Monday, June 25, 2012

Schools Aren't Businesses

The problem is that schools cannot be run like businesses because they don't produce commodities. Learning is not similar to widget making. Schools are challenged with training all children, some of whom have serious learning disorders, home problems, and other behavioral issues that keep them from learning. Blaming teachers is not the proper path to take. Yet this is the route we have gone so far. Teachers are forced to work not with the best materials, but with frail human beings. The truth is that learning is not efficient, immediately profitable, or subject to "bottom lines", despite our best efforts to measure the immeasurable. You mention that business is more "efficient" than government with an excess of bureaucrats. Actually, business in this respect is completely inefficient. Corporate CEOs make salaries in the millions, and employ armies of middle managers at high salaries. This is hardly efficient. In fact, the only reason corporations now seem efficient is because they are outsourcing jobs, which cannot be done in the teaching profession. The costs are externalized to the populace while the profits are privatized. "School choice" and vouchers increase competition and reduce cooperation. Cooperation is about sharing ideas and learning. Competition results in reduced teaching outcomes. Vouchers and school choice are really just the means used by neo-conservatives to weaken the public education system, which is already taking a beating by tax reductions and tuition increases at the college level. Our public education system is being crushed. The rich don't care, because they have money to send their children to private schools. The last thing we need is less schooling in the name of "choice." When schools aren't measuring up, we need an increase in democracy--namely, the involvement of the community, not more private schools and the defunding of the public school system, which makes the matter worse, not better.

1 comment:

  1. We've been trying competition and "accountability" for the last ten years in the form of "No Child Left Behind." This has been a total failure. The learning objectives have not been met, the school system is worse off, and schools are still struggling. If anything, since NCLB, the educational system has regressed, not progressed.