Faith & Co. | Christian Work (Steve Bell)


(gentle music) – We were raised in
this dualistic theology that the highest and best
calling for any believer was to go into full-time
Christian service. If you really wanted to serve God, you became a missionary
or a pastor or a teacher, did something in full-time
Christian service. And I never felt called to that, and my parents were
actually quite disappointed because they thought of all of my siblings that I would be the preacher. But I felt called into business. I love the idea of being in business. (gentle music)

Office of Minority Health & Health Equity: Creating a world where health equity is a reality for all


The FDA Office of
Minority Health and Health Equity is
dedicated to reducing health disparities and
protecting the health of diverse communities. Our communications and
research programs work across the Agency and
with a variety of stakeholders to raise
awareness about important topics such as clinical
trial diversity, health literacy, and health
disparities research. Our goal is to strengthen
FDA’s ability to respond to minority health
concerns and meet the needs of the diverse
populations we serve. We encourage you to visit
our website where you can find multilingual health
education materials and information about the
various research projects we support. You can also stay
connected to the Office of Minority Health and
Health Equity by signing up for our newsletter and
by following us on Twitter. Together, we can create a
world where health equity is a reality for all. For more information,
contact the office directly on the web at
www.fda.gov/HealthEquity

Faith & Co. | Work Forms Us (Dan Kaskubar)


(uplifting music) – We are in the business of helping people discover
their God-given gifts and potential through the dignity of work. We really feel like work is formational. Work is something that helps people understand more about themselves and more about the
world that they live in. Work is also a way for
everybody to contribute to the greater good and to the needs of their community. You can see, in people’s eyes, when they come and they meet with us, and they’re discouraged about, either the type of work
that they’re doing, or the fact that they’re
only doing part-time work and they want full-time work. Or the fact that they feel trapped. We have heard people say that they are treated like
commodities in their jobs. That their supervisors tell them that they’re not important
and that they’re replaceable. We hear people, basically with a whole bunch of stories about what its meant for them to work, where it’s clear, there’s
a big hole in their lives, and really, in their hearts about what work can be for them. And instead of it being
a dignifying experience, it’s exactly the opposite. It’s like, if you have someone who’s not living into their potential, that’s a tremendous opportunity, not just for them but for all of society, to receive more from that person. Productivity is a function of technology, labor, and capital, right? And we talk all the time, in society, about technology and about capital. I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to talk more about labor and not just in a way of, of like formal education, but really in terms of potential and what can really happen when people who have more to offer are seen by their employers. That they can offer more. And that’s the kind of
aspirational approach that we wanna take to
our work at Activate. (uplifting music)

To Market To Market | Nursery Rhymes & Kids Songs by Little Treehouse


To market, to market to buy a white car; Drive around, Drive around, jiggety-jig. To market, to market, to buy a white dog; Walk around walk around jiggety-jig. To market, to market, find a big clock; Home again, home again, open that lock. To market, to market to buy a black car; Drive around, Drive around,jiggety-jig. To market, to market, to buy a black dog; Walk around walk around jiggety-jig. To market, to market, find a big clock; Home again, home again, open that lock.

Stock Market and Political Predictions for 2020 (w/ Jason Trennert & Vincent Catalano)


VINCENT CATALANO: Jason, welcome to Real Vision. JASON TRENNERT: Thank you for having me. VINCENT CATALANO: Tell us a little bit about
Strategas, besides the fact of the name, and get into the definition that came from it,
Strategas is what? JASON TRENNERT: Yeah, so Strategas. We’re a research firm that focuses on macro-economic
research, economics, policy, technical analysis, fixed income strategy, and it’s also a broker
dealer. In addition to research analysts, we also
have sales traders, and institutional salesman. Basically what we do is we write reports on
these big picture things. We publish them and then we travel around
the country and the world to tell institutional investors what we’re thinking. VINCENT CATALANO: That’s fantastic. You are, your role is? JASON TRENNERT: I’m the chairman of the company
and also the chief investment strategist. I mainly focused on the equity markets, but
try to also pull everything together. VINCENT CATALANO: One of the founders? JASON TRENNERT: One of the founders, that’s
right. I started in 2006. I had worked at Heiman for about 15 years
at a place called ISI Group from ’91 to 2006. Then my partners Nick Bohnsack, and Don Rissmiller,
they joined me and we started Strategas in 2006. VINCENT CATALANO: That’s fabulous. Want to start off talking about the markets,
overall, the equity markets. One of the things that stood out to me and
key reason to discuss with you today is earlier in this year on CNBC, one of the hosts there
was pressing you and Rich Bernstein. Where’s the market going to go? What’s the price going to be at? Where are we going to end up? That thing and Rich deferred, demurred. You said, “All right, I’ll give you a–“,
and you gave a number. The number was, I think for the S&P, which
was at the time around 2600 or something like that, you said in the neighborhood of like,
3000. In fact, you gave a specific number, 3005. JASON TRENNERT: Yeah. Oh, wow. That implies a certain expertise I don’t have
but at least I was bullish, at least that was on the right direction. VINCENT CATALANO: No, right direction. Yeah, definitely on the amplitude of the low
was pretty close to it. Here we are coming to the end of 2019, where
do you see the equity markets today? Valuation was tough before and more so now. JASON TRENNERT: The hard part now is the market
is not cheap by any normal standard. I don’t also think it’s particularly expensive
given where interest rates and inflation are. We’re using, just to use round numbers, about
$175 for S&P 500 operating earnings. If you put an 18 multiple on that, which I
think is fair, given where again 10-year Treasury yields and inflation is, it would tell you
the market right now is fully valued, but not overvalued. VINCENT CATALANO: Not Cape like overvalued. JASON TRENNERT: Not Cape like overvalued. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of Cape, frankly,
especially with interest rates this low to begin with. We were talking this morning in our– we have
morning meeting every morning at 7:30 where we all get together and we discuss the market’s
direction and what’s happening. Our view is largely that if we’re going to
be wrong on the market, it’s likely that the market’s going to continue to strengthen more
than people think that markets rarely stop at fair value. They tend to get overvalued before bull markets
end, and even though– again, it’s pretty fully valued right now, with the Fed on hold
for most of next year, it’s certainly hard to be short, it would be my view. VINCENT CATALANO: Earning’s looking pretty
good going into next year, at least the next 12 months. In any event, interest rates being low. That suggests to me that you guys use something
along the lines of a discounted cash flow model for value. JASON TRENNERT: Yeah, we do the earnings on
a bottom up basis, really from a sector level so that not bottom up all 500 S&P 500 companies,
but we do it sector by sector and we build it up from there and come up with an earnings
estimate for the year. Then we use a variety of econometric models
to forecast the multiple. Frankly, right now, the models spit out what
I would say was almost socially unacceptable numbers of 20 or 21, or 22 times earnings
just because you have secularly low interest rates and inflation. Probably we don’t want to bite on that too
much because generally speaking, it’s hard to get a multiple more than 19 or 20 on a
sustainable basis but by the same token, 18, or 19, is perfectly reasonable. Again, we’d rather be a little cautious and
be wrong by market moving up the other way as opposed to being too galosh and have the
market call the wrong way. VINCENT CATALANO: At an 18 multiple, that
sounds a little bit like the rule of 20. JASON TRENNERT: Yeah, that’s a fair– the
rule of 20 was created by my old boss, Jim Maltz and he had found over time, over a long
period of time, that if you added up the multiple of the S&P 500 and inflation, that on average,
the sum of those two items equal 20, over long periods of time. We have very sophisticated models that look
at all sorts of things. Then we have the rule of 20, and I’d have
to say that the rule 20 is just as good as some of the very sophisticated econometric
models. They’re largely getting at the same thing,
which is largely the idea that when you’re discounted cash flows by lower interest rates,
the net present value is quite a bit higher. That’s largely what it’s getting to. VINCENT CATALANO: Now, you referenced the
Fed and low interest rates and all, where do you see rates going into the next year,
which is a big factor all the way around economically in the financial market? JASON TRENNERT: Yeah. Well, short rates in my view are going to
stay in the current range. The Fed just met last week, second week of
December. You’re going to between 1.50 and 1.75, the
Fed has made it pretty clear, too, they’re not going to change until inflation is above
2 and looks like it’s going to stay above 2%. Right now, with inflation about 1.50, little
more than 1.50, that doesn’t seem to be likely anytime soon. I think the Fed is done for next year. Long rates, on the other hand, though, I think
should start to drift higher. Frankly, I think it’s a good thing if they’re
drifting higher because it’s a reflection of real GDP growth, as opposed to inflation. It’s hard to forecast inflation right now,
in my opinion. Our expectation is that a stronger global
economy next year will allow interest rates to move higher, and that actually winds up
being good for S&P 500 operating earnings because a steeper yield curve tends to be
good for financials. VINCENT CATALANO: That yield curve being more
positively sloped is a reflection of an economy, US and worldwide, that’s in better shape? JASON TRENNERT: That’s in better shape. Again, you have decent growth with low inflation. It’s really a Goldilocks type scenario. I think, again, next year is an election year,
too, as if we can’t forget, but the Fed probably doesn’t want to be too involved, wants to
be less involved than it has been over the last few years, probably doesn’t want to get
the president involved. They don’t need to. Again, they’re in a position now where inflation
is so tamed that I don’t think they have to worry too much about inflation getting away
from them, running away from them, and they can take their time with the next move. VINCENT CATALANO: Tell us about the political
scene because you guys covered that as well. Dan Clifton. JASON TRENNERT: Yep. Daniel Clifton. VINCENT CATALANO: Down there in Washington
and what’s your firm’s perspective on that? Implications economically and implications
for the market? JASON TRENNERT: Yeah, we’ve been in– and
I was saying before, we’ve had plenty of bad calls, but one of the good calls we’ve had
was on this idea of populism being something that can last. We were pretty early on in taking Donald Trump
seriously as a presidential candidate, pretty early on taking Brexit seriously as a potential
outcome. We’re still very much of the view that populism
is an enduring political theme. One thing I feel strongly about is that whoever
next president is, it will be a populist. The question is, is it the right of center
populace that’s in the presidency now, or is it a left of center populist, like a Bernie
Sanders or Elizabeth Warren? I think the days of– for the time being,
the days of having an establishment candidate are probably pretty unlikely, in my opinion,
and I think that it’s largely reflective of concerns that everyday people have that are
not largely and they have not really been met by the orthodoxy of the bigger parties. VINCENT CATALANO: That argues against someone
like a Joe Biden. JASON TRENNERT: Like a Joe Biden, in my opinion,
he may very well win the nomination but I think if he ran against Donald Trump, he might
have a decent chance of beating him but I think Donald Trump would win. Listen, incumbents have a hard time losing
anyway. Incumbents particularly have a hard time losing
when the economy is as strong as it is now. Now, there’s 10 months in– VINCENT CATALANO:
In any number of events. JASON TRENNERT: 10 months is an eternity,
especially these days in a 24-hour news cycle. Our best guess is that the status quo will
prevail, which is to say that Donald Trump will be reelected, that the Democrats will
keep hold of the house and the Republicans will keep control of the Senate. In our opinion, that’s the most likely outcome. By the same token, it’s pretty a 50/50 country,
and anything could happen but economy, in my opinion, will be the single most important
factor in terms of who gets elected next. VINCENT CATALANO: It’d be interesting to see
what the consequences of that would be worldwide. JASON TRENNERT: Donald Trump being reelected? VINCENT CATALANO: That’s correct. In other words, 2016 wasn’t an aberration,
it is what is. JASON TRENNERT: Yeah. My opinion, Brexit, what’s happening in Italy,
what’s happening in a lot of the regional elections in Europe I think give you a pretty
strong indication that 2016 wasn’t an aberration, that there are a lot of secular pieties on
both the left and the right that have been followed by the establishment candidates,
by establishment parties, that average people are saying this just doesn’t work for us. You could go through whether it’s free trade
with a country that’s not really interested in free trade, like China or open borders
or formal Care Act or wars, endless wars and all these sorts of things average people were
starting to question and they want something different. VINCENT CATALANO: Do you think that the, in
the US, the Democrats basically with their embrace of let’s call it the coastal elites,
so to speak, and in particular, Wall Street and Silicon Valley, do you think that that
is a dynamic that’s there that the democrats are missing? JASON TRENNERT: That’s my opinion. I grew up in– both my parents were Democrats
and I was a Democrat for a while, but it was very different party at that point, it was
largely for working men, working women. It was largely anti-communist, if you had
a strong religious faith, you didn’t feel that you were necessarily excluded. The party has changed a lot now and we could
debate those things, but I could say there’s a lot of people who have those opinions now
that might not feel that at home in the Democratic Party, and I think that’s one of the issues. I think that’s part of the why Donald Trump
won, he recognized that and recognized that there are certain longing for something. That’s why I think Joe Biden would probably
have the best chance of beating Donald Trump because I think he has that every man type
of feel. I think he would have a better shot at winning
than either Sanders or Warren. VINCENT CATALANO: How do you blend longer
term trends and themes with shorter term business cycle related issues? How do you mesh the two together? Because I get a sense that you do that you
do look at both. How do you develop that into an investment
methodology? JASON TRENNERT: Yeah. Well, that’s a great question. Because it is a constant struggle, and it’s
mainly because our clients are professional investors so to be frank, the main thing we’re
trying to get first is the next six to 12 months, just trying to make sure our clients
stay employed. Then in turn, keep us employed, because one
of the hard parts about the investment business, particularly when it comes to stocks and stocks
are the longest duration assets you can get really, maybe aside from real estate. Yet most people who manage stocks are managed
at best, or evaluated on a once a year basis. Then some hedge funds are evaluated on a monthly
basis. It’s an almost impossible task for the professional
investor today, in my opinion, that they again have our trading at very long duration assets
and yet, they’re held of this very short term standard. We try to give the longer term themes and
we publish separate reports on the longer term themes once every quarter, where we try
to give people say these are big, long term things to think about whether it might be
populism or whether it might be the convergence between the public and private equity markets
or very, very long term ideas. We publish those on a quarterly basis to make
sure people know what we’re thinking about those things but we also publish every day
about what’s happening every day and what we think is the most likely outcome on a shorter
to intermediate timeframe. VINCENT CATALANO: See, I think that that’s
one of the great value propositions of Strategas, is the fact that you do reconcile the long
term framework, so to speak, with the short term practical elements of it. What you said before about professional investors
that they’re judged on a shorter term basis, they’re in long duration assets, for the most
part, judged on a short term basis in many cases. Which is a difficult balancing act to do and
the thing I’ve always been struck by is that Strategas, my sense is that you guys have
your ear to that ground better than pretty much anybody. JASON TRENNERT: Well, that’s a very nice thing
to say. It’s actually, in my opinion, is one of the
great compliments you could give our firm. I think if we do that well, it’s largely because
we– for better or worse, we travel all the time meaning I’d say for worse because I have
to go through TSA or the airport. For better, once you get to wherever you’re
going– which I travel 70, 75 days a year and will be in everywhere from- – being everywhere
from Des Moines to London to Singapore and balance. My partners travel more than I do if you can
believe it, they’re a little younger than I am. The bad thing about that is time away from
your family and it’s not easy physically. The good thing though is that you meet a lot
of different types of investors and not just hedge funds here in New York. You also meet mutual fund managers in Boston
and state pension plans and the middle part of the country and then you might deal with
a big bank in Europe or big public pension plan in Australia, those types of things. You have a good idea of where people are positioned
and how people are thinking and it keeps your mind fresh too, because you’re not just talking
to each other, which is one of the biggest, let’s say one of the biggest risk in the investment
businesses, you just spent a lot of time talking to other people that have the same idea as
you do, or the same similar backgrounds or similar circumstances. VINCENT CATALANO: How do you factor that into,
or do you not factor that into your estimates of where the financial markets will be? That dynamic of what they’re thinking etc. JASON TRENNERT: Yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s
not, certainly not. There’s no mathematical way we do it, but
we do meet every day as a firm. We have a morning meeting, as I said, at 7:30
every morning and we share all the time what we’re hearing from the road, and the questions
that were being asked by investors and that the questions that were being asked by professional
investors inform a lot of our written work because again, if you spend a couple of days
on the road, let’s say in Texas, you’ll find that you’ll get the same two or three questions
in almost every meeting or something that’s on people’s minds. That will be the basis for the next report,
we say we should look into– we might not know the answer, well, likely not know the
answer. Then we’ll do the research and we’ll say this
is actually what happens. This is how long it takes between the first
Fed easing and the next Fed tightening on average, how long does that take? A lot of things along those lines, what happens
when the dollar strengthens or when the dollar weakens as it relates to earnings or sector
weightings or things along those lines? VINCENT CATALANO: That then gets fed back
into the decision process? JASON TRENNERT: Exactly. VINCENT CATALANO: What happens if you had
a view, a consensus view, let’s call it out there, of professional investors, some of
which may carry more weight than others in your mind in terms of their insights and their
views? If that is in conflict, let’s say, with the
fundamental valuation work that you’ve done with maybe the technical market intelligence
that’s there, what happens with that? Does that tilt, you say, oh, well, we believe
this but this element here is a dynamic? JASON TRENNERT: Well, I have to say as always,
as a basis for all the things we do I have to say is, it’s long enough to know that you
have to be humble in this business because it’s a very humbling business. We’re never– I would say the style of the
firm is decidedly never to pound the table on anything. We are always thinking about ways when we
put on any new call. Before we put it on, we think about how we
might be wrong and what would cause us to change our mind before the trade is put on
or before the idea is established because it becomes important because you want to be
able to recognize when you’re wrong quickly as opposed to just trying to paper over it
or make other excuses for it. Our clients, mercifully, our clients give
us a lot of benefit for showing our work. Like as long as it’s well thought out and
well-reasoned, our clients cut us wide slack when we’re wrong. Again, we try to have this discipline of when
we are wrong, admitting it quickly and moving on and getting onto something where we might
have an edge. VINCENT CATALANO: That comment reminds me
of something that Byron Wien of Morgan Stanley, one said at a CFA market forecast event that
I did, when he was asked the question why are we doing this forecast for the year ahead? He said, it’s not the specific forecast for
the number, it’s the process that you put into it in understanding. That sounds like what you just said. JASON TRENNERT: I think that’s right. I think Wall Street or in the investment business,
it can be sometimes when people are not involved in the business, it can seem rather dry or
very uncreative. Yet I think the investment business in many
ways is more and more intellectually stimulating businesses there can be because virtually,
everything can have an investment implications. It can be very creative business in its own
way. If you’re a news junkie like I am, you spend
a lot of time learning about all sorts of different things, not just political events,
but scientific events or social movements, all of those things can go into higher thinking. It’s important. I view it that way, something where you’re
constantly learning and trying to test your thesis and all the rest. VINCENT CATALANO: Social Science with money. JASON TRENNERT: Yeah. I think the problems– it is a social science,
and the problems in the financial markets come when people try to make it a hard science
I find. That’s when people like long term capital
trying to make it a hard science, people that packaged mortgage backed securities and credit
default swaps, they try to make it a hard science like you put a little bit of a beaker
A and a beaker B and it equals beaker C, all the time. The thing is when you’re dealing with human
beings, it doesn’t work that way. That’s one of the things I have to say worries
me a little bit about this Fed. I feel more confident in the past Fed, Bernanke
Fed and the Yellen Fed, like I worry quite a bit that they viewed their role as really
almost as chemists, or hard scientists, where, if you do enough of one thing, it will always
turn out the way you expect it and it just doesn’t. When you’re dealing with human beings, of
course, it doesn’t work that way. VINCENT CATALANO: I want to get to a couple
of actionable items and areas that your friend was looking at. Before we do, I’d like to get your views on
private equity. Quite a bit of money is going in that direction. Institutional investors are shifting money
more so than at any point in the past into private equity. First, what’s your view in general of private
equity as an investment vehicle alternative? Then secondly, I’d like to get your thoughts
on what you think the motivating factor might be for institutional investors going into
private equity that might include the whole issue of required rates of return, and not
being able to hit it when you have interest rates at 2% and 3% and you got mark to market
with that, and then you have private equity that’s [indiscernible] your thoughts on private
equity. JASON TRENNERT: Well, I have to say in terms
of just being frank about it, we have no private equity clients. Consider the source. All of my clients are public equity or public
market clients. I want to be fair, or just tell you where
my biases might lie, but I’m very skeptical about private equity, the future returns of
private equity being anything like what they were in the past. David Swensen really put private equity on
the map in terms of an institutional asset class. What he discovered was that there was a discount
for illiquid private companies, or that there was a liquidity premium for publicly traded
companies. He said, I can buy these assets, and I can
buy them in the private markets at a discount and eventually, they’ll either be public and
so on, I’ll make a lot of money. That made a lot of sense. He made a lot of money doing it, but of course,
he was the first person to do it. Now, you’re 25 years removed from when David
Swensen really started doing that and there are now 7000 private equity funds that have
about $3 trillion in assets. In my opinion you’re running out of– and
valuations, in my opinion, are not cheap anymore. I would argue that there’s actually an illiquidity
premium now over the public markets. Part of this and this gets into your second
question, which is why are people throwing so much money there? Frankly I think people are chasing performance
and I would also say that there’s an opacity of the private markets that is very appealing
if you don’t want to be embarrassed or fired. Not to be overly cynical about it, but your
average public pension plan has an investment return assumption of 7.50%. Very hard to do that when 10-year Treasury
yields are below 2% and the long term average returns of public equities are 7, pretty hard
to get to 7.50. The only way you can really get that is through
leverage. That’s what private equity provides. It also though, it provides the best leverage
because it moves much more slowly, the marks move much more slowly and so you’re more unlikely
to be embarrassed again or fired by having very outsized allocations to private equity. VINCENT CATALANO: That aspect that, you brought
this up several time now, that aspect is I think really underappreciated by many investors. That dynamic of the potential of career suicide,
of getting fired, it’s almost as though– okay, I’ve refrained from saying this or making
this connection but it’s just such a fun thing I think to do, CFA equal CYA. JASON TRENNERT: Yeah. Well, listen, I think all of us and no matter
what line of work we’re in, job number one is keeping your job. I think that we’re just human beings. We’re all part of the same hypocrisies. You have to just recognize that and try to
use it to your advantage and it doesn’t mean that people were all– no, it doesn’t mean
you’re bad people or– VINCENT CATALANO: No nefarious reasons. JASON TRENNERT: There’s no nefarious reasons
but there is a reality of the institutional investment business which, again, is as career
as a central part of it. Just like anyone else in any other profession
has the same tensions, that this just happens to be with other people’s money that tells
they’re different. VINCENT CATALANO: That’s a great, great point. Last item, actionable ideas. Sector coping style investing, asset allocation. Give us some thoughts on Strategas as you
where I might want to be for 2020. We had Rich Bernstein on the program here
a couple of months ago and late cycle investing was his thing that he was emphasizing, your
thoughts on where we’re at and where we ought to be as investors? JASON TRENNERT: Yeah, I would say in that
regard, we have a little bit of a different view than Rich and that I’m not convinced
where his late cycle as it might seem, I know the business expansion is 10 years old. It might seem late, but I also think that
the real Fed Funds Rate is zero. Usually what ends recoveries is the Fed killing
it. Inflation rises where the Fed killing it and
here because of financial repression, you’re pretty far away from that. What we’re telling our clients to do is to
get more cyclical. We’ve told them to really get more, we told
them to buy financials, we’re overweight four sectors, financials, industrials, technology
and telecom. We’re of the view that actually next year,
the global economy will pick up. That’s largely because a lot of the trade
tensions will largely be behind us, at least as far as it relates to business confidence. In my opinion, the trade war, in some ways,
it’s sterilized some of the benefits of the tax cut that you got at the end of 2017. That was good for capital spending for a year
but then it faded because businesses got scared because of trade. If trade is behind us, there is a chance that
business confidence picks up, capital spending picks up and also global economic activity
picks up and that should be good for those sectors. VINCENT CATALANO: Anything in terms of the–
any thoughts in terms of the global markets, emerging markets, frontier, Europe? JASON TRENNERT: Europe in my opinion is probably
as a trade, as more of a trade or a tactical approach let’s say for a year, six months
to a year as opposed to secular, I like you’re up quite a bit because in some ways, I tend
to think it almost got hurt the most between the tensions between China and the US just
because it’s so trade oriented, it’s so geared towards trade, it should benefit the most
if global growth starts to pick up. The question will be longer term, whether
Europe makes the structural changes it needs to pave the way for long lasting growth, but
for next year, at least in my opinion, Europe looks quite good. VINCENT CATALANO: That’s terrific. Thanks so much, Jason. JASON TRENNERT: Thank you. I appreciate it. VINCENT CATALANO: All the best in the year
ahead. JASON TRENNERT: Thank you. Thanks a lot. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Work for Indian Prairie School District


[MUSIC] TERENCE: If you are coming to 204 be ready to be a lifelong learner, be ready to build relationships, and be really ready to grow with the world the District will grow right with it. KAREN: Indian Prairie District 204 is a large unit district that encompasses students from the cities of Naperville and Aurora, primarily, but also small sections of Bolingbrook and Plainfield. We serve about 28,500 students across 33 schools. We have just over 3,000 employees with just over 2,000 of them being licensed teachers We’re an incredibly diverse community so we certainly reflect the world when our students leave that they’re going to work and live and play in and that diversity is something that we really celebrate here in the district. NINETTE: The community in 204 is diverse. We have families from all different backgrounds, speak so many different languages, there’s so many opportunities for us to learn from one another. TERENCE: We students from all socio-economic backgrounds, different ethnicities and they are going to get a top-notch education when they come to 204. No matter where you come from, you are going to get the best education because the teachers are prepared and are always doing professional development to make sure that we are at our best. KAREn: Great teachers are lifelong learners and this is a place that I think demands that you be a lifelong learner. Our expectations are that our teachers are part of very vibrant professional learning communities that they direct and that we do our best as a district to try to support them in that. NINETTE: Wednesday we have professional development in different areas from technology, to behavior management, to curriculum. And then in the district level we have professional development through the IPSD Academy and we are able to choose areas that we think that we need strength in. KAREN: We’ve done a lot of work in the area of using technology in this district to enhance teachers pedagogy and their practices. We don’t think technology is the solution, but we see it as an accelerator of learning that teachers can use in their classroom practices that can assist our students as they go out into a world is demanding different skills. NINETTE: What sets 204 apart from other districts is our desire to be innovative. We realize that technology is something that’s constantly changing and in order for us to prepare our students to be future ready we make sure that we are in touch with what’s going on and we figure out how to incorporate that into our teaching and across subject areas. KATIE: They really benefited from having that Chromebook in front of them I think it helped them with their organization, they always knew what their assignments are, what their homework was each night, they knew when their upcoming assessment were. It also helps them understand the content a lot better. KAREN: District 204 is great place to work for many reasons. One of which, we’re in an incredibly supportive community that really values education and is the first to step up and say “How can we help the school” and you don’t have that everywhere. It’s a really great position to be in when you have such great community support for education. And then I think the culture and the environment here in which you know we’re continually striving to be better, to learn to support our teachers in their development. We want to provide the absolute best possible education for our students. And in that next year with that next group we want to be even better. TERENCE: Be ready to be transformed. Here at 204, we’re big about being professional, building relationship with students building relationships staff, and we’re really big about having lifelong learners and being ready for the future.

Men without work — interview with Aparna Mathur and Nicholas Eberstadt | VIEWPOINT


Nick: In think tank land and academia and
policy research world always love to talk about lessons learned. We probably should talk a little bit more
about lessons forgotten. Aparna: Thank you, Nick, for being here. You hold the Henry Wendt Chair in Political
Economy at the American Enterprise Institute. And thank you for doing the chapter for “The
American Family Diaries” volume. You start off the chapter by saying modern
America is beset by a crisis of male nonwork. That is, these are people who are not just
unemployed, they’re actively not looking for work. And they have dropped out of the labor force. Could you talk a little bit about your interest
in that and why you wrote about this? Nick: I started writing about the problem
of men without work back in 2016 when I sort of stumbled across it. I mean, I’m not a labor economist, nor have
I ever been a labor economist, but I saw this big problem in the U.S. labor market. Our unemployment statistics measure the total
number of people who do not have work and are looking for work. But there is now a much larger phenomenon,
the number of people who are neither working nor looking for work, especially in arguably
prime working ages like the 25 to 54 group. And if we look at the most recent monthly
job report from the BLS at the time that we’re talking together, the work rate, the employment
to population ratio for civilian, non-institutional American men, 25 to 54, is almost as high
as it was in 1939. It’s almost up to that. Which is to say we still have a depression
scale problem of nonwork for U.S. men as of 2019, 2020. Aparna: That’s interesting and sort of appalling. Nick: Sort of appalling. Aparna: I mean, what is going on? So you sort of say, “Well, there are a few
blind spots in the U.S. statistical system. We don’t capture a lot of data that we need
to understand this phenomena.” And this has sort of given rise to this idea
that maybe there isn’t work available for these, you know, 7.1 million men that you
identify. But we know, and as you point out correctly
in the chapter, we do have, you know, over 7 million vacancies in the U.S. So it’s not as if the jobs don’t exist. So what kind of sort of data, you know, isn’t
available? What aren’t we asking? What’s going on with those statistics? Nick: Well, I mean, as you appreciate, Aparna,
when the current population survey asks questions, it has to limit the number of questions which
it’s asking or otherwise, the respondents are gonna go screaming out of the room and,
you know, tearing their hair. So the CPS only offers less than a dozen options
to respondents for explaining why they are not working. And that’s a pretty kind of Procrustean bed
to force people on to try to answer this. There are millions and millions of human stories
in this troubling situation we have in the U.S. today. And we need to get some texture to it. We need to get some nuance to it. We need to get the human dimension to it. And I’m sure that is what informed your entire
research project on wanting to follow what we’re calling here ethnographic research. Aparna: That’s exactly right. I mean, some of the thinking behind this work
is to sort of get at those stories. And as you say, you know, the 7 million stories
about why people are not in the workforce. And the CPS will give you what? Twelve options to figure it out, you know,
“Which of these slots do I fit into?” And the role of ethnographic research, at
least from my perspective, would be to say, “Okay, go to these men or go to these families
and say, ‘Well, what is it, you know, that’s holding you back from working?'” So what do you think…you know, what role
can ethnographic research play? Do you think that there’s a role? There are limitations of that type of research
as well, I’m sure, but, you know, where does the storytelling fit in? Nick: Well, of course, you’ve chosen the framework
of ethnography for this. And, I mean, there is a scholarly tradition
to ethnography. To my way of looking, it’s wonderful to have
a sympathetic, empathetic, interested observer interacting with people that we’re concerned
about. And, I mean, I can see us maybe calling this
good journalism. I can see us maybe calling it anthropology. There are different sorts of traditions that
might be valuable here. In the case of J.D. Vance, a few years ago,
it was just autobiography. But, again, he was a loving but honest observer
of what had occurred in his own chaotic family and community. So it’s first and foremost, I would say, getting
a set of eyes to show us what people like me and people like you can’t see when we’re
looking at decimal points and big rows of numbers, it’s the human quality. Aparna: It’s the human element. Nick: Now, I have no doubt that there’s a
great deal of training that can go into this. But there’s also, I would surmise, a certain
inescapable art that if you don’t have the spark for doing this sort of work, there is
no number of semesters that you can be imprisoned in school to get the routine. So it’s a combination of preparing people,
but also of having the gift for it just the same way some people have the human… Aparna: For trying to get the stories out. Nick: Yeah. Aparna: That’s exactly right. You make an important distinction in the chapter
between poverty and misery. What is that all about? Nick: Sure. Well, we, in think tank land and academia
and policy research world always love to talk about lessons learned. We probably should talk a little bit more
about lessons forgotten because there are a lot of lessons forgotten. And the distinction between poverty and misery,
certainly, is one that the late great Gertrude Himmelfarb described in much of her work on
Victorian Britain. Back in the Victorian era, I think it was
clear to any schoolchild that there was a distinction between poverty and misery. And poverty, per se, was the shortfall of
material resources. And misery was a condition of human degradation
and certain sorts of unhappiness and desperation. The Victorians would have equated misery with
the vice. We don’t talk about vice so much anymore,
but we know what we mean when we describe that. The point I think is that it is possible to
have adequate resources and still to find oneself in a miserable condition. And understanding that the shortfall of resources
is not necessarily the cause of all misery and degradation in modern America just seems
like something we ought to bear in mind. Aparna: That’s interesting. That’s right. Now, I think when you were talking about sort
of looking at potential reasons why people drop out of the labor force, you say that
researchers have tried to connect disability receipts where, you know, men in and out of
work, you know, what’s going on there? I don’t think we have a clear picture. Some people are saying disability is actually
encouraging people to leave the workforce. So what’s the story there? And, you know, what can we learn from qualitative
research per se? Nick: Well, first of all, we might not need
quite as much ethnographic research in this area if our quantitative data were a little
bit better. We have a crazy quilt of government disability
benefit programs that don’t communicate with each other. And this means that we don’t have any statistical
sources that can give us a comprehensive overview of the profile of disability participation
in the United States today. You can find some information from the social
security administration, from SSI, SDI… Aparna: As anybody has walked through. Nick: Yeah. But they don’t talk to the Veterans Administration
and none of them talk to the state programs or to a workman’s comp. There’s no comprehensive source of information
that we can look at for our analysis and inter alia. I think that’s why in 2016, the Council of
Economic Advisers’ admirable report on declining labor force participation rates for men made
a kind of an error because they said, “Well, you can’t really say there’s any connection
between this and disability.” They just looked at the social security administration’s
numbers, which are less than half of the numbers that we can look at just through a single-sip
survey by the Census Bureau. So since we are needlessly challenged quantitatively,
it seems to me that it might be beneficial to use ethnographic research to learn a little
bit more about what the real-life circumstances of people are. Now, with our social science techniques, we
will never be able to establish causality between…we will be able to establish associations,
but never causality between the existence of a benefit program and some consequence. But an observer may be able to give us a little
bit more nuance and sympathy as to what’s actually going on here and what the family
dynamic is. And, of course, we know that resources are
fungible. So a benefit to another member of the family
may also affect the calculations or the behavior of somebody else. So one needs to take, I think, a more human
and holistic approach to this. And as I say, an empathetic observer may be
able to provide us with a certain amount of understanding that we can’t get just from
the numbers. Aparna: That’s exactly right. And similarly, I think, you know, you talk
about people who have a history of, you know, incarceration or who have… And a distinction between people who have
been arrested but not incarcerated, you know. And that seems to be a big, big chunk of the
population that is out of the workforce, or, you know, even generally across the country,
we’re seeing many more cases where people are just dropping out or not getting jobs
because of that history. Nick: Absolutely. Aparna: You know, where does that fit in? Nick: Well, it’s a huge gap in our national
social statistical system at the moment. And the reason for this is just if you think
of it, it’s stock and flow. If you are sentenced, you permanently have
a conviction in your background. And so, it’s accumulating over time. And if you look at the stock and flow, there
have been, I think, some fine demographic reconstructions attempting this. We’re now at a situation, most likely, where
there are more than 20 million American adults, not behind bars, who have a felony conviction
in their background. Overwhelmingly guys. My back of the envelope calculation suggests
that would mean over one in eight adult guys who is in the civilian, non-institutional
but not behind bars population, more than one in eight would have a felony conviction
in their background. Probably a higher ratio for prime, working-age
guys. And we have no comprehensive information on
their circumstance at all. We’ve got zero on their labor force participation,
living arrangements, health situation. All the things that you want to know about
human beings. So while we wait for the Census Bureau and
others to cast some light on this enormous invisible part of America, we can kind of
jumpstart things through ethnographic questions. Through seeing if we can understand a little
bit better what it’s like for people who have felony convictions to try to function after
they re-enter society. It’s a huge gap and it’s sort of kind of scandalous. It’s an absolutely unnecessary blind spot
for America. But through the sort of work that you’re promoting,
I think we can get to that an awful lot quicker. Aparna: Right. And my hope has always been that once we learn
from these stories, then we can try to, you know, put in the right questions in the household
surveys, in the CPS and other BLS data sets so that then you can, you know, approach the
problem more systematically and have more aggregate data. Nick: Absolutely. I mean, it seems to me to be potentially an
extremely valuable tool for asking smarter questions and forgetting the sorts of quantitative
data. Better focused, better refined, so that we
can have the evidence that we want for evidence-based policies right. I mean, we see it the same way. Aparna: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Nick. This has been a fascinating conversation. And I encourage everybody to read your chapter
in “The American Family Diaries” volume. Thank you so much. Nick: Well, congratulations on this volume. I think it’s a real contribution. Aparna: Thank you. Hey, everyone. That’s the end of our discussion with Dr.
Nick Eberstadt. Thanks for watching. As always, let us know what other topics you
would like AEI scholars to cover on Viewpoint. And to learn more about “The American Family
Diaries” project, check out the links in the description below.