Class Warfare Blog

October 21, 2013

Transform the Schools with Business Principles? No, We Should Use Sports Principles!

The current hostile takeover of our public schools on the part of conservative billionaires is off on the wrong foot; they somehow believe that the principles used to run a business should be used to run public schools. This is an incredibly stupid idea as a business is based on making a profit through competition while schools are break even organizations working through collaboration. There are much better models for these educrats to push and I am going to suggest they look at Sports. (I am pretty sure they won’t bother because their efforts have noting to do with serving school children better and everything to do with making profits off of the enterprise. Why else would you push a “business model,” really?)

So, sports as a model for reforming our schools is my suggestion. The eduformers are all for firing principals if they don’t meet goals. What better model than sports! Coaches and managers get fired willy-nilly when a season ends with disappointing results. None of them appeal to a union for protection, so much the better. And if teachers (coaches) are going to get fired if they don’t get good results, they will work harder at recruiting those students who can produce those results. The students then can establish a sort of free agency where they will sell their services to the teacher offering the highest pay. And where will the teachers get the money for the free agents? Merit pay! It all fits together.

Baseball is showing the way. Teams now keep statistics on a batter’s batting average broken down by pitcher (left- and right-handers), by the month, by where they hit in the batting order, and by the count. (What’s his average against left-handers with a 2-2 count, Bill? Here let me look it up.) New metrics are being invented all of the time and there is an entire movement, called Sabermetrics, that just acquires data and creates new measures of proficiency, so the Sports Model has lots and lots of room for high stakes testing and data banking.

Plus the Sabermetricians have data compiled for many decades, which could be the model for collecting data on students that could lead to new ways to teach, well, if not that, new ways to make money off of teaching.

Think about it. Teachers wouldn’t have to be retrained (well, the men any way, uh . . . the real men).

What are Americans better at: sports or business? Sports is based on teamwork and sacrifice. Business is based on raw competition and greed. Which is the better model for plutocrats to wring profits from our public schools, I ask you?

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