Glad to be a tea party conservative too. Past failed philosophies are constantly being presented as new ideas when they're just the re-indoctrination of old failed ideas – education is a big promoter of this. What is wrong with FOX news? I wish I could view it more often.

        • Bobbie says:

          in all sincerity what are you? a narrow minded talking point?

      • As I read over the replies to this post, it was apparent to me that "progressive" individuals are open to new ideas. Most progressives posting on this string seem to agree this is a good idea, myself included. I am more than willing to consider new ideas, regardless of were they are comming from, including a governor who has attacked working class people who are union members. A governor who has lied about criminal activity in his office while he the county execitive before becoming governor. A governor who is seen on video telling one of the wealthiest citizens of the state "we will divide and conquor". A governor I would never vote for should I be a citizen of Wisconsin. That being said, I agree with his idea on the education, as I stated, most progressives do. Compair this to the conservative and tea party fashion here, who do nothing but attack the other side, and refuse to listen to any idea other than their own. It underscores all that is wrong with the political system we currently suffer through. What ever happened to the moderate republicans, did they all get run out of town during this "tea party"?

    14. timpclimber says:

      Asa UofW-Madison grad and former prof at the Stevens Point and public school teacher for 30 years, I'm thrilled at Gov Walker's new educational plans. All education, K-24,. should be based on this model. With the advent of the internet and all the new electronic gadgets even the most difficult labs like chemistry, anatomy and physics can be individualized and competency based. Imagine students required to prove competency before progressing in a subject! I just hope the teacher's unions don't become the dog in the manger to his plans.

    15. Dr. Sherman Yacher says:

      The Habilitation Personnel Training Project, in the Department of Special Education, at the University of Kansas, under the direction of Dr. Gary Clark, in 1976, developed a 34 hour, modular, competency based teacher training program for general special education teachers. The final report of this project is posted on ERIC. The program was field tested nationally. However no universities picked the program up, because, I suppose that in 1976, it was still more important to collect tuition for seats in classrooms rather than get students quickly and inexpensively through college.

    16. elizabeth groves says:

      There is more to the college experience than just the classroom. Young adults, for the first time , are placed in an environment with others from many different places and backgrounds. They are being exposed o different life experiences and beliefs. For many it is the first time away from their families. It is a time of independent growth. Making lifetime friends with people they would never have met in there "home towns". Maybe this is a good idea for people who are unable to attend college for various reasons . Also many student in college do take on-line classes along with those held in classrooms.

      • Ed Musto says:

        Well Elizabeth, if you have the time and money to expend on "rounding out" and "diversifiying" your social life, that's great (for you). I certainly wouldn't suggest limiting your choices. For those of us who need to expand our professional skills, and dealing with shortages of both time and money, this is a great alternative.

      • ves says:

        You act like people live a vacumn and know nothing about the rest of the world!
        College / University is for leaning Period….Not for the socializing…this is why our kids come out with a BS Education!!

    17. Robert says:

      During the period I worked for Raytheon Co., I worked with engineering students that worked 10 weeks on
      the job and then went back to the classroom for 10 weeks etc. This enabled these students to pay the cost of
      college and had hands on experience.

    18. Anne White says:

      It is a laudable plan if the recognition of "honesty and deceit" are incorporated into the requirements. Truthfulness as to actual identity of person taking courses, the integrity of their work being their own, and requirements for competency in expressing their knowledge in words, not mere marks or symbols, would make this an excellent source of achievement for many. Education of an individual personality is more than being able to assemble "blocks" of information. The individual must ultimately be able to use what they have learned in order to continue to learn.

      • O2BMe says:

        I don't know if you can stop deceit and dishonesty. Students are already cheating by paying to have papers written for them and even take their tests. They will end up the big losers when they go out into the work world and they don't know their stuff. The universities have wasted a lot of money on luxury things for the students to lure students which has pushed up tuition. I hope other States are watching what is going on in Wisconsin. It is also a state where the people decided to vote for the man and his ideas, not the party.

    19. junkbin says:

      This could work. The enrollment should be limited to the states residents or at least, verifiable US citizens, non of the ILLEGAL ALIEN free ride discount cr_p
      Also foreign tuition needs to be tripled at the very least with no funding of any kind for any US source.

    20. Edward says:

      The biggest costs I see after all the subsidies, etc… is the Massive Rise in Top End Educator Administrations salaries…

    21. Robert says:

      The Wisconsin Governors Idea likely came from the successful implementation of the competency based program that already exists and was established by the governors of western states. The university is called Western Governors University and it is an excellent school. Regionally accredited and economical, it is a good model. Check it out: http://www.wgu.edu

      • timpclimber says:

        WGU has some good points but flexability in its offerings is not one of them. Needed one of their math major classes to upgrade my math teacher credits. They wouldn't let me take it out of sequence or pretest to see if I had the skills. Without flexible offerings any advantage will be moot.

    22. Jack Lloyd says:

      Congratulations to Gov. Scott Walker. It wll be important that Heritage keep tabs on how this program works out so it can be reported upon and disseminated widely.

    23. David Johnson says:

      No wonder the higher educational community was so opposed to Governor Walker's tax saving ideas for public education. They could see these sensible changes coming to their comfy status quo world.

    24. Jeanne Stotler says:

      We have had, for years, a system in education of age related to grade. I went to a private school and started 1st grade at 5 Yrs, graduated HS 2 weeks before turning 17, and was admitted to Georgetown U. My kids were held to "Had to be 5 by Oct.15th for Kndergarten, 6 for 1st grade, there is also some rules about skipping grades, (before advance placement classes) I saw my kids struggle in some cases and in others be bored to death as classes were too slow. College is not for everyone, and I saw BIG discrimination when it came to kids going into Tech programs. If a boy shows more interest in rebuilding a car than in science, LET HIM!, same with those with woodorking skills etc. We NEED plumbers, bus drivers,carpenters, with skills, mechanics, house painters. I know an Air condition business owner who makes more than my son who is a Rocket scientist. We need nursing assistants and there are a host of other jobs that DO NOT requirea college degree, just on job training.

    25. Doug Stafford says:

      In addition to the benefit of reducing the cost of a college education, this approach will encourage more critical thinking on the part of the student and reduce their exposure to progressive-minded professors.

      • Kelly Ohler says:

        Why would anyone want to "reduce their exposure to progressive-minded professors?" Isn't the whole point of being educated to understand different opinions and ideas, and not to disrespect anyone for thinking differently?

    26. Lowell Steele says:

      Check out this article which chronicles an even more extensive and comprehensive set of innovations already underway, addrerssing many of the same goals: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700188498/On-t

    27. David Grimsled says:

      Sounds like a good idea for education without indoctrination.

    28. muskegonlibertarian says:

      This is one of the greatest ideas I've seen from any public official anywhere. Thankfully the people of Wisconsin supported their governor in the recent recall election.

    29. Frank says:

      Scott Walker for President!
      Hurry, before they nominate RINO Romney!

    30. Gayle Glennon says:

      We monetarily assisted our four children as they obtained their undergrad degrees and then as two of them went on to get graduate degrees and a second degree. I have to agree with Robert earlier in this conversation and say that the cost of text books is outrageous. One begins to believe there is a collaboration between book manufacturer and teacher, when the textbooks seem to become irrelevant or deficient after just one semester or one year of use. It's bad enough that the books are so expensive to begin with, but then the student is prevented from recouping any of the expense, by eliminating the ability to re-sell or buy used. Another cost element that plays into the big picture is the "prerequisite class". I had a daughter who earned her Masters in Animal Nutrition and was published, yet had to take a class teaching her how to research and use a library, before she could begin an RN program at another university. Seriously? I'm pretty sure she could have demonstrated her expertise in that area with little effort. It was just a way for the university to rake in money. We also ran into several instances of the same class, needing to be repeated, because one university would not accept another university's class content. If Governor Walker's program could successful address either of these issues, he could be very successful in bringing down the cost of higher education. Finally, a comment on the Governor's not having graduated in his four year stint at college. In my 4 years of college (1974-1978), I switched majors 5 times and ended up not being able to complete a degree program within that period of time. It wasn't a lack of intelligence or determination, it was simply a lack of direction. Had I had a good advisor, things might have been different. I got a great "general" education during that time, however, I did not leave with skills specific to one career path. I would love to go back and get a degree now (I'm 56) but the cost has always been a deterrent. Gov. Walker's program really peaks my interest!

      • S--tn says:

        Professors do NOT collaborate or benefit from textbooks. We actually try very hard to choose good books with as long a life expectancy as we can. the costs of publishing, the secondary markets, and accreditation issues all play into the textbook issue. We too pay for our own children's texts and are well aware of the costs. We are also consumers, not the owners, publishers, nor, in most cases, the authors.

    31. KC - NM says:

      This idea is good and exibits progressive thought. However, two items also need to be added to really make a difference. 1 – make sure theory is addressed and not just experience based education. 2 – we also need to develop and offer real trade education for those who just want to learn a trade.
      In NM for example, we had a Technical Vocational Institute which focused on trades and the tactical "how to do it" type education. Today, that is gone and replaced by a mini-college (CNM) which keeps a lot of students from learning trades because if the college approach.

    32. ves says:

      Good now we can also look at the radical Profs that are corrupting our kids….the over priced Administration and Professors! We can stop paying for Illegal Aliens and Foreign Nationals and focus on Legal US. CITIZENS…..something that has been missing for decades!!! Maybe with less "Socializing…haha" OUR KIDS Might learn Something! We can now make sure ALL Credits carry from one US School to Another!! If you are not fluent in English YOU CAN NOT ATTEND because you aren't able to learn and only Hold US Students BACK!

    33. sue says:

      This reminds me of what one of my husband's great uncles did. I believe, from reading his biography, he might have had Asperger's Syndrome. The time period was in the late 1800's when schooling was less structured. His mother, who was a teacher, could not teach him. He suddenly developed an interest in geography and taught himself all there was to know; then he discovered history, and did the same. He mastered one subject after another, but when he tried to go to a college and study many things at one time, he had a nervous breakdown. After rebuilding his health, and going on a few adventures, he became a great historian and poet. He wrote many county histories and other books and poetry. A mini-bio of him is on Wikipedia- Hu Maxwell. This less structured system would help so many who have different learning styles.

    34. Warren Norcom says:

      Gov. Walker's idea is excellent. In many ways it simply takes the home schooling principle to the university level. The high costs of living on campus are eliminated. Text costs are highly reduced by the excellent comment above of using Kindle books. Students progress at their own pace, and can "test out" of classes. Students can fit their university education into their own schedule of life objectives. Go for it.

    35. J. Tigner says:

      Great concept. The idea can fit many levels of need across a work career and allow study to fit the circumstances as they arise, earn a degree if desired or just increase competency that is verified by a recognized certification entity.

    36. Chuck Holmes says:

      Now if they can keep the PC curriculum out and people trying to force their views on everyone, etc…. It may work!

    37. RGP says:

      Holy Moly Batman! Gov Walker is a gutsy and innovative man with vision and the self motivation to make things happen. I earned both a BA and an MBA through the traditional methods and had a great career before I retired at 70. The boring formal approach didn't contribute more than 15% of my education at most. All I have used and/or needed came from other training sources and self study. Formal, butts in seats programs are nothing more than expensive "lifetime employment" programs for tenured school administrators and professors.

    38. The nerve of the guy. Who does he think he is, basing advancement on competence is politically incorrect. The unions will probably revolt and ACLU will take it to the Supreme Court! God Bless America.

    39. Dr. Henry Sinopoli says:

      As someone who has taught at the MBA level for 12+ years, I know the waste of time, waste of resources and money spent on 'so-called' accelerated programs. Governor Walker's idea, while not totally new, will enable higher education to move our of the industrial revolution model. I was forced to work for 'professors' who were selling newspapers one week and writing 'seat-time' rules for students the next.

      Take a look at some of the programs offered at Singularity University…Let's aim for professional competency, not political correctness.

      We do not need diversity coordinators…We need competency coordinators…

    40. Mark Simmons says:

      This is great news! These aren't innovations in the sense that they haven't been tried elsewhere–in fact they have with great success. So that makes these changes even more attractive. What is innovative is getting a state university system to implement them. Unions and other forces have definitely opposed changes like these.

      We also need to make sure we don't leave behind the students who need more structure. However, that doesn't mean keep them in the old system. There is just as much potential for innovation here as there is for the more mature and motivated student.

    41. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Unions are bringing this country down.

    42. Charlotte says:

      We have been working at bank reform… we really need to work at college-university reform. All these institutions have become out of control with their fees, charges and what they are paying to their presidents, CEO's, professors along with all the perks and forever overly high pensions. Our country ought to be working on educating all of our citizens so that we improve our country's ability to govern, manufacture and do business in this country. We must also look closely at the fact that many students are not college-university material. Many of our students would do well for themselves and this country to go to trade schools. This is an area of education that must be explored. Granted, some 1-2 year college experience-learning may be helpful to those who decide to attend a trade school also. These options may also alleviate the drop out stats. I believe we ought to start with educating parents about these possibilities first.

    43. Candace says:

      I went through an accellerated adult program at my university, but it did not give credit for experience. Only the math classes gave the option of "testing out." I like this idea and can see how it could save students a lot of money.

    44. Bobbie says:

      Scott Walker and the like minded correct the problems unlike the other side that subsidizes the problem with hopes of a costly crisis they'll take unfair advantage of tax payers to bail their deceptive acts out. Common sense and logic worked with principle and dignity is productive! Democrats are not!

    45. Bob says:

      This is an idea colleges have resisted, insisting on significant seat time, with students often being forced to retake subjects they have already mastered or insisting on more advanced courses that others don't have to take for the same degree. This has led to the strong impression the student is buying the degree and he name. Actual education being less important.

      It will also force professors and departments to develop objective standards of evaluation. I sense many degree programs will wither and die as a result.

      • Dana Crom says:

        Long overdue. Years ago, I wanted to transfer between campuses of the California State University system so I could live at home and finish my degree while working part-time.

        I had over 3 years of credits, all of which met the local CSU standards. I was told I could only transfer in 60 semester hours of the 93 I had earned – I could pick any 60, but I'd need to retake a year's worth of classes to earn my decree in the local school.

        Instead, I went with the University of the State of New York's Regent's external degree program (now Excelsior College) – they accepted my credits, and gave me the choice of finishing the rest by taking local university classes (as long as accredited) or proving competency by exam (choice of Regent's, CLEP, GRE, and some others). I they also offered credits for military training (they had/have a very strong degree in Nuclear Technology for graduates of the Navy's nuclear powerman training).

        At the time, I wondered why other state universities didn't offer the same options. Bravo for Governor Walker!

    46. Rick Johnson says:

      Dear Governor Walker,

      With nearly 4 decades of experience as career teaching evaluation, academic program evaluation, and instructional consultant at UC Santa Barbara, I am compelled to point-out that an absolutely critical component of a first-rate University level education are the classroom, dorm room, and a myriad of on-campus opportunities to learn from other students in a variety of social contexts and wide-variety of subject areas.
      Failing to recognize and build-in such "diverse," valuable and meaningful learning experiences would catastrophically hobble the quality of both teaching and learning and in achieving a balanced mix of learning experience and opportunities for "meaningful" and high quality feedback that "could" result in an definitely inferior higher education experiences and opportunities that are ESSENTIAL components of learning. There are countless opportunities for quality learning and acquisition of essential competencies for success in any of life's endeavors. High "Quality" education cannot be achieved without, sufficient opportunities to experience all the elements of a University education. That's not to say that "outside class, remote or distance learning opportunities" are not valuable, it's just that failing to recognize and build-in higher education experiences like those I have only alluded to above would result in massively inferior results from the higher education set of experiences that are absolutely critical to certifying a student as somehow achieving many of the most important benefits of higher education.
      Having sat in countless courses, interviewed thousands of students, and hundreds of faculty and administrators, and monitored the consequences of the full range of elements related to achieving the best possible higher education elements in the context of first-rate, tier 1 university, I implore you to build-in and "require" a well-thought out and balanced set of the full range of experiences that failing to incorporate would unquestionably result in a disservice to your laudable objectives of lowering the costs of higher education and "tailoring" the experiences to the needs of the targeted learnings. Clearly, I am not proposing only the research University model of higher education, but I am making it absolutely clear that failing to provide a balanced and well throught-through educational programs would be a huge mistake.
      The benefits of pursuing the kinds of considerations I have mentioned above has resulted in my institution being ranked among the top quality educational institutions in higher education with many national and international awards, among other distinctions.
      In a nutshell, I have learned that first-rate programs and education that: "The magic is in high quality evaluation and formative feedback."
      Emeritus, UC

      • Bobbie says:

        you write "failing to provide a balance and well thought through educational programs would be a huge mistake?" the considerations you focus on isn't education but social engineering. diversity comes natural when it's left alone, education requires materials worth the knowledge to them, not materials personally influenced, taught as fact. "failing to incorporate a full range of experiences? what does that have to do with education that isn't depriving knowledgeable facts and manipulating experiences of ones own? Since education is run by unions, above the teacher and the students where union restrictions block the teachers from their talents and goals set for their students and by the teacher himself, standards have dropped immensely at thieving costs and without correction so desperation draws in mandated college. Unions shouldn't have a stake in education when it hinders education and dummy downs society! Look at society today and the influence that brought it to this. Everyone is either a victim or pitied just the same! That really shows an educated people!!! In the past people were educated to the point that college was a choice to pursue a career not remedy expected levels of grade school education already paid.

    47. Tom says:

      This is a great idea. I hope Kasich considers it for Ohio.

    48. Ron W. Smith says:

      As a retired college professor, I see great merit in Walker's proposal. As is always the case with any proposal for better anything, though, "the devil is in the details." Two that pop right into my mind are (1) testing) and (2) what constitutes the overall substance of the education at the end of it all.
      For a few years I was one of three professors involved in distance education before such was widespread and in a state where distance was a huge factor and rural populations the norm. Students who were involved in the experiment were, to put it mildly, inadequately prepared for higher education. Their schooling through grade 12 was a mix of awful and too undemanding. Their readiness for higher education made expectations, to them at least, unfair and the testing of their course mastery a disastrous experience. Also, what could be tested for often overlooked that frequently overlooked intangible, understanding. That part of education, so important in the formation thought-out judgments tested in the combat of ideas, happens best in smaller classrooms where daily interaction and dialogue are the case.
      How will Walker's plan promote better preparedness for college without "dumbing down" expectations at that level because of all the variables introduced, and how will testing accomplish more than just a reflection of memorization and detail? A teacher with 20 or fewer students in his/her classroom has so much better ability to teach and test for the intangibles involved in truly "higher" education–the realm where thoughtful citizens can be separated from the merely trained.
      Experience is oh-so important, and I applaud Walker's attempt to give it due recognition in the acquisition of degree-producing credits. Beware, though, a veneer labeled "education" put on the surface of a package inferior to what the veneer signifies.

    49. He is taking credit for something that has been in place for at least 35 years. It is called College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). And the UW already offers online classes – as does the area technical colleges. Students who begin as “special students” (non-degree candidates) have a great deal of flexibility. And they can transfer to a degree program at any time. Maybe he is tweaking it a bit, but it isn’t new ground.

    50. Phyllis Poole says:

      This is a great idea and I am impressed with this man for bringing it to light and trying to implement it.
      The Amish never go beyond the 8th grade and all of them have trades. They don't farm like one would think and like they used to do. They get their education and trades in different ways. They work for others and take that education to start their own business. Their funding comes from the "community" where they all pay into it for loans, insurance etc.. If their children work for pay, that money goes into the family fund, it isn't theirs to spend on "goodies" which is a big mistake of the common trend today. We should take a lesson from them in this way.
      PLEASE GOD ENLIGHTEN YOUR SHEEP

    51. MJ Vaughan says:

      I know part of this concept very well, as I graduated from a totally competency based program from Alverno College in MKE. But let's be clear-competency learning is learning based on learning something at Level one and then adding to it at Level 2,3,4,5, etc. , so you are repeating the competency at more intense levels as you progress to proficiency. This seems to be a very logical way to learn something and learn it well. However, if you don't "get it" well enough to progress, you don't move forward. The program at Alverno College has been a model around the world for this concept for many years. It has been disected by many scholars and found to be the" way to go" when it comes to higher education.

    52. L Keedick says:

      This proposal sounds very much like Charter Oak State College in Connecticut. From their web site:

      "earn credit through alternate sources such as testing and exams, military training, lifelong learning through our portfolio program, credit evaluated by ACE, PONSI, or Charter Oak and by transferring credit earned from other regionally accredited colleges and universities." $322/credit out of state tuition, $245 in-state.

      Web site: http://www.charteroak.edu/prospective/new/

    53. bdgrdemocracy says:

      There is much misinformation being forwarded about what a degree means to employment and jobs…as well as the motives behind these initiatives.
      http://bdgrdemocracy.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/ale

    54. Ernest T. says:

      It is about time something like this is made available to all students. Of course the professors will fight for their power and privileged life's.

    55. Susan Drabik says:

      What a great idea to the traditional, pay-away-your-life-savings scams universities have, led by liberal college presidents and professors. It's a shame some of us (like me) haven't heard of this system sooner. What would also be an enticing idea is to make silly electives vanish from earning a university degree. No disrespect intended at all, but just asking the question: does one really need to learn about the history of China or take a hobby class (remember underwater basketweaving?) to earn a legitimate education in higher learning, say in medicine or journalism? What a waste of time and money, when a student can focus on what truly matters in a chosen field. Being well-rounded in knowledge is one matter, spending money and time on unrelated subjects is another. I hope Governor Walker's plan comes to fruition, and that governors in other states take a hard look at this as a serious pla;n to boost higher education for all fields, whether graduates work with a scalpel or a wrench.

    56. TonyM says:

      A good start at attacking the issue of college costs. The administrators and tenured professors have created a financial utopia for themselves in these universities to fund their own housing, exorbitant physical plant expansion, ever increasing salaries with fewer and fewer hours worked in the classroom, sabaticals, pensions, free tuiton for their children, and an extensive list of other perks. It is outrageous. Not one politician is willing to stand up and hold them accountable.

    57. stephenkelly180 says:

      This is a great idea… education is continually being transformed. My two sons both did a very flexible degree customizing for themselves with one on one coaching here http://www.collegeplus.org/tf/884293

      CollegePlus- they take this idea a step further with coaching if that is something you are interested in. My youngest did this while in high school so is getting his college degree done by age 18. We are very happy. This is really the wave of the future.

    58. Cindy Kelly says:

      This is a great idea… education is continually being transformed. My two sons both did something similar but with one on one coaching. A great option for a flexible degree that is customized. http://www.collegeplus.org/tf/884293

    59. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Unions are what's wrong with this country.

    60. Jim Webb says:

      While the concept is certainly worth exploring, the devil is always in the details. I teach at one of the more prestigious universities and have found that there is a great difference between students that have come from a more traditional university and those that came from a university that allowed student credit for “life experience.” Quite simply, life experiences vary dramatically. I heard an apt observation that one person can have ten years of experience and another can have one year of experience ten times – meaning the latter never really progressed in their learning and growth. Now if they can pass an exam that demonstrated they have the required knowledge, give them credit. Most students that had “life experience credits” were not able to pass exams, even after sitting in class, because they did not have the background to understand the concepts.

    61. Scott says:

      In educational theory there is something known as "lower order" thinking and "higher order" thinking skills. Lower order generally refers to rote memorization and recall. Higher order requires evaluation, synthesis, and analysis. Higher order thinking is best done in conjunction with others where assumptions can be challenged and defended. There is a tendency by the current generation of young people to accept as fact what they find in writing, whether it is the internet, a book, Mein Kampf, etc. It is the teachers'/professors' job to help students engage in the higher order thinking that is necessary when evaluating ideas, information, etc. It is an extraordinary student who can do this in isolation, and even then you might end up with a Ted Kaczynski. And to those who say their four-year degree is worthless ~ You chose the wrong major. You should have paid attention in your econ class!

    62. @JPB_53 says:

      If I understand the Gov's comments, it seems to be an alternative to being a "butt in the seat" style of learning. I don't think he is advocating doing away with the "college experience" for those who want to go to a campus. A vast majority of expense for college is the continually increases in admin, salaries and facilities as well as legacy costs. Offering a cost-effective way for the anyone to take classes should be welcomed by all. However, I can imagine the howling that will occur when these ideas are put to test.

    63. Eric says:

      I would like to respectfully submit (echoing a few previous comments) that there is much more to college then getting a degree, such as the opportunity to learn adult responsibilities in a relatively safe and closed environment, make lifelong personal and professional connections, and take advantage of all the varied learning opportunities (e.g., lectures, cultural events, libraries) that come packaged.

    64. Joseph McKennan says:

      I was a non-traditional student- I didn't start until I was 30. I tried being a full time student getting grants and loans. I had been an uncouth and awkward rustic- I worked on ranches for 13 years after high school.
      For me the transitiion was to much all at once and I quit school for 1 1/2 years until I found a job so I could support myself then went back part-time until I got my degree in microbiology. I filled out my education with a lot of electives that are now VERY beneficial but had nothing to do with my major. It took me 10 years altogether but I think it was well worth it. I had a small balance of loans to pay off after graduation. I am glad I did it. If I had it to do all over I would do it the same way

    65. Mary Saucier says:

      Education, Education, Education – stay in school, wherever and however this occurs is mute. Some of our greatest thinkers had minimal formal education, but life experience, interested family and lots and lots of great books, books, books………….think Ill read now, getting "computer eyes".

    66. Ellen Ray says:

      SC Whitmore School, South Carolina's first mastery-based online charter high school is doing just that! With no semesters, students work one-to-one with teacher feedback, and revise their lessons until mastery is achieved. Students work at their own pace. This approach is ideal for students who want to accelerate their graduation, or who need more time to complete a course. http://www.sc.whitmoreschool.org.

    67. John L Robertson says:

      My children attended a Christian School for apart of thier elementary education that was base on Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) Curriculum It was self paced through education materials that they went through on their own in the classroom and with teacher led classes. When they finished a chapter, they would come present themselves to thier teachers for the chapter test . Upon passing, they would continue on to the next at their own pace!!! They could advance slowly or rapidly as their ability allowed.

      Before they began this program they were required to take a diagnostic exam to find where thier individual mastery of subject matter placed them. They could be in 2nd grade level English and 4th grade level math at the conclusion of the diagnostic exam. It was geared towards not placing anyone above their mastery level for any subjects content.

      It was a great system and they did well to have exposure to it.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×