The double bind of the education business model

Education has an outdated business model that we don’t regard.

Daily Editorial Board

Rarely do we in higher education refer to education as a business. To say such a thing invites confrontation, a push-back from students weary of being lost in an abstract bureaucracy. Yet, it invariably is a business. It consists of consumers, venders and an exchange of goods.

In no place is this clearer than in Chicago where students are just returning to public schools after a statewide teachers strike. Increased teacher workloads and decreased salaries are changing expectations in states nationwide, including Illinois and Michigan. Teachers in public schools are able to strike and petition for increased benefits like any other employee, but unlike their peers, teachers are stuck between a rock and a hard place: families with students who need to be taught and cared for and a government who must make tough budget decisions.

If this was not enough to thwart education reforms, education has rarely been touched since the No Child Left Behind Act over a decade ago.

We must remember that the duties we place upon the shoulders of educators are great, and though they are explicitly able to fight for their own benefits, they rarely have an effective way to do so. In other cultures teachers are heavily respected, yet we do not see that in our public education system now.

The business model of education requires serious reform to balance these issues. As students within a higher education system, we cannot ignore the business elements that our education relies on, and as taxpayers we should demand a better approach at the public education system that identifies the position teachers are in.