Is it Really the Educonomy, Stupid?

Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Education at Gallup, reprinted an article which originally appeared at Fast Company calling for more integration between our educational system and businesses. He even coined a new term for this integration in a paragraph riffing on the successful Carville inspired Clinton ’92 slogan: “It’s the Educonomy, Stupid”.

The positive motivation and syllogism supporting the article’s premise seems quite compelling:
Major Premise: To live a happy life, you need a good job
Minor Premise: Businesses know the education requirements for a good job
Conclusion: Businesses should be more active and integrated in our nation’s education


Before we apply the third-process of the human mind to judge the degree of truth in the above syllogism, we need some first-process gathering of facts on the purposes of education. I think Alfie Kohn, in his book “The Schools our Children Deserve”, did a good job of examining this, as indicated in the graphic on the right.

Broadly, education can serve either economic needs or humanistic needs. In each of those realms, those needs can be those of the public or those of the private individual acquiring the education. Clearly, different people and groups will have a different weighting of the goals, but we need to consider all four of these goals, not just the economically related ones, to have a more meaningful discussion of education.

Before our attention span expires, I do want to reference Dr. Martin Seligman’s pioneering research on the three major components of authentic happiness, 1. A Pleasant Life, 2. A Good Life, 3. A Meaningful Life of which financial success and its accompanying Pleasant Life is the least determinitive.

Getting back to the syllogism, a happy life does not require a good job, as defined by successful businessman, casting some doubt on our major premise above. Even if we were to fully accept that premise, there are other major goals of education which need to be considered. Even after all this, I think Mr. Busteed has some good ideas regarding the financial success component of education, but I don’t think that “Educonomy” is even close to the slam dunk he presented, unless I’m just “stupid”!