professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Closing in

This NYT post entitled "Teaching is not a Business" hits home: And t echoes some of the things we have been discussing here and in other forums. Kids are not products, not widgets. Education is not about turning out identical products or widgets. Business models do not work and should never be applied to education. The article is pot on when it notes that teaching is about creating bonds. Teaching is about people and not machinery. The raw materials in teaching are humans, each one separate and distinct and wonderful. That is why, in part, business models and one-size-fits-all programs are not only ineffective, they are harmful.

However, this is where I part ways a bit: "Business does have something to teach educators, but it’s neither the saving power of competition nor flashy ideas like disruptive innovation. Instead, what works are time-tested strategies." What follows are some slogans and platitudes but nothing truly concrete that could or should be applied to education. Education is not a business. And yet business leaders decry the failure of education even as they profit from it. Testing, technology, alt cert, charters, tutoring and other industries have been touted as the magic bullet. Despite statistics to the contrary, some insist they work or they will work in some distant (dystopic?) future.

The closing sentences of this article, though, are absolutely on target. They should be made into posters and flood the hallways and offices of those who would "reform" education: "The process of teaching and learning is an intimate act that neither computers nor markets can hope to replicate. Small wonder, then, that the business model hasn’t worked in reforming the schools — there is simply no substitute for the personal element."

Now, if you dare, if you are seated, read the comments...
Tags: business, education, reformists
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