Monday, July 31, 2017

PA: Another Hatchet Man Runs for Governor

The Pennsylvania governor's race is shaping up to be an ugly one for education. On the GOP side we already have a declaration from Scott Wagner. Wagner is one more businessman who figured that gummint couldn't be that hard, and he has quickly established himself as anti-labor, anti-government, anti-public education.

Well, now we get to meet Paul Mango.

Here's the short version of Everything You Need To Know About Paul Mango-- his previous job was working for McKinsey and Company.

No, not this guy

For those of you who don't immediately recognize that name-- McKinsey is one of the international giants of consulting, and they specialize in helping companies squeeze more money out of their assets, both in bad times and good. They have been involved in education reform, and in major cities where movers and shakers are discussing how to gut public education and unleash the free market so some folks can start making some serious charter money, you will often find McKinsey (for example, Boston and Minneapolis).

Mango's background as a hatchet-for-profits guy led to this journalistically responsible but still hilarious piece in Penn Live. Some folks endorsed Mango as a business-minded job creator, so the reporters covering asked the Mango campaign for a single example of a job that Mango had created or retained. The campaign came up blank. They asked again. The campaign came up blank again. For those who know McKinsey, this makes sense-- they are in the business of creating Return On Investment, frequently by doing the opposite of "job creation."

Not that Mango is leaning on his private sector hatchet work in his campaign. Mango wants you yo know that he's an American Patriot with a Working Class Background who Served His Country and is now a Good Family Man. Mango coverage always comes with mention that he's a West Point grad who served in the 82nd Airborne. He's also touting the multi-million dollar business he created for McKinsey in Pittsburgh as proof that he's more businessy than Governor Tom Wolf (also a business guy in gummint).

Yeah, this guy.

Mango's announcement tour in May was short on specifics (and press access). His website includes a snappy slogan ("Big Ideas Instead of Big Taxes') and his attack on Wolf includes one pretty snappy idea (calling Wolf "Thomas the Tax Engine"). But while he bothers to single out education as an issue, his video on the subject doesn't have much to say-- if children had crappy life goals, it wouldn't matter that one website (Wallethub) rates our schools low, but we pay a lot of money for them, and they should be better. Mango will fix schools by "spending smarter, being more innovative, and making sure your child gets the education you're paying for" which is pretty weak sauce. At his website, we get slightly more detail:

Paul Mango will ensure every one of our children has the choice and the means to obtain a good education.  Pennsylvania families must be empowered to make choices for their children’s success.

While this toes the usual line, it's pretty wimpy compared to Scott Wagner's full-throated "let's get rid of the unions, gut the public schools, and give everyone a voucher" talk. Wagner's campaign site is even vaguer than Mango's, but he's had a platform as state senator, and he's used it. 

What's more surprising about Mango's launch is the absence of any strong statements about health care. He was, after all, McKinsey's health care expert, with lots of attention to the impact of the ACA and some looks at what the GOP countermeasures could mean. Pittsburgh City Paper outlined just how much expertise he displayed as a business consultant; as a candidate, he's pretty meek and vague. Hell, the guy has an MBA in Healthcare from Harvard.

If Mango wants to make a splash, he's going to have to do more than take a bunch of "I'm totally working class and not a Harvard MBA type" shirtsleeve photos. Particularly if he wants to be heard over the noise of Scott Wagner's blustery Scott Walkeresque Tea Party angriness.

But Pennsylvania education voters only have to remember one thing about Mango-- he's the guy from McKinsey, the company that specializes in dismantling and destroying jobs, including those in education. This is not our guy.



3 comments:

  1. Illinois has a "businessman" for governor. The man can't even figure out how to make a profit from a lottery, so he had to shut it down. I hope you Keystone Staters are smart enough not to inflict a "businessman" on yourselves. Of course, like every other state in the union, it would be nice if you had actual choices....

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  2. Applying the business model to schools makes as much sense as applying the scientific method to jazz music or the engineering model to abstract painting. There is absolutely no relationship to the variables and controls in the business model and those in public education. Why they continue to meddle in a world they don’t understand is mystifying. You’d think their record of failure would have bruised their egos and chased them away by now.

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  3. NY Teacher +100. Too many people successful in one area think it will easily translate to another and aren't humble enough to admit what they don't understand. I'm intelligent, but I can' fix any machines. I leave that to my boyfriend and am content to ask questions (hopefully learn more) and accept my limitations.

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