Friday, April 29, 2011

Patt Morrison for Monday, May 2, 2011--from the Milken Global Conference


Monday, May 2, 2011

1-3 p.m.







1:06 – 1:19

Are teachers unions the biggest obstacles to, or biggest proponents of education reform?

In “Waiting for Superman,” a documentary about public education, teachers unions were largely portrayed as the villains in the soap opera that is American education.  The Cruella de Vil of the film is Randi Weingarten, president of the powerful American Federation of Teachers, who is shown speaking out against several education reform measures, including teacher evaluations.  Even as they are vilified and attacked as obstacles to change, teachers unions continue to wield political and social influence—Ms. Weingarten’s AFT was instrumental in forcing out Adrian Fenty, the former mayor of Washington D.C. who lost his reelection bid after working closely with aggressive school reformer Michelle Rhee.  Teachers unions seem to be coming around to the inevitability of some changes and have been increasingly working with school districts on reforms in the classrooms and the much maligned teacher assessments.  What will ultimately be the role of teachers and their unions in changing the way American public education operates?



Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers





1:21:30 – 1:39

Revolution brings change: a new economy in the Middle East

In recent weeks and months, the rallying cry for social justice and democracy has been heard in the streets and across borders of Middle Eastern countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Dynamic forces are pushing for change, old regimes are dissolving, and opportunities for more open and entrepreneurial economic systems seem to be developing.  In fact it could be argued that it was economic, rather than political, pressures that ultimately did in the regimes of Hosni Mubarak and his Arab colleagues—huge unemployment among the middle classes and restive lower classes proved instrumental in fueling the protest movements. What kind of institution is needed for a stable and prosperous future? Where does democracy fit it? How do you create robust job markets in countries where, for decades, the people have had few choices?



Dalia Dassa Kaye, senior political scientist, Rand Corporation



Neveen El-Tahri, co-chairperson and managing director, Delta Financial Investments, a family holding company focused on incubating small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs.


  • She is the first woman to sit on the board of the Egyptian Stock Exchange, she serves on several public and private-sector boards, including Telecom Egypt, Banque Misr, and Egyptian Railway Projects & Transport Co.
  • She has been twice named by the Financial Times as one of the leading businesswomen in the Arab world.




1:41:30 – 1:58:30

Organized labor vs. big business: grappling for the future of the American economy



Mary Kay Henry, international president, Service Employees International Union SEIU


John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable




2:06 – 2:19

So where should I invest? Helping the little guy navigate the choppy global markets

Investors are rushing to put their money in gold; with talk of a possible failure of Congress to raise the debt ceiling, the most stable investment in the world in U.S. treasury bonds suddenly look shaky; the rapid ascent of the stock exchange, even as the broader economy lags, is sparking talk of another big bubble waiting to pop.  These are the pitfalls of the economy for the average investor in 2011, an uncertain time for everyone from multinational corporations to average 401(k) holder.  The small investor, in particular, can be excused for feeling less-than-secure after watching their retirement accounts drop a third or more in value from 2007 – 2010, only to perform better in the past year even as salaries remain stagnant.  What’s the average investor to do?  Are there any truly safe places for your money to grow that are immune from the seemingly perpetual ups and downs in the global economy?



Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of Pacific Investment Management Company, PIMCO, managers of the largest mutual fund in the world


  • PIMCO’s “Total Return Fund” mutual fund, the largest in the world, was estimated to have assets worth $240.7 billion at the end of 2010.




2:21:30 – 2:39

The keys to longevity

Jeanne Calment, who died at 122 years old to become the longest human life on record, attributed her longevity to olive oil, chocolate, and port wine.  And it’s not just Jeanne—people around the world are living longer than ever before in human history.  But each case of impressive longevity seems to be attributed to something different.  Will being vegetarian or vegan fend off the common-killer, cancer?  Will working out every day prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease?  Should we be doing strenuous workouts or just walking to maintain our memory and bone density?  Should we restrict our calorie intake or our fat intake?  Patt talks to two experts in the field to get some answers and find out what we can do to age healthfully.



Dr. Luigi Fontana (MD), research associate professor of medicine and associate director, Longevity Research Program, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine


  • Trained in both internal medicine and metabolism, Fontana has an interest in
  • nutrition, aging and longevity.
  • His research focuses on the potential role of diet and exercise in retarding the aging process.  
  • He is investigating the effects of severe calorie restriction, plant-based diets and endurance exercise on outcomes such as cardiovascular risk factors and function, inflammation, immune function, glucose tolerance, bone metabolism and quality of life.
  • He is also studying the endocrine role of abdominal fat storage as a mediator of insulin resistance and accelerated aging.


David Kirchhoff, president and CEO, Weight Watchers International Inc.





2:41:30 – 2:58:30

The next phase of education reform in America

From President Obama and Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top, to alternative plans from private business, labor leaders, and nonprofit groups like the Gates Foundation, there are plenty of solutions on the table for how to fix the country’s broken public education system. But who should be held accountable? Parents and politicians point to teachers; teachers point to administrators and politicians—but who should ultimately be responsible for student success and how should those results be evaluated? How can we restructure the teaching profession to attract the most highly educated and skilled applicants? What initiatives, both public and private, are succeeding in retaining the most talented teachers? Can there be consensus and collaboration between teachers’ unions and school districts on reaching shared goals? Patt sits down with two major leaders in the education reform conversation for their thoughts.



Allan Golston, president of the U.S. Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading its efforts to reduce inequities and increase access to opportunities for low-income and disadvantaged students



Adrian Fenty, former mayor of the District of Columbia., where he gained national attention for his focus on restructuring public school governance with D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee




Jonathan Serviss
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
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