October 28, 2012
“Government should be run like a business” is a phrase commonly heard these days. I think a rational person must weigh out the specific government function before flippantly demanding business processes and procedures be applied.
That said, I do believe our public education system could benefit by providing some “customer service.” As a graduate of the East Baton Rouge public school system, my parents were the customer, although I took ownership of the product, my education. The “company,” the EBR public school system, determined what I should learn, and in what measure.
Supposedly these courses were structured to help me with my future life. Correct? Yet in the 40 years since I graduated high school, I’ve never been part of a “customer service survey” to find out if my education has been of benefit, nor have I ever known anyone who was surveyed by a public school system to rank the effectiveness their education.
With all the debate about the fate of public schools, wouldn’t it make sense to go back and find out which parts of our education were actually of benefit? Which is more important to know, the state capital of Rhode Island or to be able to balance a checkbook? How has knowing Columbus “discovered” America in 1492 helped me in my career? Perhaps academics have strayed so far from practicality that it’s time for some “dumb” people to run the public school system.