The fallacies of Corporate Education Reform
Corporate Education Reformers may have a lot of business expertise, but that knowledge and skill does not translate to public education. They don’t seem to realize that almost nothing they have learned from the private sector is applicable in the public sector.
- Competition doesn’t work the way they think it does.
- They don’t seem to understand that schools have finite capacity.
- They don’t seem to understand what it takes to start a school.
- They don’t know what drives academic achievement.
- They don’t seem to understand the needs of students.
- Their focus on productivity is misplaced.
- They don’t recognize teachers as professionals.
- They don’t seem to understand that all teachers need the union to protect their jobs.
- They don’t seem to understand which school costs are fixed and which are variable
Their first and fundamental mistake is that they have trouble understanding is that the profit motive, which is the force that drives everything in the private sector, is absent from the public sector. All of the rules, practices, models, and incentives that they know and espouse are predicated on the presence of the profit motive, and are therefore invalid because the profit motive just isn’t there.
“Competition makes things better. Schools will improve when they have to compete.”
The absence of the profit motive negates the benefits they expect from competition. Charter schools, vouchers, and school choice are all supposed to improve schools through competition. And yet they don’t. They don’t because school choice doesn’t create competition among schools for students; it creates competition among students for schools. So long as school attendance is compulsory, every student must find a seat at a school somewhere. And so long the capacity of the school system is about equal to the Seattle Schools Community Forum: The fallacies of Corporate Education Reform: