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?
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?
Is it possible that there is good within the bad?
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.
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’?
Yet another week in the grey!