Corporatization in our schools

This week is a big one… Public education has sold its soul to corporate interests in what amounts to a Faustian bargain. Agree or disagree?


Brian DuffCC-BY-SA-3.0 via wikimedia commons


Prior to the debate, I was pretty sure I agreed with this- I mean, what place do corporations and businesses have within a school?  Education is different than business we deal in social capital (read: the social/emotional aspects of growing and learning) , not monetary capital.  As such, the values don’t align and businesses should stay away from schools.

…or should they?

Then I started considering my own practice/experience.  Scholastic book fairs are a staple in my library, I get to ‘promote’ literacy, new books for the Library and cash for incentives/author visits.  I sold my “Librarian soul” a long time ago to Scholastic in turn for all of these ‘benefits’.  And why?  Well, some of my students don’t otherwise have the opportunity to shop for books outside of the community, there certainly would not be any opportunities to bring authors into our schools to speak to/inspire our students, and because I believe that sometimes we get some otherwise non-readers, reading a little bit more.

Dean argued that it is possible for companies to have a conscience and do things with meaning and purpose.  I was skeptical to say the least.  When does a company care about more than money?

Is it possible?

Google has policies surrounding corporate responsibility, and I’m told Discovery Education also has these mantras.

CC0 via Pixabay

Is it possible that there is good within the bad?

I’d be lying if I said I’d be turning my back on additional funds for my school and students during this current time when our government has seemingly pulled the plug on funding for Education.

Furthermore, I think Jeremy  has it right when he discusses running our schools with a “Lean” mentality will continue to widen the very gaps we are trying to close.

When Education is seen as a ‘burden’ to taxpayers, I wonder how we can work to change the perception, and work to have people consider education as a social investment (as Audrey discussed).  It seems to me that the biggest disservice that our government can do, is view Education through a business model, because in doing so, they do not see schools generating revenue.

My assumption is that our current government sees Education from a business perspective, and as such we are already currently vastly underfunded- as the current government clearly see no value in it.  I would argue, that the revenue we generate arises from giving our students a proper, well funded education, and investing in them, so they can in turn support and engage in our economy when they have completed their education.

There is evidence from the United States which indicates some of the issues experienced with funding cuts. We can see that bringing corporations into Education can be problematic.

However, when I am weighing the good and the bad, along with the lack of funding we are currently facing, I feel like I have to consider:

Now, I am starting to wonder- can we be critical and question what companies are offering us, and manage to find some ‘good companies’ who are also looking out for some ‘social capital’?

Maybe?  Sometimes?

Yet another week in the grey!

5 thoughts on “Corporatization in our schools

  1. I have very similar reflections this week Amy. Dean’s line “we do good by doing good” really struck a chord with me. I don’t think it’s realistic to think there will be no corporate interest in education but we must strive to create partnerships that have student interest put first.

  2. I think that corporate interest is fine if we are putting student interest first, just like Erin said. I also think that it’s unfortunate that we have started to view education as a business. It is a business, but it is a non-profit one where we should be focused on student outcomes before anything else. In the chat the other night I was saddened to hear that someone heard people complaining about having to pay property taxes when they don’t have kids in school. It’s sad that a lot of people (including the government) don’t see education as a priority. It is seen as something that is just taking money from their pockets with no return. What they don’t realize is the return that comes when students graduate (successfully) and finish training at the post-secondary level to become contributing members of society.

  3. I really agree with the idea that education is seen as a burden and the language surrounding education, when it is discussed in government, is one of loss rather than gain. Maybe they do know that it’s taking money from their pockets, and maybe they just don’t care?

  4. Good question Amy? I have my doubts believing that companies want anything more than to make a profit. That’s what corporations and capitalism is all about. The majority of the time, money is made at the expense of; pretty much the entire population who are not at the top 1% earning bracket. We have plenty of reasons to feel scepticism.
    It would be nice to believe that they care about our students but I don’t think they do (at least not in the same way). We as educators genuinely care about the learning of our students. We see their struggles each and every day and we know that our education system does not meet the needs for so many students. Like Ashley said, the needs of our students are what must come first and we all know that teachers are not participating in making important decisions (at the top) for the education of our students.

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