Schools may soon be run more 'like a business' than businesses are

  • Article by: David Morris
  • Updated: December 2, 2013 - 6:05 PM

Microsoft, other firms, are abandoning the Darwinian management systems ‘reformers’ have foisted on teachers.

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wplettfanDec. 2, 13 6:16 PM

I've been saying it all along. Making teachers compete against each other is not good for students. If teacher A comes up with an excellent way of teaching the slope of a line, they are encouraged NOT to share with teacher B under the "Microsoft system." In the collaborative model the idea IS shared and all students benefit from the idea.

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ffedericoDec. 2, 13 6:58 PM

Right now public schools are communistic. That's why they are failing. If you give somebody something for nothing they treat it like it isn't worth anything.

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twinsajsfDec. 2, 13 7:34 PM

Wow. I was always skeptical that you could keep low-wage workers on the job and performing well with a cutthroat competitive approach, but I thought it made reasonable sense for high-paying private sector job such as those at Microsoft. Now it turns out it's counterproductive even there. Oh well, I'm sure there are several more competition-based approaches we can try before we consider the collaborative approach the top performing education nations such as the Social Democratic Scandinavian countries, S. Korea and the like are using. U-S-A! U-S-A!

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wa0tdaDec. 2, 13 7:37 PM

Yahoo just laid off 600 thanks to stack ranking, the system that Microsoft has finally dropped. Adobe also dropped this toxic management fad and their stock went up. It has the potential to really clear out creative professionals from education and make the situation even worse.

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ericgus55Dec. 2, 13 7:53 PM

twinsajsf - Very good points. Rather than looking to business models (which don't really apply, since schools have to teach everyone, unlike businesses, who don't), it would make more sense to look to the nations who are kicking our tail and see what they are doing. Teacher pay would be first on my list - since I've always thought it's hard to compete for top-notch talent when paying non-competitive wages. You'll get a few 'true believers' who do excellent work, but why would anyone choose to teach, knowing that you'll be a perennial punching bag (for politicians and parents alike) and not get paid very well?

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swmnguyDec. 2, 13 8:03 PM

I work as a consultant to a number of prominent corporations. The dominant corporate management style is incredibly wasteful and destructive. Whenever anybody tells me that government, or schools, should be run like a business, I know the person talking knows nothing about government, schools, or business. It's worth noting that the most-admired businesses are admired for their being atypical among businesses for not being winner-take-all feudal bloodsport arenas. We can all see what the dominant corporate management model has done to our economy, environment, retirement, home finance, health care and higher education; so now we want to turn that loose on elementary education as well? We'd have to be nuts in the head.

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foneboothDec. 2, 13 8:07 PM

This was a no-brainer, can't believe it was implemented in the first place, but then for some today business has become "God" and everything must work according to it. They need to watch a film from the 70's...They Shoot Horses Don't They?...a good instruction on the dark side of capitalism...not to eliminate it, just stop worshiping it...

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ericgus55Dec. 2, 13 8:17 PM

swmnguy - I also laugh when I hear folks suggest that schools or government should be 'run like a business,' since businesses can simply focus on one segment of the market, and when they lay off their workers they are gone (not their problem anymore). Government and public schools have to teach/provide services for everyone, and those who lose in the competitive system (winners AND losers, as we often overlook) don't just go away.

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pumiceDec. 2, 13 8:18 PM

I hope Education Secretary Duncan and the "Privatize Education Corps" read this article. Especially this passage: "Last month, Microsoft abandoned the hated system [which] leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.” As wplettfan put it, "In the collaborative model [innovative] idea[s ARE] shared and all students benefit ..."

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regularxDec. 2, 13 8:38 PM

This is a total straw man argument. Can anyone name one district in Minnesota---just one--that employs any of these so-called stacked ranking? And speaking of "high stakes", can anyone give me one example of ANY district school in Minnesota that was shut down because of persistently low test scores? Can anyone give me one example of ANY teacher in in ANY district school in the state who lost his or her job solely on poor student test scores? Look, we have standardized test. And yes, teachers will soon be evaluated---in part--based how much academic growth their students make in these tests. But the idea of these results being "high" stakes, is a joke. There are NO stakes. This is yet another example of the teachers' union's war on data. Since the union doesn't believe its teachers can make any difference in students' (of color) academic achievement, their move is to stop documenting the achievement gap. Or to demonize "high stakes" testing. This article is pathetic.

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