I’ve written a fair amount about the damage some economists have wrought on schools (see The Best Posts & Articles About The Role Of Economists In Education).
Five Thirty Eight just wrote a post finding that out of 308 new economists graduating from the “top” fifteen economics schools, only two are planning to study education. That’s the least amount out of any other field. I’ve embedded the chart below.
It seems to me that can only be good news for us teachers, our students, and their families.
What do you think?
Larry – I must admit that your post made me wince. I am a unique animal in the teaching world – a former economist that after twenty years working in that field, did a big midlife switch and got a second masters and started teaching third grade. I love both proffessions and after teaching ten years I have come to the conclusion that what is needed is not fewer economists studying education but more economists.
Right now my read is that we have a few economists who are supported by corporate types with money to spend, looking at issues that the corporate types want to look at. But the field of education is ripe with ideas for economists to sink their teeth into; non-Erik Hanashuck types of economists who are not on the corporate dole. My old economist tentacles start twitching when I think of analyzing the economic history of the teaching profession, and other issues surrounding how teacher pay and tenure are structured.
My own economist brain/heart is not a fan of unions or tenure, but I now see the economic reasons for these education structures and a multi sided economic analysis of these issues would add so much to the current debates around the profession. Also, the whole issue of “choice” is ripe for a different economists view. Economists (who aren’t being paid to ignore some basic tenants of the profession) know that market place choices only result in efficiency when consumers have “perfect knowledge” there is a history of economists studying the reality of market structures and showing where and when “choice” fails because other assumptions are not upheld.
The problem is too few economists studying education – leaving the reformy bunch as the only ones pontificating positions that support their agenda. I often wonder why I do not see some more balanced economic analysis of recent education issues and my only guess is that it is not a “sexy” economic topic unless you are being funded by big money…..perhaps with all the news lately education will be seen as getting sexier????? Perhaps more Carmen Diaz teacher movies…..????
PS Sorry it took a while to respond, I was waiting to recover from the semester.
Thanks for your thoughtful “take” on the issue. It certainly raised points that had never occurred to me.