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Consider This

I went to Amherst College – it is clearly one of the 20 best colleges in America (I have to say that of course). Its economics department gave birth to Joe Stiglitz and I faithfully studied Stiglitzian economics for three years as a student there. Upon completing that, I spent two years as an investment banker for a boutique M&A firm on Wall Street. I then spent five years obtaining a PhD in Economics from Cornell University.

So, that’s 8 years of formal training in economics, and many thousands of hours of informal training.

While at Cornell I taught my own course in Labor Economics for two years.

I spent two years as an Assistant Professor at Centre College (home of the Vice Presidential debates and also the college with the largest percentage of alumni that donate to their school – people love Centre College).

I then spent two years as a Senior Economist (i.e. a researcher/writer) at an Economic Research organization, where I also was responsible for running a summer economics education program.

I have been teaching undergraduates here at the U of Rochester for four full years and am in my fifth year.

Yet …

I am not allowed to teach economics in a public high school. In fact, much of the economics taught is done by Social Studies and History teachers. More than one of my students has told me that their version of economics was either a stock market trading game … or a series of Michael Moore videos and Naomi Klein books. I know the above sounds a bit like an argument from authority (I don’t like hearing people who say, “I have XX years of experience therefore I am …”) but I think the point here is worth making.

Have a nice day.

7 Responses to “Consider This”

  1. Harry says:

    To teach economics in high school you take pedagogy 103 through 452. You also take Econ 101, which resolves the apparent contradiction between destruction of capitalism and an insolvent public pension plan, using New Math.

  2. Brent says:

    My daughter, a senior with a standing of #5 in her class, is currently taking economics. Her current project is more akin to running a family budget rather than learning the intracacies of economics. In her project, she bought a new car because her income said she could afford it. I asked her if she bought local, then I laughed…

  3. Speedmaster says:

    I was lucky, my first econ class ever was as a senior in high school at McQ. The teacher was great, he started with the concept of scarcity. Trade-offs were everywhere. We also of course did a stock-market project, but considering it was high school the fundamentals were pretty sound. Of course my college undergrad classes were overtly Keynesian. In this world the Austrians didn’t even exist and Friedman was a lone crackpot. 😉

  4. Our AP Economics teacher, a nice guy, had zero formal training in economics, I therefore self studied taught myself about cost push and demand pull inflation (this is standard curricular material still!?!?!) and thought I knew something about economics. Thankfully, I had Steve Landsburg, who also does not have a degree in economics 🙂 teach me Intermediate Price Theory as my first experience in the subject. I was hooked ever since.

  5. Harry says:

    Many, beyond Economics 102 and Samuelson, have had little formal training in economics.

    In my mother’s era, they taught “civics” which included an appreciation of the US Constitution, but in those days they taught history, not “social studies.”

    They also, mirabile dictu, taught math. I have been through my uncle’s math books which illuminate Newton, though no better than my math teacher, a most gifted man.

    Wintercow often reminds me of Bulkington, a character from Mellville in a chapter called The Lee Shore battled the wind against the terrible forces that conspired to wreck us. His students love him.

  6. Harry says:

    Moreover, Amherst is an illustrious college. Wintercow may rank it in the top twenty along with Georgetown, but we all know that only about six hundred a year get into Amherst, about 597 is their first choice; Penn and Emory are their backup schools, along with Trinity.

    Centre College may beat them all as a free academic institution. As far as state colleges go, I would also vote for Mary Washington, my daughter’s alma mater.

  7. Harry says:

    To Wintercow’s point about government work rules and the guild problem, QED.

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