This conversation is closed.

Should consumer-based companies like Google take over our failing education system?

If schools were administered similar to a consumer-based company like Google, where a student’s outcome was paramount to what the product is, what would the outcome be for the students; would they learn more and love what they are learning, because even Google has found a business model that even makes working fun?

  • Aug 9 2013: Take over? No. Influence? Yes. There are philosophical and actionable practices that companies like Google and Apple employ that make them successful companies. Keep in mind that while some aspects of philosophy and practice may cross pollenate, Google and Apple and in the business sector and schools are not and that means the rules are different for accountability and protection of performance.

    That being said, schools can learn from these companies. We can learn from the research that goes into creating a healthy, happy, and motivated work environment. How do you do that? You give your employees (or students in this case) autonomy (read or watch Dan Pink) over new learning. Allow people to explore things they WANT to do (or learn about) and they will be more effective at the things they HAVE to do. One other profound difference in how these companies operate compared to the vast majority of other companies is they start with WHY...they start with the purpose. Many school leaders, like many CEO's, start with WHAT and HOW. It is difficult for teachers, students, or employees to help move the ship if they don't know why they are doing it (read or watch Simon Sinek).

    Over the last year our school has begun to incorporate these two big ideas into our daily practice and we have seen some good qualitative results. We are hopeful that over the coming years we will also see some good quantitative growth.
  • thumb
    Aug 6 2013: No for-profit company will pursue a business model which has no probability of profit making.
  • Aug 6 2013: No, but the people who are responsible for teaching children (parents, then teachers, then other concerned adults) might look at Google and other big companies to see if they offer tools or techniques that might be used to improve the educational process.
  • Aug 6 2013: You just have to understand that any company that injects a plan into education where they "takeover" or "create a new school" is ultimately self-serving. They don't do non-profit just because it is a good idea, they do it so that they can get something, usually finding new talent and training them before they get picked up by someone else. You then risk only getting students who learn what the company wants them to learn and become tied to the company.

    Any private school model is also set up with the exclusion of certain groups. Meaning, not every kid gets in. Any kid who doesn't have the pre-requisite skills to join doesn't have a chance. In many cases, that is the entire low-income population unless you are going to do something to raise that level.

    Right now, private and charter schools don't do much to raise the level of the lower level kids unless that is their mission. Most cherry pick their kids and get what they want and exclude others. Thus driving a further wedge into our population between educated and not educated.

    Even the tech and skilled programs that were created and run, such as electricians and other vocational programs, were geared to train people in skills. If you want to run such a program as you propose, you better have a plan for those who fail out of the "company model".
  • thumb
    Aug 5 2013: haha. good one. education is just mass marketing these days any way and so this makes lots of sense.

    business models do not work in education simply because the two spheres have very different goals. students and their achievements are not like profit margins or black and white stats on a page, despite the majority of lay-people believing this.

    much of what is good that ed systems aim to deliver is not conveniently measurable. this makes it inconvenient to monitor effectively and most governments try to impose terribly simplistic assessment systems onto schools which are, in fact, often invalid and irrelevant. everything goes backwards from that point.