Saturday, December 02, 2006

Fads in the public schools and private industry

Listserve response to a comment that private sector managers are unable to provide guidance to public schools.

Sir:

You are absolutely correct. In addition, the sufferers of the Progressive contagion are not simply public education and schools of education; private industry also suffers from some of those very same ills. Hucksters make hundreds of millions, if not billions, selling the some of the same hash that is flung in classrooms. Witness CEO's and managers embracing the newest, bizarre, and ineffective organizational philosophy concocted by the con man looking for quick bucks.

What separates private industry and public schools is the blind adherence to certain philosophies found within public schools, and the belief that the philosophy is both the means and the end desired.

In private industry, the latest management fad is quickly set aside once profits or market share begins to take a hit. The private industry firm quickly reorganizes itself in a productive manner or the pink slips begin appearing. This reorganization away from the fad will occur even if the fad is still nominally supported by upper levels of management. The name remains but the organization morphs the organizational philosophy into one that actually works.

Why is private industry forced to change? The answer is simple: The heartless consumer cares nothing about organizational fad, he only cares about price and quality, and possibly some subjective intangible.

In the public school system, since the philosophy - pedagogy - is both the means and the end, the organization does not change to correct structural flaws. In addition, because public schools have no real product to sell, other than the standard propaganda and its adopted philosophy, the school system cannot correct their processes in order to improve.

Example: Is your local school selling educational outcomes, athletic/artistic performance, social reengineering, or some sort of Progressive ideal human? Outside of some muddled philosophy such as, fostering a culture of continuous learning, no market equals no product. No product means no rational allocation of resources, and no ability to rationally restructure.

Woodrow Wilson sought the brightest minds in private industry to advise government, an idea expanded by FDR and many presidents thereafter, and look at all the ills caused by all of these brain trusters.

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