Odds & Ends, A CEA Head Who Knows Edu…

Light posting lately, other work projects, apologies, or you’re welcome, depending on your perspective.

This article in Persuasion is excellent: to lead Americans must travel. I have been fortunate to travel a lot but if I have a regret from an education standpoint it’s not doing a study abroad when it was available. The article doesn’t convey the business case and model behind why foreign students come to the U.S. so much, but the general point is a solid one. Perhaps though, we should also encourage more domestic travel. This election further entrenched urban – rural divides in politics, we should seek to transcend them because this is a wildly diverse country end to end, traditionally that’s a strength here not a liability as we see elsewhere.

President-elect Biden announced more appointments. Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton economist, will head the White House Council of Economic Advisors. Rouse has done research on a few education issues, including school vouchers in the heyday of the academic voucher debate in the 1990s, and knows the ed issue, so that’s good news. Biden intends to nominate Neera Tanden to head OMB. It’s a controversial pick but over the years OMB has been led by both budget wonks and politically oriented leaders. Tanden fits in that latter mold and should be a fine OMB head, if confirmed. She ran the Center for American Progress for years so you can get a sense of her education views by looking at their work. Not a lot moved around there without her say so.

One thought on the nominations. Personnel always matters, but context and conditions matter more. The high wire charter schools, for instance, find themselves on is a reflection of a failure to change context and conditions. That’s especially odd given the support charters enjoy in general and among key parts of the Democratic coalition.