What Los Angeles Teachers Are Fighting For is What NC Teachers Are Fighting For

If you did not know, UTLA (the United Teachers of Los Angeles) will be going on strike starting tomorrow. And like the “strikes” that happened in West Virginia, Arizona, and Oklahoma and the march in North Carolina, the issue isn’t really all about teacher pay – it’s about funding schools fully.

Dr. Diane Ravitch posted on her blog a report from Capital & Main out of California called “Why a Teachers Strike in Los Angeles Could Bring Big Rewards as Well as Risks.”

If you marched in North Carolina on May 16th, then you will see the similarities between what is happening in North Carolina and Los Angeles.

If Los Angeles’ public school teachers go on strike Monday, they will face off against a school district headed by superintendent Austin Beutner, a multimillionaire investment banker and former L.A. Times publisher with no experience in education policy. Perhaps more important, this strike will play out on an education landscape that has radically changed since 1989, when the United Teachers Los Angeles union last walked out. Foremost has been the national rise of charter schools — which, in California, are tax-supported, nonprofit schools that operate within public school districts, yet with far less oversight and transparency than traditional schools. Only a fraction of charter schools are unionized, a situation preferred by the charters’ most influential supporters, who include some of California’s wealthiest philanthropists.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Kent Wong, executive director of the University of California, Los Angeles’ Labor Center, notes that UTLA’s demands have moved away from larger raises and toward more funding to alleviate the deep education cuts that have been made over the years.

“It is important to understand the bigger forces at work here,” said Wong, who added that the pro-charter forces have invested millions of dollars to elect a pro-charter majority on the Los Angeles school board to shift resources from public schools to charters.

 

All strikes are risky undertakings and it’s an axiom that no one wins a strike. But a UTLA walkout would dramatically raise the stakes by casting the strike as a challenge to the creeping absorption of public schools by private charter management organizations.

“A strike is a big deal,” Wong said, because “you have this massive privatization scheme that’s been gutting support for public education and resources for public education. That’s the broader scenario that’s at stake here.”

Massive privatization scheme? That’s not just happening in Los Angeles.

It’s happening in NC.

la teachers

 

Teachers Advocated for Public Schools in 2018, Just Like in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014….And We Can Do More in 2019.

  • NCAE formed in 1970. Almost 50 years strong.
  • NCAE Memberships and drives.
  • Sit-ins and Walk-ins.
  • Decline to Sign.
  • Court Cases Won on Behalf of public teachers.
  • We ❤ Public Schools.
  • Wearing Red on Wednesdays.
  • Students Deserve More March.
  • Moral Mondays.
  • Rallies.
  • 2016 Election for a pro-public education governor.
  • May 16th.
  • Op-eds.
  • Blogs.
  • 2018 Elections to break veto-proof majorities.
  • And every conversation between a public school teacher or staff member with another public school teacher or staff member or even a community member to let them know what positive impacts public schools have in our communities.

And now it is 2019 and as important as ever.

If you are an NCAE member or a public school advocate, then consider coming to a regional meeting of the Respect For Public Education Initiative.

respect for public ed

A day of connecting, learning, and collective planning to win the public schools our students deserve led by the North Carolina Association of Educators for all public school educators, students, parents, and community supporters – 10 AM to 4 PM .
o January 19th→ Raleigh
o January 26th→ Asheville
o February 2nd→ Charlotte and Greenville

And if you are planning on attending, please fill out the this Google Form to help organizers prepare.

Advocacy started many years ago. It is still going. And it will get stronger in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raleigh, Permanently Fix Class Size Chaos and Stop Using Our Students As Political Pawns

chess

Remember last February? That’s when a “fix” for the class size mandate was “agreed” upon by both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly that was presented as a welcome outcome.

On the surface, it was a victory for parents, advocates, and schools in that the mandate will be pushed back for a while and some extra funding for “specials” teachers is being given.

But during that press-conference in which Sen. Chad Barefoot announced with carefully prepared and partisan comments the “fix,” he negated to tell North Carolinians what else was attached to the bill that NC democrats were never privy to (http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article199207129.html).

That link not only gives you a video of Barefoot’s press conference; it also links to Lynn Bonner’s report that further explores HB90’s reach.

Long-sought help for schools struggling to lower class sizes is now tied up with a controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline fund and a power struggle over control of elections boards.

A bill proposed Thursday would take $58 million that energy companies building a pipeline through Eastern North Carolina are expected to give state government as part of a deal Gov. Roy Cooper negotiated, and distribute it to school districts in eight counties the pipeline would run through. Cooper calls it a mitigation fund to offset environmental effects of the pipeline, but Republicans repeatedly called it a “slush fund.”

House Bill 90 also makes changes to the state elections board. The changes are the response to Republicans’ recent loss in the state Supreme Court in a ruling that said their earlier attempt to reconstitute the board was unconstitutional. In the latest iteration, the elections board would have nine members, including one member not affiliated with a political party.

But to Barefoot and other GOP members of the NCGA, the day was really about bragging about a class-size fix. A short-term solution to a problem that was manufactured and lied about.

Throughout most of the last calendar year people like Barefoot, Berger, and Moore have been yelling that the class size mandate has been funded in the past, yet there was absolutely no proof of that. One only has to read the work of Kris Nordstrom and see that those claims were not only baseless, but now are revealed to be the very smokescreen for today’s announcement.

What happened was that the GOP education reformers took credit for a temporary solution to a problem that they purposefully used to position themselves to pass partisan legislature to help them remain in power despite the gerrymandering and doublespeak.

And yes, it is politics. But public school kids were the pawns. They made it look like they were listening to the public, but it seems more than orchestrated.

Think of Craig Horn’s statements earlier in 2018 that a “fix” was coming only to be rebuffed by Berger. That is until more came out about the ruling of the state supreme court on the state elections board. They needed that time to figure out how to allow a fix that they have been holding in their back pocket to a problem they originally created could be used to offset their political loss.

And again, the kids were the pawns.

They have been all along.

And class-size chaos is coming back. That fix was temporary. The problem could be permanent. Because it was an unfunded mandate to being with and because the 2018 NCGA sessions ramrodded bills through like the Local Municipalities Charter bill (that allows property taxes to be used more in funding schools), local LEA’s, school boards, and county commissioners will be having to fight even more to help fully fund schools.

Remember the statements  from Mark Johnson’s “less than stellar” op-ed from a February 2018 issue of News & Observer ?

And some of those tasked with making schools better are more focused on preserving tired partisan wedges….

Nothing was more partisan than what the people who empower and enable Johnson  (who never has really said anything about the class size mandate) did last February.

Now that the next session of the NCGA has convened without the veto-proof majorities that were in place for many years, class-size chaos can be fixed permanently – by fully funding the mandate, keeping specials in the schools, and stopping the use of students as political pawns for a partisan agenda.

Sen. Berger, Stop Trying To Copy Jeb Bush’s Failed Education Reforms

The recent report to the State Board of Education this week once again proved to our state that the Read to Achieve initiative championed by Phil Berger has failed to do what it was promoted to do.

Kris Nordstrom sums it up best from a report posted yesterday.

In October, researchers from NC State’s Friday Institute for Educational Innovation helped to confirm what many educational advocates have long claimed: North Carolina’s Read to Achieve program is a failure. This week’s State Board of Education meeting included a presentation on the evaluation, which served as an important wake-up call to North Carolina’s policymakers. However the evaluation – while rigorous and well-written – leaves many important questions unanswered.

The Read to Achieve program, created by the 2012 budget bill, is an effort to improve early-grades’ reading proficiency by refusing to promote students who fail the state’s third grade reading test. Read to Achieve was based on a similar initiative from Florida and was championed by Senator Phil Berger.

Based on one similar to Florida? Yep. A Jeb Bush model.

From Wednesday’s N&O:

The General Assembly passed Read to Achieve legislation in 2012. It was modeled on literacy efforts in other states, including the “Just Read, Florida!” program created by former Gov. Jeb Bush in 2001. 

Not surprising that this initiative was given so much “support” from Berger and others who share his political platform including Mark Johnson, the state superintendent who is most enabled by Sen. Berger.

But that’s not the only “reform” we borrowed from Jeb Bush and disgustingly made our own. For those who are unaware, Jeb Bush is the overall architect and champion of a school performance grading system that NC models its program after. Those school performance grades are central to the school report card system that state superintendent Mark Johnson so eagerly wants to take ownership of.

And those school performance grades are helping advance a politically partisan effort to privatize the North Carolina public school system that is fully endorsed by Berger.

Public Schools First NC tweets this graphic every once in a while to remind us about the school performance grades:

Budget fact

Those school performance grades place a lot of emphasis on achievement scores of amorphous, one-time testing rather than student growth throughout the entire year.

Read to Achieve is supposed to help our students read well by the end of third grade when they are given the first round of those major tests used to measure “achievement” – in fact, one of them is this:

  1. North Carolina End of Grade Exam English / Language Arts- Grade 3

That “achievement” measurement then goes into helping calculate those school performance grades.

Funny how an initiative borrowed from Jeb Bush and implemented in a way to literally fail students actually helps fuel another Jeb Bush-inspired reform that helps people like Berger create even more excuses to start more educational reforms.

And we still look to Jeb for “help.”

Like just this past June when Johnson entertained Jeb Bush and a multitude of other politicians who have made it their job to privatize public education in North Carolina.

meeting1

jebmark1

That same week Johnson laid off 40 people from the Department of Public Instruction due to a budget cut made by many lawmakers in the same room as Johnson and Bush in a year where the state supposedly had a surplus.

In that meeting Bush said,

“There are 50 state Senate presidents in the country,” Bush said to Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, after the senator introduced him. “I can’t think of one who has done more for education reform than you” (https://www.ednc.org/2018/06/27/new-education-organization-brings-jeb-bush-to-town/). 

What he should have said was, “I can’t think of anyone who has done more TO education through reform than you… except me.”

Realistically, the best thing Jeb Bush has ever done for public education in North Carolina is prove how much poverty affects our pubic school students’ ability to learn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About that “Most public employee teachers are in these positions because they lack the talent to compete in the private sector” comment…

The Charlotte Observer and News & Observer ran a piece on teacher voices this week called “How North Carolina’s teachers are making their voices heard.”

It highlights just a few of the thousands of people who have advocated for public schools here in NC this past year. It is by no means even a hint at a complete list of those people or entities who make the largest positive impact on public schools.

In fact, I would argue that those who affect the most positive change in many respects will never have their names or organizations known on a wide basis.

But what the article does highlight is that it is a new year and asks if the momentum that was gained last year will continue this year. And the article is a reminder that many in North Carolina do not believe that public education teachers are deserving of the changes so many of us are fighting for.

One of the writers of the article mentioned above is T. Keung Hui of the N&O. He tweeted out an email he received in response to the article that is rather eye-opening and not surprising at the same time.

tweet

Most public employee teachers are in these positions because they lack the talent to compete in the private sector. Never in the history of humankind have so few demand so much, from so many, for so little…

Such statements are some of the very reasons that I will keep advocating for public schools.

I could maybe respond by saying that some of the most talented people I have ever come across are teachers and that maybe that talent was matched with a fueled passion to teach which culminated in public service.

I could maybe respond by saying 20,000+ people in Raleigh on May 16th doesn’t sound like a “few.”

I could maybe respond by saying that what we have demanded is really just fully funding public schools.

I could maybe respond by saying that that hyperbole concerning the “history of humankind” is not lost on me.

I could maybe respond by saying that the inherent ignorance displayed by this proves how valuable having an education really is and that the reasoning he/she attempts to use to put down teachers really is proof that public education is not respected as it should be.

Yet I will respond by saying that I would teach that person’s student if that was the case.

But first, I might ask this person if he/she would be willing to become a long-term substitute teacher in an underfunded school where many in the student population are affected by poverty and then have his/her name attached to the test scores.

Then I will just carry on – teaching.

 

 

 

What Happened In Rocky Mount – NC Needs More Regulations on Charter Schools

rocky mount

From the Rocky Mount Telegram on January 8th, 2019:

Teachers at the now defunct Global Achiever School will not be able to look to the state for recourse as they wait to see if they will be paid the money owed to them.

“Just as with district schools, the state allots the funds but the entity — the local education agency or charter school — is the employer. What recourse is available to employees would be a matter of the particulars of their employment agreement with their employer and state law,” said Drew Elliot, communications director for the state Department of Public Instruction.

Global Achievers School, the second charter school to open in Nash County, opened its doors in August, lost its state charter in November and closed on Dec. 14, as required by the state. The State Board of Education voted to withdraw the school’s charter because it did not meet the minimum attendance threshold and board members were concerned about the school’s financial condition. 

The rest of the story can be found here.

What is eye-opening is that it opened this past August and it already has failed.

But what is really eye-opening is:

Teachers and staff member have been informed by the charter school board that as of now, they will not be paid for services rendered in the month of December or for the 10 percent cut that was taken from their paychecks in November in an effort to address cash flow issues.

And those teachers cannot just easily walk into another teaching job in traditional public schools.

And what happens with those students who were there? Yes, they can go to the local traditional schools, but half of the school year is over.

Charter schools in NC need to be more regulated.

 

North Carolina’s Intentional Misuse of Charter Schools: They Are For Experimentation, Not Competition

“Charter schools were designed to foster competition with districts.”

The above was stated in the News & Observer yesterday by Dr. Terry Stoops of the John Locke Foundation in a report entitled “Popularity of charter schools is causing this NC school district to lose students.

And it’s not true. In fact, it is disingenuous.

As was reported by the N&O:

Durham Public Schools have gone from having about 33,000 students in 2014 to about 32,000 students this school year, with around half of that drop in enrollment in the past year alone. In contrast, charter school enrollment by Durham students has more than doubled in the past decade and increased by around a third since 2014.

The situation in Durham mirrors statewide trends where traditional public school enrollment is dropping as charter school attendance grows. Locally, school districts such as Wake and Johnston counties are still growing but at slower rates because of students opting for education alternatives such as charter schools.

Of all of the quotes and stats that were shared in the article, what was communicated by Stoops in the aforementioned quote stands out the most. As the vice president of research for the Libertarian think tank John Locke Foundation, his job is to defend  “school choice” as it is a staple of the ideology of his group and supporters.

And while it is expected that Stoops would tout the “competition” angle to improving public schools, he misinforms the public about the true origins of charter schools: they were designed to be experimental campuses to find new and different ways of reaching students. They were supposed to be part of the actual school district and successful practices found were to be brought back to the entire school system.

Charter schools were not designed to create competition. They were designed to foster collaboration and exploration and sharing. And there are some in this state that do just that and they are fantastic, but creating a charter school just to promote “school choice” is erroneous.

Funny that a report like this come on the heels the passing in a lame duck special session of the municipal charter school bill championed by Bill Brawley in Mecklenberg County.

Funny that reports are showing that charter schools around the nation are actually abetting the re-segregation of student populations. A couple of years ago, Lt. Dan Forest actually told DPI to “reissue” its report on charter schools because it was less than positive.

Stoops then makes yet another interesting claim in that report:

“Instead of rising to that competition, districts would rather try to find ways to undermine charters with regulations.”

Regulations?  How about maybe creating an equal playing field. Whether Stoops wants to admit it or not, there are lots of differences between traditional public schools and charter schools. In fact, Public Schools First NC has a fairly comprehensive list.

From https://www.publicschoolsfirstnc.org/resources/fact-sheets/the-facts-on-charter-schools/:

However, unlike traditional public schools, charter schools:

  • Are not governed by elected officials; for-profit companies may manage them, and there is no requirement that board members reside in North Carolina.
  • Have no curriculum requirements.
  • Can modify their academic calendar.
  • Have no restrictions on class size.
  • Can expand by one grade level beyond what is currently offered without approval from the NC State Board of Education.
  • Are not required to have all teachers licensed—only 50 percent of teachers must be licensed.
  • Are not required to hold teacher workdays for professional training and development.
  • Are not required to provide transportation to students, and those that do provide transportation are not subject to the same safety standards as are traditional public schools.
  • Are not required to provide free and reduced price lunches for students living in poverty.
  • Are exempt from public bidding laws that protect how tax dollars are spent. There is no transparency in budgeting since charter school do not have to tell the public how they spend public money.

If regulations mean creating more transparency, then districts have every right to undermine a shady system. In a state that has what is considered the least transparent voucher system in the United States, an Educational Savings Account program that lacks oversight, and virtual charters that have shown absolutely terrible results, then asking for more “regulations” from newly elected officials is absolutely right.

And it’s worth mentioning that the N&O report did say that Stoops is connected to a charter school in Wake County.

“…whose wife leads a new charter school scheduled to open this year in Wake County.”

It’s called Carolina Charter Academy.

carolinacharter

It’s part of Team CFA.

Team CFA is based in Oregon. John Bryan, the founder of the Team CFA, has been donating money left and right to specific politicians and PAC’s here in North Carolina to extend the charter industry including Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (through a PAC). He spear-headed an attempt to win the contract of the ISD school in Robeson that was recently given a green light last year with Dr. Eric Hall as the superintendent. He would report straight to Mark Johnson under provisions of HB4.  (http://amp.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article177836091.html).

By the way, Wake County is home to the largest number of national board certified teachers for a district in the entire United States.

Oh, and Bill Brawley was defeated in the last election.

Growth Vs. Proficiency – NC’s Toxic School Performance Grading System

Simply put, North Carolina should allow student growth to weigh more in the formula that measures school performance grades. (Honestly, we should get rid of it).

Last March, a bill passed the General Assembly House K-12 Education Committee that according to an EdNC.org report from Alex Granados “would change the calculation of the grades from 80 percent academic performance and 20 percent growth to a 50-50 split” (https://www.ednc.org/2017/03/15/house-committee-tackles-school-performance-grade-change/).

Granados explained,

“Academic performance is measured by students’ proficiency on statewide tests whereas academic growth is how much academic progress students make during the year.”

For those who suffer from Betsy DeVos’s “I Don’t Know The Difference Between Proficiency And Growth Syndrome,” that means more of an emphasis on whether students are growing from the beginning of the year to the end of the school year.

And this would have been a step in the right direction for a group of lawmakers who have shown to be less than proficient when it comes to helping public education.

Proficiency is measured by tests. And no, I am not advocating that we eliminate all tests, but when a state can administer tests that are constructed arbitrarily, many times graded by computer, converted by unknown algorithms, and mostly unexplained with ambiguous score reports, then feedback on improvement is almost nonexistent.

growth proficiency

Tweak an algorithm here and a cut score there and quite a number of school performance grades change. Proficiency becomes a luck of the draw. Growth then becomes less emphasized when growth is what we are after the whole time.

Athletes train to get better. Professionals work to get better. Skills are worked on to become sharper. They seek growth.

And to think that all of the students who walk in to a classroom come in at the same level is ludicrous. Too many factors affecting their academic performance outside of class weigh heavily on their achievement on the very items that lawmakers say measure “proficiency” – hunger, poverty, health, safety, emotional and mental health, the list goes on.

Ironically, lawmakers can do a lot more about those factors and actually ensure that there is more potential for growth in many of our students.

What lawmakers should maybe consider is that performance gets better when students grow. And if proficiency is measured by moving targets like standardized tests, then what is considered grade level can pretty much be summed up in the same manner.

Are those students growing? That’s the question.

If schools in this state which received “D’s” and “F’s” were growing students at great lengths but still were not at what are considered grade level, then I would consider those schools and teachers a success. Considering what factors they were against, what odds they faced, and what resources they had to gather on their own, they put students first. They saw progress and had faith in a process.

Where Raleigh has looked at a bottom line, those teachers saw real people.

The school performance grading system is flawed. It should be changed.

Better yet, it should be eliminated.

“Charter schools were designed to foster competition with districts” – No They Weren’t: Concerning the N&O Report on Charters in Durham County

“Charter schools were designed to foster competition with districts.”

The above was stated in the News & Observer today by Dr. Terry Stoops of the John Locke Foundation in a report entitled “Popularity of charter schools is causing this NC school district to lose students.

And it’s not true. In fact, it is disingenuous.

As was reported by the N&O:

Durham Public Schools have gone from having about 33,000 students in 2014 to about 32,000 students this school year, with around half of that drop in enrollment in the past year alone. In contrast, charter school enrollment by Durham students has more than doubled in the past decade and increased by around a third since 2014.

The situation in Durham mirrors statewide trends where traditional public school enrollment is dropping as charter school attendance grows. Locally, school districts such as Wake and Johnston counties are still growing but at slower rates because of students opting for education alternatives such as charter schools.

Of all of the quotes and stats that were shared in the article, what was communicated by Stoops in the aforementioned quote stands out the most. As the vice president of research for the Libertarian think tank John Locke Foundation, his job is to defend  school choice as it is a staple of the ideology of his group and supporters.

And while it is expected that Stoops would tout the “competition” angle to improving public schools, he misinforms the public about the true origins of charter schools: they were designed to be experimental campuses to find new and different ways of reaching students. They were supposed to be part of the actual school district and successful practices found were to be brought back to the entire school system.

Charter schools were not designed to create competition. They were designed to foster collaboration and exploration and sharing. And there are some in this state that do just that and they are fantastic, but creating a charter school just to promote “school choice” is erroneous.

Funny that a report like this come on the heels of the passing in a lame duck special session of the municipal charter school bill championed by Bill Brawley in Mecklenberg County.

Funny that reports are showing that charter schools around the nation are actually abetting the re-segregation of student populations. A couple of years ago, Lt. Dan Forest actually told DPI to “reissue” its report on charter schools because it was less than positive.

Stoops then makes yet another interesting claim in today’s report:

“Instead of rising to that competition, districts would rather try to find ways to undermine charters with regulations.”

Regulations?  How about maybe creating an equal playing field. Whether Stoops wants to admit it or not, there are lots of differences between traditional public schools and charter schools. In fact, Public Schools First NC has a fairly comprehensive list.

From https://www.publicschoolsfirstnc.org/resources/fact-sheets/the-facts-on-charter-schools/:

However, unlike traditional public schools, charter schools:

  • Are not governed by elected officials; for-profit companies may manage them, and there is no requirement that board members reside in North Carolina.
  • Have no curriculum requirements.
  • Can modify their academic calendar.
  • Have no restrictions on class size.
  • Can expand by one grade level beyond what is currently offered without approval from the NC State Board of Education.
  • Are not required to have all teachers licensed—only 50 percent of teachers must be licensed.
  • Are not required to hold teacher workdays for professional training and development.
  • Are not required to provide transportation to students, and those that do provide transportation are not subject to the same safety standards as are traditional public schools.
  • Are not required to provide free and reduced price lunches for students living in poverty.
  • Are exempt from public bidding laws that protect how tax dollars are spent. There is no transparency in budgeting since charter school do not have to tell the public how they spend public money.

If regulations mean creating more transparency, then districts have every right to undermine a shady system. In a state that has what is considered the least transparent voucher system in the United States, an Educational Savings Account program that lacks oversight, and virtual charters that have shown absolutely terrible results, then asking for more “regulations” from newly elected officials is absolutely right.

And it’s worth mentioning that the N&O report did say that Stoops is connected to a charter school in Wake County.

“…whose wife leads a new charter school scheduled to open this year in Wake County.”

It’s called Carolina Charter Academy.

carolinacharter

It’s part of Team CFA.

Team CFA is based in Oregon. John Bryan, the founder of the Team CFA, has been donating money left and right to specific politicians and PAC’s here in North Carolina to extend the charter industry including Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (through a PAC). He spear-headed an attempt to win the contract of the ISD school in Robeson that was recently given a green light last year with Dr. Eric Hall as the superintendent. He would report straight to Mark Johnson under provisions of HB4.  (http://amp.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article177836091.html).

By the way, Wake County is home to the largest number of national board certified teachers for a district in the entire United States.

Oh, and Bill Brawley was defeated in the last election.

 

 

 

 

 

Public Schools Aren’t Businesses – Don’t Believe Me? Try Running a Business as a Public School

Receiving constructive and unconstructive criticism is an inescapable reality when one writes a blog or puts out opinion pieces about public education in various media. But whether that feedback is presented as an argument to inquire, assert, or demean, it does further the conversation.

In many instances it exposes the many myths concerning public education. And those myths need to be debunked or at least exposed because when speculation becomes gospel, students and schools suffer.

business-for-sale-1

One of the more common arguments reformers and critics of public education offer is that schools would function better if they operated more like a business, especially when it comes to fiscal policies and employee retention.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Every one of the assertions about adopting a business model in public schools that I have encountered always places the schools in the scope of a business. Maybe that paradigm needs to be shifted. If you want to truly envision a business model in schools, you might want to view all angles of the argument.

Therefore, I invite you to try and see if you could run a business like a public school. Maybe the differences between a public service and private enterprise might become more apparent because you’re not even comparing apples to oranges. You’re comparing apples to rocks.

Be prepared to open up every book and have everything audited. If you are a public school, then every cent, every resource, and every line item is open to scrutiny by a variety of inspectors. Be prepared to be constantly audited and have those findings be available and open to interpretation to people outside of your business, even when those people may not know how your business operates.

Be prepared to publicize all of the salaries of the people who work for you. ALL OF THEM. Furthermore, there would no negotiating on salaries. In fact they are all set, not by market standards or demand of talent, but by the government. Furthermore, the salaries of all of your employees will be fodder for politicians and the public alike, especially in election years.

You must allow every stockholder to have equal power on how your run your business even if they own just one share. Actually, you won’t have stockholders. You have stakeholders. And everyone is a stakeholder because they pay taxes. And stakeholders have voting rights. You constantly have to answer to these stakeholders except everybody – EVERYBODY – is your stakeholder. In essence, you answer to everybody, even the homeowners and properties owners when they see that the value of their homes and property might be closely tied to the schools that service the area.

Be prepared to abide by protocols and procedures established by people outside of the business. These aren’t the rules and regulations or laws established by governing bodies, but rather curricula and other evaluation systems that are placed on your business by people who really have no background in your field.

You will not get to choose your raw materials. If your business makes a product, you do not get to negotiate how your materials come to you. You do not get to reject materials based on quality. You must take what is given to you and you must produce a product that is of the same quality as a business that may have choice materials. That is unless you are a private school. But they get to charge money. Your business doesn’t.

Be prepared to have everything open to the press. You are front page news, not only for the good, but for the negative, and all things perceived as negative.

You will not get to advertise or market yourself. Unless you are a magnet, charter, religious, or private school, you will not get to target potential students. At least you save on marketing expense.

Even though you are supposedly “fully” funded, you will have to raise funds because you are not really fully funded. If you can name a traditional public school that does not have to raise funds in some way to pay for needed resources, then I will gladly retract this assertion.

Your work hours, schedule, and calendar will be dictated by those who do not even work for your business. In fact, you will only get to have your doors open for 180 days (or equivalent hours). That’s the law. Even when the demands of being successful pile upon themselves like the responsibilities of teachers grow, you only get that 180 days. If more time is needed, you do not get to incentivize with overtime pay. But don’t worry about that. Your employees will already be working those extra hours – that is if they are like teachers.

You will have to communicate with all of your clients’ parents and guardians. That’s right, you will have to call the parents and caretakers of all of your customers when they do not get their products or when they do use those products correctly.

And finally you will have to understand that YOU WILL NOT MAKE A MONETARY PROFIT. Why? Because you are not a business any longer. You are now a public service.