Sunday, July 31, 2011

You Can't Run a School Like a Business. It Doesn't Work.

Thanks to Angie Villa, author of
for posting this button on her blog...where I just saw it. I wholeheartedly agree with what Angie says and writes about reforming American education away from an inappropriate corporate model!

I recently heard that a principal declared, "We're going to run this school like a business!" That is both a naive and callously simplistic statement (although in terms of pure propaganda, it sounds okay--sort of like "No Child Left Behind." And we know how that's been screwing up the educational system). 

If and when that school-as-business model is implemented, then "education" quickly becomes all about hitting numbers, not about actually learning anything. 

Inflicting a business model on schools will mean that the creativity and inspiration in school (on the students' side and the teachers') will immediately disappear, replaced by the simple fear of not earning enough to put bread on the table.

It's so wrongheaded to say, "We're going to run this school like a business!" that I am not even going to waste my time explaining it further (I have an article to write, and a deadline). 

You either get it, or you don't. 

Speaking of "getting it," there has long been an incorrect and offensive statement floating around. I'm sure you've heard, "Those who can't do, teach."

The statement is actually Aristotle's, and this is the real thing: "Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach."

Don't you feel better now?

My best to all teachers. Hang in there...and keep on top of the good activism that is happening to reform American education and move it away from the insensitive, dead-wrong corporate model some unthinking types have thrown in our way.

Teachers who care are trying to make education and schools better...don't be duped by the businessmen! They have no idea how to teach.


  1. What a strong statement! Teachers need to do what is best for their classrooms!

  2. Yes--strong, blanket statements such as, "This school will be run like a business!" cause teachers to have no control. The inevitable question is then, "What does that mean?" The principal will likely reply: "There's going to be accountability!"--and that only means test score silliness.

  3. Thank you Elizabeth! In our school district over 100 teachers (mostly art, music, phys ed and library) were fired while the super hired a business pro to run before and after school programs, at a salary of over 80k per year. School board approved. And now the geniuses are asking for volunteers to help with the program. They believe that people from the business world can come in and turn things around, even though these "pros" know nothing about educating children growing up in poverty. What an insult to teachers!

  4. Thanks, Angie. A big UGH for that school district! Well, I guess the businesspeople will see how they know nothing about how to teach soon enough...too bad THEY won't be held financially accountable for their inability to turn things around.

  5. There's a local principal who said precisely this at the back to school staff meeting last year. Faculty rolled their eyes but sat there and took it, meanwhile simply praying that this bozo would find himself kicked to the curb, sooner rather than later. We shall see in a few weeks how this goon welcomes back the teachers for the new school year. (shudder)

  6. I think "We're going to run this school like a business!" is something an inept principal might say if he/she wants to make it sound as if he/she is really hands-on and actively working to improve a school. Of course, I put less than zero stock in such a hackneyed, out-of-touch-with-reality line.

    Thanks for reading,