Lumina Foundation Gives Odds For Edtech Innovation Under Trump

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academic schedules that work around the needs of parents.

DeVos said the president’s education plan includes an expansion of vocational and technical education, as well as measures to make college more affordable.

“He has called multiple paths for postsecondary education ‘an absolute priority’ for his administration, and I share that vision,” DeVos said.

Congress still holds most of the cards going forward, Merisotis says. A number of federal statutes are up for reauthorization, including the Higher Education Act.

Merisotis says it’s too early to say what types of educational technology companies and learning-related startups such as code schools might come out as winners in the new political environment. More than one model could succeed, he says.

“The jury is still out on the long-term success of the coding academies,” Merisotis says.

One of Lumina’s goals is to reconfigure the educational system so that it better prepares students for a labor market that has been transformed by digital technologies. But that effort is a thorny challenge for both the foundation and the U.S. government, Merisotis says, because larger disruptions of traditional employment are ahead.

“Automation and artificial intelligence are going to have a big impact on work,” Merisotis says.

Some proportion of jobs will be eliminated or substantially changed, he says. “How does the learning system, from K-12 through higher education, prepare for that?” Merisotis says.

People are now asking, in all seriousness, what role humans will play in the future labor market. Although science and math education will “absolutely” be needed, Merisotis says, there could also be job market advantages in human traits such as empathy and communication that are hard for machines to duplicate, he says.

“You’ve got to have these sort of future-oriented conversations,” Merisotis says.

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Bernadette Tansey is Xconomy's San Francisco Editor. You can reach her at btansey@xconomy.com. Follow @Tansey_Xconomy

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