We’re excited to be a part of the Voice & Exit conference in Austin this weekend. Praxis Education Director T.K. Coleman is giving a keynote, and we’re co-hosting a session on alternative education with the Clayton Christensen Institute and others.
The name of this event comes from concepts described in the well known book, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, which describes two ways of responding when the status quo isn’t fully satisfactory. You can express your displeasure – voice – through public discussion, protest, reform efforts, and persuasion. Or you can simply opt-out and choose an alternative – exit.
I love the name of the event because it makes a subtle switch from an either/or to a both/and. Why not voice your desire for improvement and opt out? Why not criticize and create? The beauty is, by working around dominant institutions our exit is a form of voice. The vested players may not know why they are losing power, but they’ll know something needs to be improved when people flee to alternatives.
At Praxis we’re not pro-traditional higher education or anti-traditional higher education. We don’t love or hate college. We care about one thing only: our customers. We want you to discover what makes you come alive and do it. We want to provide a new option for entrepreneurial young people, in place of or in addition to whatever other experiences are valuable.
By providing one exit path from the status quo, we are also creating incentive for the status quo to improve. If fewer unhappy, restless people are sitting in college classrooms, the classroom experience improves for those who really want it. If college is no longer the only choice for career and life fulfillment, it has to do more to prove its worth to potential customers. This improves the status quo and thus the choice set facing young people.
If you’re not happy with your experience, make it better. Sometimes finding a new one is the best way!