Even #progressive media can’t report #education in helpful ways, @maddow

I listened to this segment on satellite radio the other night. Rachel Maddow was talking the President’s pre-K plan. Here’s more about it from the Maddow Blog. At this point, I can’t even discern who the guest was on the show, some dude. He was clearly an economist. He did some study on the benefits of Pre-K as a worthwhile “investment.” I don’t necessarily disagree with that point. But Maddow pressed him a couple of times on how or why certain Pre-K programs were of better “quality.” He just couldn’t answer her question. He kept talking about high quality programs and how they’re a better investment and all of that. He could not, however, get into any specifics. Why? Well, I said this in my car, as I quite frequently talk to my radio:

HE’S AN ECONOMIST, THAT’S WHY. Even on so-called progressive, lean-forward kind of media, we see education persistently discussed in economic terms. Sure, it takes money to pay for them. I get it. Yet, economics dominate the conversation. If we want to peel away at that onion and really get into a good dialogue about what makes certain kinds of education successful or not, then we have to ask the educators, not the economists.

How difficult is this to understand?


  1. I’d bet Maddow was talking to James Heckman of the University of Chicago. He claims an annual return of 7 to 10 percent for “high-quality” childhood education, due to “non-cognitive” skills gained. I have to believe those kids picked up general knowledge, too, that benefited them once they started school.

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