Over a month ago, I posted a blog entry on The Blueberry Story. It was an anecdotal story, told by a staunch businessman who is now an education advocate, of how schools and businesses differ and why schools should operate differently from a business. While schools can indeed learn a thing or two from corporate America, they are not businesses. However, many organizations are using schools as breeding grounds for human capital. Unfortunately, schools are being forced to sell out their souls to gain additional support and funding from these same companies. The sad reality is we can't blame schools for doing this; corporations have become powerful and influential in all aspects of American way of life. In fact, corporate America has supported the business model to schooling and are backing most so-called experts.
So how do the so-called experts and corporate America view student learning?
Using a familiar quote from the movie, Dreamgirls (2006)
May (Deena's mothers): I'm amazed, Mr. Taylor. As much as I love my daughter, I never thought she had much of a voice.
Curtis (Deena's boss): Oh, Deena has something better. She has a...quality.
May: You make her sound like a product.
Curtis: A product. I like that!
Since when student learning became a product? This is exactly how the so-called experts viewed student learning...as a product!
Using a familiar quote from another movie, American Gangster (2007)
Frank Lucas: "...that's a brand name, like Pepsi... I stand behind it, I guarantee it. They know that even if they don't know me any more than they know the chairman of General Mills."
How can one market student learning when the process is highly individualized? Is offering individualized student learning then a product? How would "this product" be accessible to the masses? Can it be? Will it be? Whoa! It's supplying differentiated instruction! It's providing the least restrictive environment for students with disabilities! It's offering co-teaching! That's it! But wait! Aren't public schools doing them already? Well, what's the problem?
The so-called and underrated experts both agree that our public schools need to improve in better preparing our children for the future. They differ in how and what aspect of the future to focus on; concerning the latter, schools focus on the students' well-beings while businesses' ultimate focus is the bottom line -- making profits. While my views are biased toward the underrated experts, since I was formerly a part of that number, both experts have valid points and flaws. Nevertheless, while the underrated experts have a more direct experience in working with children, their perspectives are often ignored and ridiculed. However, the so-called experts have limited experiences in working with children, yet they have powerful allies and a strong publicity machine that are pushing their messages more effectively. Who will benefit from their efforts the most...the students or corporate America? Let's see...