Making education outcomes based on customer and public needs might not work when
the customer and public aren't that bright. We need to raise the bar, not
keep it level with what the past has produced.
Though business does have lessons to teach education, let's all take a step
back and look at the college marketplace. We have colleges that are private
non-profits (like BYU), state supported schools (like U of U) and for profit
schools (like ITT).Now, which model produces the best education?
Not the for profit model.So, before we run helter skelter toward
making education "market driven, based on customer and public need" we
should think long and hard about what we want our system to do.
To those who think education (in Utah) should be run more like a business, I
would suggest that will never happen because education is not funded well enough
(in Utah) to be run like a business.
Mr. Florez hit a homerun. What an excellent article. He is thinking
independent of the government. He is thinking independent of the school board.
He is thinking about the people who pay the bill (and expect value) and
he's thinking about the students (who expect a return on their investment
of spending twelve years in the classromm).I particularly liked:
"Utah's policymakers should do what Gerstner did to IBM, change the
organization's culture from internally and process driven to customer
driven — students, parents and taxpayer. Stop asking the same people who
preserve the problems needed to be solved. Start surveying and asking the
customers about the service and product they receive and what improvements they
suggest. Just don't ask the professionals to do the survey or pick the
How does the market place affect the classroom? Do students compete for
placement or do teachers compete for students? If you want better mastery among
students than provide more incentive for them to compete. If you want better
teachers than pay a better wage. Its simple economics. The stakeholders are
the kids and parents. The teachers are the ones that know what works and what
doesn't and the administrators are too busy competing for the next rung on
the ladder to know anything.
Best column I have ever seen by Florez. Market discipline is the only way to
make things more efficient. I get that efficiency isn't the end goal of the
education system, but a market based approach will also offer far more options
Just remember that when elephants dance, those closest to it are in jeopardy.Before we embark on radical change we better be doubly sure the new
target is the right one. Otherwise, we lose a generation.What is
Europe doing? What about Asia? Surely we are not the first to encounter these
problems.Let's look toward hard facts and results. Not just
"hey, this might work" solutions.