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Wanted: Uber-Ized Education

February 3, 2015 in Economics

By Jason Bedrick, Lindsey Burke

Jason Bedrick and Lindsey Burke

Following a recent education policy conference, we shared a ride back to the airport. Hailing the driver via the Uber app, we could see his name, face, and rating; we could track his approach on the app’s map, and we paid the fare automatically through the app at ride’s end. In other words, getting to the airport was about as convenient and easy as possible, this side of teleportation. And it cost half a standard taxi fare.

Yet, despite providing a better-quality experience at a lower cost, Uber has had to fight for its very existence. Even as we waited for our driver to arrive, the concierge made it evident that the hotel’s primary relationship was with taxi drivers, and that we should wait on our Uber over there.

This happens when you upset an entrenched monopoly. Across the country, taxi drivers are demanding that the government regulate or even ban Uber and similar ridesharing services. Some cities, like Los Angeles, have banned lower-cost ridesharing services from picking up passengers at the airport, a key source of income for the traditional taxi companies.

It’s time for state lawmakers to open education to the mix-and-match customizability of the Information Age.”

Curtailing Monopolies Means More Satisfaction at Less Cost

That’s unfortunate not only for ride-seekers, but also for drivers. A recent Washington Post report  suggested some reasons for Uber’s growth. Compared to traditional taxi drivers, Uber drivers earn more (up to $30 per hour in New York). They also set their own hours and aren’t subject to the whims of dispatchers. The same technology that let us track our driver’s progress toward pick-up allows Uber chauffeurs to find their customers more efficiently.

The two can even rate one another. The Uber app allows a rider to rate the driver’s service, and importantly, drivers even leave star ratings of their passengers, who are not wont to let a rating drop, for fear it will make their next pick-up request difficult.

Innovation has enabled Uber to create a better experience for both consumer and provider. And nowhere is that kind of innovation more desperately needed than in our K-12 education system. An Uber-ization of education—something that is already beginning to happen—will improve service for students and teachers. Take the example of teacher-led schools.

To Improve, Set People Free to Experiment

In a January 16 Washington Post column, David Osborne wrote that some 70 schools across the country are now “teacher-led” schools. Teachers evaluate one another (and parents and students, in turn, evaluate teachers). Teacher-led committees …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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