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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and Learn Capital and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


  1. Tom, good observations from Fareed. I’ll posit, though, that a winning analysis would look more at our values.

    Take healthcare. Our value system today says, if you want to go for four years in college, be a boy at the fraternity, take in a fairly non-intense course of study from entrenched leftish professors, upon graduation taking a comfortable job traveling the land, peddling sponges and catheters to nursing homes; then we will pay for much of your four years of fun, provide you with the softest of amenitites while you are there, finance your daily banquets at the food court, give you hot tubs, pools and saunas, see that you are entertained. Any costs we don’t cover directly we’ll least cover with low-cost, government-guaranteed loans, loans you can then use to justifiy a higher salary. Once on the job, we’ll provide you a good car, feed you more tasty restaurant meals, take you to New Orleans and Wrigley Field sales “retreats”, give you a fine health plan, and financially reward you generously.

    If, instead, you take a job out of high school lifting patients for their sponge-baths, changing diapers, spoon-feeding, offering comforting words, leading games and activities, engaging bewildered families; why then we will pay you less than enough to live on.

    Many factors drive this; downward wage pressure from the global market is but one. A lack of understanding and discussion of all those pressures is another.

    Fareed’s prescription, though, just exacerbates the current situation, the increasing income disparity.


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