Janesville77.2°

Your Views: State can’t run schools like business models

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November 10, 2013

Gov. Walker and Republican lawmakers are using their “Chamber of Commerce” mentality to transform public education into an economic enterprise. They see education as a marketplace where schools (voucher, religious, charter and public) compete for customers (students).

An Indiana businessman had been asked to conduct an in-service program for a school district. His company’s blueberry ice cream had been touted as the “Best in America.” He told the educators: “If I ran my business the way schools operate, I wouldn’t be in business very long.” He said that schools should operate like a company with a business model that produced the best product possible.

A teacher asked about the secret to his company’s success. He said his company used only superior-quality blueberries. When asked what he would do with a shipment of inferior blueberries, he responded, “Send them back!”

The public school teacher exclaimed: “But we don’t send our blueberries back!” We cannot reject those who don’t speak English, nor those with low test scores or disabilities. We must find a place for the behavioral problems or those lacking in motivation and discipline. We are responsible for educating them all, not just those who are able, ready and willing to learn. [Paraphrased from “Reign of Error”]

The businessman came to realize that public schools can never operate like a company. They cannot sort the blueberries and reject those that are bruised and broken. Public schools take them all, everyone, and that’s why education cannot be a business.

JERRY HANSON

Elkhorn



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