Elon Musk plans to launch a STEM-focused primary and secondary school in Texas before debuting a glittering university “dedicated to education at the highest levels.” Public criticism of the current education system inspired the projects which will build the schools in Austin with a $100 million donation from the billionaire’s charity called The Foundation, according to tax filings first reported by Bloomberg.
The charity, called The Foundation, plans to use a $100 million gift from Musk to create and launch a primary and secondary school in Austin focused on teaching science, technology, engineering and math. Once it is fully operational, the filing states, the school will focus on creating a university. The school intends to seek accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, a necessary first step to launch the school.
According to the filing, the university would teach students in person “as well as using distance education technologies.” It expects to start enrollment with 50 students and scale up over time. The school would fund its activities through donations and tuition fees, though the filing also states that if a student cannot pay tuition or fees, the school could provide financial aid. It is currently hiring an executive director, teachers and administrators, the filing states.
Musk’s plan to start a new university in Austin — already home to the flagship University of Texas at Austin and multiple other private universities — comes just as another new private school in the city plans to officially open to students in fall 2024.
The University of Austin was launched two years ago by a group of higher education critics in response to their belief that U.S. college campuses were no longer a place where students and faculty can openly exchange ideas.
In a conversation with The Texas Tribune on Wednesday, University of Austin President Pano Kanelos said he hopes the school can be a champion for free speech and open inquiry.
“We’re just living in a moment where things seem to be coming apart, where people seem to be pulled away from each other, where institutions seem to be shaking in their foundations,” Kanelos said. “The best response is to build new things.”
Source: Elon Musk STEM School