Business vs. Education


I just finished reading the epilogue in your book on the problems of using a business model for education.

What a breath of fresh air! Thank you for your insights and wisdom.

My school district is the only one in the state running on a business model. It's kind of not working. Can you send me any hard facts that you might have supporting either side?

Thanks for your comment.

I have no hard facts. There is nothing to "fact" about. It is a state of mind. I want to clearly differentiate effort for learning and effort of any other kind—especially employment. For example, in my book, the word "homeWORK" is only in the index. I use the term "home assignment" and "home task."

The differences between business and learning is so great in my mind that I prefer not to use any term that joins the two—hence my not using the term "work" when I refer to learning. Both business/employment and learning require effort, accountability, performance, and have other similarities. However, the objectives of each are so different that using one as a metaphor for the other or comparing them is a mistake. A typical example is using remuneration for employment. Pay for work is contractual. No such agreement exists in K-12 education.

To quote W. Edwards Deming, "The most important things in life cannot be measured." Hope, empathy, understanding, integrity, character, respect, and acceptance of others are just a few of the many characteristics parents expect public schools to engender. None of these has any relation to economic profits—a prime objective of business.

How one perceives something has a direct bearing on one's behavior. Differentiating between effort in learning and effort in employment leads to a different mindset on the part of the teacher. Do students have a responsibility to
learn? i.e., they MUST learn regardless of my teaching—or do I, the teacher, have a responsibility to make my lessons create the situations where students WANT to put forth effort (through engendering curiosity, usefulness, enjoyment, challenge, relevance, importance, etc.)?