News

Should businesses run schools?

By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor, @eSN_Meris
September 20th, 2013

New guide on schools says businesses should oversee teacher evaluations, curriculum, school boards

business-schools-runIt’s a question that has come up recently thanks to a national movement towards school reform: “Should schools be run like a business?” According to a new guide released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF), it’s time for local businesses to do more than fund “backpacks and pencils”: It’s time to manage the school board.

The “School Governance Guide,” released as part of USCCF’s Education Reform Summit, urges businesses to “financially support school board candidates,” and “monitor board activity,” among other recommendations.

According to the guide, businesses can help in:

  • The hiring process for school superintendents;
  • Managing large school budgets; and
  • Managing school vision and policy, such as choosing curriculum, negotiating staff contracts, and developing teacher evaluations on “objective data.”

The guide also urges businesses to encourage “competent individuals” to run for school boards, publicly support the school board when it makes “controversial” decisions, question the board when it makes “bad” decisions, and “educate the public on education issues.”

USCCF says the guide was created in response to America’s mediocre ranking in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) scale.

(Share your thoughts on this new guide by taking our poll on Page 4. Next page: A video campaign for ‘corporate’ school reform—and criticism of this campaign)