Reflection: Di NKRI sekolah adalah salah satu obyek bisnes utama kaum elite
berkuasa, jadi jangan diutik-utik masalahnya nanti mereka rugi dan bangkrut.
Schools are not businesses
Publish Date: Tuesday,31 March, 2009, at 12:19 PM Doha Time
By Wayne Au, Bill Bigelow and David Levine/New York
We should stop treating our schools as businesses.
Since the early 20th century, prominent business leaders have acted on the
belief that since they are good at making money, they are the most qualified
people to decide how to best educate the young.
Entranced by the power and efficiency of American industry, many educational
leaders have looked to these businessmen for leadership and for models of
operation. They have tried to govern school systems as if they were
corporations, organise schools as if they were something akin to factories and
orient education toward testing and tracking students toward presumed "real
Today's mantra is to allow the much-ballyhooed magic of the market to solve
educational problems. Thus the emphasis on consumer choice among schools
through vouchers or charters or plans to pay teachers based on test-score
There are many flaws inherent in imagining that schools will work well once
they adopt factory or free-market models. Perhaps most fundamental is the
presumption that schools work best when they emulate business.
But schools are not businesses.
When they flourish, they are living communities defined by powerful and caring
Students are not things to be produced. They are human beings who are learning
and growing in ways that are too complex for any standardised scores to truly
Nor are teachers mere robots that drill students in how to take a test. The
most talented and dedicated teacher is better nourished by a supportive work
culture than by narrow appeals to individual self-interest, which pit teacher
The purposes of schooling should not be degraded into privatised preparation
toward the fattest paycheque.
Clearly, schools should prepare students to earn decent livelihoods. But just
as importantly, they should prepare students to look toward - and even demand -
jobs that are a major source of fulfillment and creative expression.
Schools should go far beyond preparing students for work. There are many
non-market (perhaps even anti-market) lessons that schools impart: They
inculcate an appreciation of the arts, establish healthy habits of exercise,
teach co-operation, promote citizenship and show our children how to live
If schools do these tasks well, students when they become adults are much more
likely to participate in socially positive ways, such as creating art and
music, preventing domestic violence, working for racial equality, promoting
clean energy and opposing war.
We have to remember, education is a humane and human process with social values
beyond the bottom line. Business leaders have no expertise in this quest, and
business models do not apply.
For that matter, now that casino capitalism has imploded, isn't it time to stop
looking to the corporate elite for advice on how to run the schools? These
"experts" - the bankers and corporate CEOs - couldn't even manage the one thing
they are supposed to be good at: running their own businesses.
Educators should shed their subordinate status and sense of inferiority.
Schools work best when teachers - in dialogue with parents and other citizens -
design the educational experience, not corporate officials.- MCT