Run Schools Like a Business? Flip that Theory to See Flaws

Lisa Woods, a teacher in North Carolina, is sick and tired of hearing that all public schools should be run like a business and that teachers have extraordinary job protections that don’t exist in the private sector. “Applying the business model to schools is as absurd as applying the “school reality” to business. Until a better and fairer assessment and compensation structure is created, those “in the trenches” are actually consulted, and the reality of our working environment is considered and remedied, the symbolic little gesture of tenure will be an important one to insure that excellent teachers remain in North Carolina,” Woods writes. Source: Greensboro News-Record

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  • Ken Alston

    School is NOT a business! Yes, the money side and basic admin needs to be business-like, BUT teachers and pupils are NOT business objects for trading. School is about children and young people and ensuring that the get the best education possible.

    Probably the best school education in the world is in Finland… trying reading “Finnish Lessons” by Pasi Sahlberg and “The miracle of Education” edited by three Finnish educators and discover the secrets of Finland’s success. There are a great number of really good articles of Finnish education to be found on the NET.

    We all need to learn from the best whether we are a first year teacher or a teacher with 40+ years of experience.

  • Anne Zerrien-Lee

    Lisa Woods is right on target. I would add “imagine that one of your customers is crying because his baby sister died this week, and another doesn’t want to talk because he is traumatized from seeing a dead woman (who had been pushed out a fourth-story window)on the sidewalk when he was walking home from the grocery store the previous afternoon. Neither is able to focus on your presentation.” Someone should send Lisa’s article to all Chamber of Commerce members in the country.

  • Candice Patterson

    Ms. Wood’s enticing introduction comparing the public school system to a business model does force one to view the public school system of North Carolina–and public schools across the United States–in a new light. While schools are not businesses, this perspective deserves attention and the issue begs for a resolution. Teachers deserve the respect and admiration of students, parents, and the community. Often times public school teaches find themselves in trying situations associated with the troublesome home life of many of their students. Attempting to care for the individual needs of every student can be very difficult. Like Ms. Wood says “bad teachers don’t stay”. Her retort to Donna Martinez’s comparison of a business model to schools with a comparison of schools to a business model is insightful and eye opening.