“A widget producer has a product,” said m00r3t3ch. “It starts with raw materials that are controlled in their quality, price, and abundance (among other controls). If any of these raw materials don’t lead to maximum profit, they can be adjusted through negotiations with the supplier. Would the widget company allow the widget to leave the plant every evening to be influenced and changed outside of [its] controlled environment? A school’s only ‘product’ is the work and environment that [it provides] for students. So, unless businesses are willing to have no control over their raw materials, allow outside influences, be willing to make sure every widget is perfect, and still call the widget their ‘product,’ the term should not be used in comparisons.”

“A very important component of the business model is missing from this analysis, and that has to do with the supply side of the equation,” said friedma. “In education we have no control over the quality of the students who arrive at the classroom door. Some years ago, I read a great analogy which used the dentist-patient relationship as a model. A good dentist can go wonders to help her patient go through life with all her teeth, however, the patient needs to follow the dentist’s orders—brush her teeth the appropriate number of times a day and in a proper manner, floss regularly, abstain from inappropriate foods, etc. If the patient doesn’t follow the advice and her teeth decay, is it the fault of the dentist? Should we remove the dentist’s license to practice because of the patient’s failure?”

For more school reform news:

ED to unions, districts: Can’t we all just get along?

Expert: Federal school reform plan is wrong

School Reform Center at eSN Online

“In education, we work with whatever raw products we get and try our best to make the best quality end product possible,” said Sharon Marlow. “Would we set a standard that every child must ‘walk’ across the stage to earn a diploma?  No, because the one in a wheelchair cannot. … How long could a business stay solvent if [it] had similar expectations? Businesses project profit, see how the markets are faring, then adjust their projections up or down based on that market analysis. … Education just sets the same standard for everyone and calls those who do not meet those projected expectations FAILURES!”

“Public schools must take all students:  the mentally challenged, physically challenged, the emotionally disturbed, the gifted and talented … or any other label, as well as the average, normal student—though I think few fit into that category,” said Janet Witcher. “When businesses make a product, they start out with the best product. Educators can’t, don’t, and won’t say, ‘You are damaged goods—I won’t take you to educate’ or ‘Your parent won’t, or can’t, help you, so just go away.’  Business can, and does, say that. Private schools and charter schools also say that.”