Whitney Tilson is not an educator. He has no degrees, experience, or training in education. He has no labor relations background. He is completely unqualified to discuss the topic in any meaningful way. Why, then, would CNN think he was a good guest for a segment about the Chicago teachers strike?
Both he and Christine Romans are an embarrassment here. For example:
- Romans's xenophobic worry about China's and India's alleged large numbers of engineers is totally misplaced. The US dominates the world in true engineering training; according to experts, the Chinese definition of an "engineer" is laughable.
- Romans is worried that SAT scores haven't budged since the '70's. Here's Daniel Luzer:
- Romans says national test scores have stagnated; she even put up the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) as proof. Here's Diane Ravitch, who actually served on the National Assessment Governing Board, the federal agency that supervises the NAEP:
- Tilson says we're spending twice as much money per pupil in real dollars than we did 40 years ago. Here's Bruce Baker, the country's foremost authority on education financing:
You know, when a guy like Tilson goes on the TV and tut-tuts at teachers unions, I have to wonder: how well does he do his job?In short, the “cost” of education rises as a function of at least 3 major factors:
- Changes in the incoming student populations over time
- Changes in the desired outcomes for those students, including more rigorous core content area goals or increased breadth of outcome goals
- Changes in the competitive wage of the desired quality of school personnelAnd the interaction of all three of these! For example, changing student populations making teaching more difficult (a working condition), meaning that a higher wage might be required to simply offset this change. Increasing the complexity of outcome goals might require a more skilled teaching workforce, requiring higher wages.The combination of these forces often leads to an increase in education spending that far outpaces the consumer price index, and it should. Cost rise as we ask more of our schools, as we ask them to produce a citizenry that can compete in the future rather than the past. Costs rise as the student population inputs to our public schooling system change over time. Increased poverty, language barriers and other factors make even the current outcomes more costly to achieve. And costs of maintaining the quality of the teacher workforce change as competitive wages in other occupations and industries change, which they have. [emphasis mine]
Me neither; I don't know anything about investing.
Of course, the biggest difference between me and Whitney - besides the money - is that I actually acknowledge my limitations...