Are Traditional Public Schools “Franchises”?
According to Investopedia, a franchise is defined as follows:
A franchise is a type of license that a party (franchisee) acquires to allow them to have access to a business’s (the franchiser) proprietary knowledge, processes and trademarks in order to allow the party to sell a product or provide a service under the business’s name. In exchange for gaining the franchise, the franchisee usually pays the franchisor initial start-up and annual licensing fees.Franchises are a very popular method for people to start a business, especially for those who wish to operate in a highly competitive industry like the fast-food industry. One of the biggest advantages of purchasing a franchise is that you have access to an established company’s brand name; meaning that you do not need to spend further resources to get your name and product out to customers.
In sum, the term franchise is a marketing term. And given the push to turn American public education into a marketed product/service under the auspices of “school choice,” it should come as no surprise that promoters of market-driven ed reform use business terminology to attempt to reframe American public education.
Consider, for example, Brooking Institute fellow Grover “Russ” Whitehurst’s usage of the term, “franchise,” in discussing his disagreement with the institution of the local-board-run community school in this March 29, 2017, Brookings video, “The 2016 Education Choice and Competition Index.” Below is Whitehurst’s first minute of his opening remarks, which precede a speech by US ed secretary Betsy DeVos:
Good morning. Glad to see you here, see some familiar faces. I know you’re here to hear Secretary DeVos talk, but you’ve got to sit through a little bit of me first.We’re here today to think and talk about K-12 school choice, and we’re doing that in the context of publicly-funded education.If we had this event, or an event with this title twenty years ago, it would have been mostly about the prospects of something that did not then exist. The traditional, school-district model of the delivery of public education was a monolith that completely dominated education through the end of the twentieth century. Education within each state was provided entirely by school districts governed by elected school boards. Each district had an exclusive franchise to provide educational services within its geographical boundaries, and within those boundaries, districts managed individual schools that themselves were organized as exclusive franchises within their own geographical student assignment zones.
In the above remarks, Whitehurst attempts to redefine traditional public education using economic language, but the language simply does not fit.
Traditional public school is not a for-profit venture. There is no dealing in school-Are Traditional Public Schools “Franchises”? | deutsch29: