Sunday, April 23, 2017

CURMUDGUCATION: HYH: Edvertising

CURMUDGUCATION: HYH: Edvertising:

HYH: Edvertising


If I've said it once, I've said it a gazillion times:

The free market does not foster superior quality; the free market fosters superior marketing. 

Annnnd here it comes. The marketing.

The latest episode of Have You Heard with Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider takes a look at educational marketing (it also posits the heretofore unknown product "Extruda," which... just makes me uncomfortable).

There are soooo many issues with school marketing, and not that marketing a school is "unseemly." For instance, as the cast points out, most marketing is aimed at selling a private good, while education is a public good. There is also the issue of customer evaluation-- New Coke had the weight of the advertising world behind it, but that could not overcome all the people who actually drank some and said, loudly, "Yuck!" With a charter school, you may not figure out that you were scammed for quite some time.

But most striking is just the cost. Sarah Butler Jessen is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Bowdoin College who studies school marketing and makes a guest appearance on the show. She holds up Eva Moskowitz's Success Academies as one of the leading examples of charter marketing, and she unloads two stunning factoids-- SA has spent about $1,000 per student on marketing, and marketing is the second-biggest expenditure for the charter chain.

$1,000 per student on marketing. Imagine what you could do if you had another $1,000 to spend on actually educating each student.

This is part of the problem of edu-marketing-- even if your marketing is Honest and Pure and True, you have just spent a ton of money on something other than educating students.

Jessen also talks about how charter management groups and chains are far ahead of the marketing war, particularly with their branding and I was surprised (though on reflection I shouldn't have been) that, for instance, KIPP has a whole Brand Guideline Video. Like any other brand leader, KIPP's CURMUDGUCATION: HYH: Edvertising:


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