The 74: What Corporate Leaders Mean When They Say That America’s Schools Should Run Like Businesses — and Why That’s a Good Idea

This post is an excerpt of a full opinion piece originally published in The 74. Read the full piece here.

Like most people, business leaders trust teachers and principals — and they hate bureaucrats. They support giving teachers more control over their classrooms and principals more control over their budgets. Most support increasing school funding. Those who do are more likely to focus on helping poor schools than the ones their own kids attend.

During education briefings, business leaders and officials often disagree over what it means to run schools like a business. Here’s what business leaders mean — and why it’s a good idea.

First, when a business leader talks about running a school like a business, she typically has a services company in mind — not a factory. When you think of a school as a service provider, you treat students as customers, and customers always come first. Younger executives, operating in a world of internet conferencing, Google Docs, and 360 reviews, know where schools should be heading. Compare this student-as-customer approach to today’s schools, which operate on what could be called a schools-as-factories approach. Students are outputs or products. The school board, mayor, and state legislature are the real customers. In today’s model, bureaucracy comes first; students come second.

Read the full piece from Jim Doyle on The 74 here. Download Small Business Owners’ View of Public Schools and Education Reform. Give us your perspective here.