Should America’s CEOs Listen to Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan?

Politico reports that U.S. education secretary Arne Duncan will address the Business Roundtable today, calling on the nation’s CEOs to “step up and promote the Obama administration’s education agenda.” That agenda is essentially a doubling-down on the policies of the past 50 years—further increases in federal pre-K spending, further centralization of school standards and testing, etc.

Before agreeing to go along, America’s business leaders should ask themselves: who should be learning from whom? Over the past half-century, which record is more worthy of emulation: that of federal government K-12 policy or that of the free enterprise system?

As an aid to their deliberations, I offer the graphics below:

Versus what economist Mark J. Perry calls “The Magic and Miracle of the Marketplace.” The image on the left is from the 1964 Sears Christmas catalogue. The goods on the right show what you can buy today for the inflation-adjusted cost of one of those vintage TVs (images courtsey of Mark J. Perry).

Discuss.