They like to talk about how important it is we bring MBA management techniques, business innovation, deregulation and of course competition to public education.
You see, collaboration is Communist and the old way of managing schools is so 19th century and what we need to do is bring some of that brash thinking and knack for innovation the boys in finance have brought to the financial markets and the banks.
It sounds great, of course, until you realize that the brash thinking and knack for innovation the boys in finance have brought to the financial markets and the banks also brought us the Tech Bubble, the Enron scandal, the Housing Bubble, the 2008 financial collapse, the bailouts, and crooks like Bernie Madoff.
I'm a public school educator, so I know I'm suspect when I make snide and probably Marxist remarks about the disasters the financial geniuses have caused in the past twenty years.
But what about when Paul Volker, former head of the Federal Reserve and the man widely credited with bringing the U.S. out of the 70's/80's stagflation mess, says it:
Speaking at the Wall Street Journal's Future of Finance Initiative yesterday, former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker looked to finance's recent past and saw little to like, noting that he has yet to see any evidence that financial market innovations have provided any benefit to the economy.
Apparently, Volcker thinks the industry reached a peak when it invented the ATM and, given what's happened over the last year or two, it's hard to disagree with that view.
Yeah, the list of innovations emanating from the financial industry that Volker likes has one item on it - the ATM machine.
All the other innovations he says not only did not provide any benefit to the economy, they "took us right to the brink of disaster."
If the best thinking of the MBA class and the financial industry types brought us the Tech Bubble, the Enron scandal, the Housing Bubble, the 2008 financial collapse, the bailouts, Bernie Madoff, and "right to the brink of disaster," maybe, just maybe, we want to take the innovations they offer for public education with a healthy shaker of salt too.