Apple's 94% Dominance in the Education Market

I was reading an online article,  "Educators Weigh iPad's Dominance of Tablet Market" in Education Week.  From the article:  "From Los Angeles to Illinois to Maine—where Apple products far outpaced Hewlett-Packard in districts’ choices through the state’s bulk-purchasing program earlier this year— iPads are hot. In fact, they command nearly 94 percent of the tablet market in K-12 schools, according to Tom Mainelli, the research director focusing on the tablet market for IDC Research, a San Mateo, Calif.-based firm that provides market analysis of technology.  By the end of this calendar year, total shipments for tablet computing devices in the U.S. education marketplace are expected to exceed 3.5 million units—a 46 percent increase over 2012, indicated Mr. Mainelli, who explained that the research is proprietary and declined to name the runners-up in the tablet race. The figure covers tablets in higher education and K-12, but colleges and universities account for a much smaller proportion because, at that level, most are personal devices."

Our College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota issues an iPad to all incoming students.  As a faculty member in the college, we have integrated use of the iPads into all our first-year courses.  I bought an iPad for personal use about a week after the first ones were available for sale.  Why do I prefer the iPad, even at its expense?  Like the old saying, I think you get what you pay for.  I wanted a slate computer that did it all and had the largest number of apps.  When I think about how much money I spend throughout the year, paying a premium for the iPad seems insignificant.  I am not a snob.  Most of the clothes I buy come from WalMart and JC Penny.  I buy my jeans at Goodwill (jeans never wear out and the price is pennies on the dollar).  I drive a 1997 Ford Explorer with some dings and dents in it.  But I want the best technology.  I am a value shopper, not a low cost shopper for technology (everything else falls into the low cost category).  Anyway, that my story why Apple products are my choice.  Plus, I think Google is evil. 

Are even community colleges to join many four-year institutions as gated communities as well?

Barton, P. E. (2002). The closing of the education frontier? Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Retrieved from: PICFRONTIER.pdf

The author makes an implicit analogy with a theory that early America was defined by the opportunity presented by Frederick Jackson Turner's thesis of the 'opening of the American west'. The Turner thesis was, "Up to our own day American history has been in a large degree the history of the colonization of the Great West. The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward explain American development". Accordingly, America changed when the West was closed and opportunity ended in 1893. Using this concept as a counterpoint, Barton questions whether the frontier of educational opportunity has already closed, and thereby changing American culture. He argues that there is empirical evidence that postsecondary educational opportunity has closed, and therefore changing the nature of American society. Barton's data challenges the conventional wisdom that educational attainment has continued to increase during the last quarter century. He paints a picture of an educational system that is not producing more high school graduates, that continues to display great social inequality, and that is not able to support greater proportions of students through to degree in four-year college programs.

I was visiting with a colleague yesterday in a larger community college in the Twin-Cities area. She remakred how high-level college administrators were voicing the desire to apply admissions criteria to "weed out" students deemed unlikely to be successful at college. These officials often relish the limelight brought when media report on their technical and health-science programs, but are frustrated with devoting larger amounts of funds to support growning numbers of students who need developmental-level courses, especially in mathematics.

It is easy to say that students with severe preparation issues attend community Adult Basic Education or General Education Degree programs. However, the barriers are enormous. How is the issue of stigma going to be overcome by telling students who aspire to college to attend programs designed for apiring high school graduates? How do these community-based programs absorb the enormous numbers of new students when their funding is inadequate for their current clients?

A solution could be to place these ABE and GED programs within local college learning centers with a significant increase in funding. That would help some with the stigma issue, but much more needs to be done with providing seamless academic enrichment and support for students. While the national debate decries the lack of adequately-trained college graduates, we seem to erect new barriers for their success each day.

Mission Differentiation: Code Language for Cutting Programs at Schools No Longer Wanted

The following is excerpted from my recent book, Access at the crossroads: Learning assistance in higher education (2010, Jossey Bass). Several of my recent blog posts have been about the elimination of developmetnal-level courses in Ohio. I also posted the message to the LRNASST email listserv and received reports from half a dozen other states that had previously enacted the same policy. I was disappointed to read that some people welcomed the decision since the students were better served at the two-year instiutions. I don't disagree about that result (as diappointing as that is). The issue I am concerned about is what happens when four-year institutions engage in "mission differentiation" and discontinue services and programs that had previously provided for more than 100 years. The following is my analysis of the practice and supported by research studies of others concerning the dramatic and negative outcomes as a result. -- David Arendale


Impact of Institutional Mission Differentiation on Learning Assistance


Economic challenges since the 1970s, especially among public institutions, have intensified. Land-grant institutions debate how to balance their historic egalitarian mission serving all state residents while curtailing programs and raising admission standards. Institutional leaders increasingly employ institu­tional “mission differentiation” to reign in costs and focus resources on the institution (Slaughter and Rhoades, 2004). Mission differentiation recognizes institutions with special programmatic offerings and targeted student popu­lations. Selective college admission policies lead some to question the need for comprehensive learning assistance services, especially developmental courses.

Preliminary analysis of mission differentiation reveals unannounced and unanticipated outcomes for learning assistance (Bastedo and Gumport, 2003; Gumport and Bastedo, 2001; Slaughter and Rhoades, 2004). Analysis of learn­ing assistance policy in Massachusetts and New York confirmed that mission differentiation led institutions to terminate academic programs, eliminate remedial or developmental courses, and promote honors colleges. The result is stratification of academic program opportunity in the state. Prestigious and high-demand academic programs were offered at fewer institutions than before. For students, stratification encouraged higher admissions standards at upper-tier institutions. As a result, students had fewer choices for postsec­ondary education (Bastedo and Gumport, 2003; Gumport and Bastedo, 2001; Slaughter and Rhoades, 2004).

Another result was curtailment of developmental courses at upper-tier institutions in the state system (Bastedo and Gumport, 2003; Gumport and Bastedo, 2001). Developmental courses are often a key ingredient in providing access and success for historically underrepresented students. Bastedo and Gumport (2003) concluded that more intense analysis is warranted before sys­temic changes occur to avoid or at least predict major changes in the stratifi­cation of students’ opportunity to attend postsecondary education and the student support systems needed for their success.

As more historically underrepresented students from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds seek admission, important learning assistance infrastructures are dismantled (Bastedo and Gumport, 2003). Mission differ­entiation assumes incorrectly that college aspirants are more academically pre­pared, and institutional leaders therefore conclude that developmental credit courses and other traditional learning assistance activities are not needed. Increasingly, public four-year institutions curtail or eliminate developmental courses with the expectation that students needing such instruction easily access them at a community college (Bastedo and Gumport, 2003; Gumport and Bastedo, 2001; Slaughter and Rhoades, 2004). This option requires a local community college. Most students do not have the financial resources or time to commute long distances for such classes. These students often are finan­cially disadvantaged and possess little free time. They cannot commute to mul­tiple institutions for courses while maintaining a job (or two) to pay for college and support a family. Based on a national dataset, students who attend mul­tiple institutions are less likely to graduate from college than those who begin at the intended degree-awarding institution (Adelman, 2006).

Mission differentiation raises a new set of questions and conflicts in post­secondary education (McPherson and Schapiro, 1999). Access to higher edu­cation shifts to access to what form of education and under what conditions. Differentiation among institutions increases stratification in society (Anderson, Daugherty, and Corrigan, 2005).

  • Bastedo, M. N., and Gumport, P. J. (2003). Access to what? Mission differentiation and aca­demic stratification in U.S. public higher education. Higher Education, 46(3), 341–359.
  • Gumport, P. J., and Bastedo, M. N. (2001). Academic stratification and endemic conflict: Remedial education policy at CUNY. Review of Higher Education, 24(4), 333–349.
  • Slaughter, S., and Rhoades, G. (2004). Academic capitalism and the new economy: Markets, state, and higher education. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Soliday, M. (2002). The politics of remediation: Institutional and student needs in higher educa­tion. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Economics Curtailing Access at Public Universities

The headline of this blog posting is no surprise. At Berkeley they are reducing access for economically-disadvantaged students (which require institutional financial aid) and replacing them with out-of-state or out-of-country students who pay full tuition plus for being out-of-state. The article reported the dramatic change that occurred within a single year.

On one hand we have the U.S. President and the Lumina Fundation (among others) calling for a dramatic rise in college graduation rates needed for workforce needs of society and better lives for the college graduates. On the other hand, the financial support for public institutions has dramatically shrunk with little hope for reversal. The institutions are caught inbetween. They are operating with a "zero sum" financial model. To survive, the institutions replace students with financial need with those that have wealth to infuse. How long until we admit the truth, access to higher education requires an investment. Students are willing to invest their lives. Can't we invest more money for their and our collective futures.

Compounding this issue is that more institutions do not have classroom capacity for the increasing number of students that want to attend college. Another building boom is needed to increase the physical capacity of current institutions and probably to add more campuses. Distance learning does not work for everyone as an effective pedagogy, and besides, not everyone has the technology at home nor the finances for high-speed cable. 

It is a good thing that more students want to attend college. We have a collective responsibility to support them, especially those that are historically-underrepresented and economically-disadvantaged.

July 15, 2010, 12:48 PM ET U.C. Berkeley and the Access Mission of Public Universities, By Richard Kahlenberg, Chronicle of Higher Education.

The latest news involving the University of California—“Berkeley Sees Admission of Latino Students Drop and Nonresidents Jump”—pits two groups, Hispanic students and non-Californians. But of course what’s really going on is a struggle over money, economic class and the question of how dedicated public universities will be to their special mission of promoting social mobility. U.C. Berkeley is cash starved, and one way to raise money is to bring in more wealthy out-of-state students, who pay $22,000 more in fees than resident students. Berkeley didn’t make its change slowly—it more than doubled the proportion of out-of-state students in the freshman class in a single year, from 11% to 23%. And it did so with the full awareness that minority students would suffer. The drop in Latino admissions was 12%. (The data published by the U.C. system addressed changes in racial and ethnic breakdown but not income.) Berkeley has a couple of arguments in its defense. Among top colleges, it has long shouldered more than its fair share on the economic diversity front. In 2007, according to an Education Trust report, 33.0 % of Berkeley students received Pell Grants. By comparison, other leading public universities had Pell grant rates that were substantially lower, including the University of Virginia (9.5%), the University of Michigan Ann Arbor (13.4%), and the University of North Carolina, Chapel-Hill (15.3%). Furthermore, Berkeley admits fewer out-of-state students than other leading institutions. Michigan and Virginia, for example routinely admit more than 30% of students from out of state. Some have noted that the big increase in non-Californian freshman may backfire politically, fueling parochial anger from state taxpayers and further reducing the public support for the U.C. system. But this debate goes beyond politics to fundamental questions about the special role of public universities in American society. As scholar Gary Berg notes in new book, Low-Income Students and the Perpetuation of Inequality: Higher Education in America, today most private universities “serve a higher percentage of students from low-income families” than do public universities, undermining the “special responsibility” of public institutions of higher education to promote access. Some will argue that in tough economic times, public universities have no choice but to make financial decisions that hurt low-income students. This sounds plausible, but what, then, is the excuse for the major decline of academically qualified low-income high school graduates at public and private four-year institutions in more financially flush years? According to a recent report of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, 54% of such students enrolled in four-year colleges in 1992, but by 2004, only 40% did. U.C. Berkeley has been long been the poster child for promoting both academic excellence and economic diversity—a worthy outlier, defending the particular mission of public universities. Its special status makes the recent retreat especially poignant.

Developing smartness: The lost mission of higher education

Headlines within the postsecondary press report morre frequently the "alarm" of students arriving at college that lack sufficient academic preparation and their subsequent need for enrollment in developmental-level courses. These are  not new concerns. Higher education officials have been voicing them since the first college oppened in America four hundred years ago. Why are we surprised? Students go to college to learn what they don't already know and to do things that are yet to have the skills for.

The change in the dialogue is now that more policy makers want to stratify access and opportunity in higher education. Admit only those students who are already smart and skilled and send the rest to the community college. Even community colleges are increasingly voicing frustration over the burden and some call for entry level standards and elimination of open door admissions. Before proceeding with that conversation, they should review Dr. Astin's article on this subject.

Astin, A. W. (1998). Remedial education and civic responsibility. National Crosstalk, 6(2), 12-13. Retrieved July 4, 2004, from: ctsummer98.pdf The author, director of the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, argues that remedial education is the most important problem in education today and providing instruction in this area would do more to alleviate more social and economic problems than any other activity. Astin discusses the history and stigma of remedial education and how higher education has become focused on "identifying smart students" rather than "developing smartness" in all its students. Astin argues that it is for the benefit of society that remedial education, affirmative action, and other programs be highly supported and valued.

It is easy for a college to take highly gifted students and help their reach even higher. It takes much more skill, commitment, and dedication to take students who have high desire, but have yet obtained a wide set of skills, experiences, and knowledge. But isn't that what the general public wants us to do? Identifying smart students and admitting them is easy. "Developing smartness" is much harder. And more satisfying.

A new paradigm for education: Focus on student learning

Barr, R. B., & Tagg, J. (1995). From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change Magazine, 27(6), 13-25. Retrieved July 4, 2004, from: This is one of the most often cited articles on this topic and is credited by some as helping to influence higher education significantly since it was published in a journal that is frequently read by college presidents and chief academic and student affair officers.