ERIC Number: ED424339
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Aug-22
Reference Count: N/A
International Business Machinations: The Consequences of Corporate Involvement in Public School Reform.
Mickelson, Roslyn Arlin
This article uses the consolidated school system of the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (North Carolina) as a strategic case study to theorize more fully the corporate role in contemporary school reform. It provides an integrative analysis of corporate participation in educational policy formation and implementation. After providing details of the Charlotte study, it presents a typology of business involvement in school reform. It then applies the typology in a concrete fashion to two specific educational policy initiatives in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The first initiative was a planned complex of four technology-rich schools adjacent to the International Business Machines (IBM) facility in Charlotte. This program, originally called Education Village, was partially funded by a $2 million grant to the schools from IBM. The second initiative was ProjectFirst, a collaboration between IBM and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Education Foundation. This project, staffed by Americorps volunteers, was designed to bring computers and technology specialists into some of the district's 22 middle schools that did not have new magnet programs. This case study illustrates why corporate involvement should neither be praised universally nor condemned uniformly. Many instances of involvement are quite helpful; others are benign, and some are actually harmful to communities and their public schools. Each corporate initiative or program plots along continua of philanthropic altruism and strategic self-interest, latent and manifest consequences, and dangers and benefits to schools and communities. The case study shows how long-term negative outcomes may result as the unintended consequence of a reform process whose design and implementation are permeated by a corporate agenda. It is possible that corporate involvement in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools may have a distinctly regional quality, since southern states tend to offer business more of a free hand. The importance of public discourse about corporate behavior is highlighted by this study. (Contains 2 tables and 60 endnotes.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A