Last week I found myself in Sun Valley, Idaho, at a conference with a lot of big wigs. Among them was Larry Summers—an economist, the Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton, and a former president of Harvard University. The timing was fortuitous.
Just finished listening. As a retired high school teacher, I'm interested in Dr. Summer's perspective, but I am always confused by it. He always tries to have it both ways and thinks that by splitting hairs, he's being somehow, 'honest.' But the short section in which he praises American higher education by saying it was the birthplace of things like mRNA vaccines, Moderna and Google (he did not mention Facebook...), it told me all I needed to know, I think. mRNA is a not-ready-for-prime-time technology that has harmed millions of people and done very little to save anyone. Moderna is a criminal backwater pharma co. that has done nothing positive other than copy mRNA technology (see last statement), and Google? Sure--we all use it. And Google uses us. Thanks, Dr. Summers. I think I get you now. You're free to move along and become irrelevant.
he's everywhere and nowhere at the same time. He's raised the art of the Non-answer to a high art.
At the very end, Summers says schools should not abandon the SAT and other tests. There should be more testing to allow students to show their academic excellence. Subjective admissions will lead to mediocre students. A lot of the rest of his answers were confusing or wrong but this was solid. Unfortunately, the aftermath of abolishing affirmative action in admissions may be more subjective criteria so that colleges can do covertly what they are now prohibited from doing directly, resulting in mediocrity.
Summers thinks Harvard’s admission policies should be ok violating title VI and therefore Equal Protection clause of 14th amendment when it comes to Asian-American applicants. Rationale: “fairness”Wow. I’m also really surprised by the superficial analysis he offers regarding the consequences of the decision.
I'm surprised that this interview hasn't generated more comments. Mr. Summers really sent me through the roof with the I have all these great ideas, but yeah I didn't do any of them when I was in charge because you know interest groups, challenges, yada yada. Does this guy even hear himself? Is he serious?
Bari I'm glad that you interviewed him. I wish you had pushed harder not on his new ideas, but more on why he didn't do more when he was in charge. That's the thing I just can't get over. It's like he doesn't want us to remember he was in charge.