ERIC Number: ED500465
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Dec
Business Goes to School: How the Private Sector Can Improve K-12 Education. Education Outlook. No. 5
Hess, Frederick M.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
This brief argues that the best way for businesses to help fix the education system is to stop backing a system that does not work, insist on accountability, and support entrepreneurs who will shake things up. It recommends five things that business can do to improve education. First, business has expertise in performance evaluation, human resources, information technology, and data systems, and thus can pass on lessons gained from decades of hard-won experience to schools. Second, any vibrant sector requires that strong new ventures have access to venture capital, be able to secure expertise and talent, and have the opportunity to grow. The lack of resources, networks, mentoring, and a straightforward way to locate potential investors, deter potential entrepreneurs. K-12 education directs the vast majority of funds to school systems on a per-pupil basis, resulting in little support for new entrants, and thus, even innovative schools have grown too slowly. The NewSchools Venture Fund is an example of an attractive model that offers funding to new providers while tapping its own network to give strategic planning, financial modeling, and fundraising help. Third, business can get out in front on contentious education reform issues when education innovators themselves cannot. Critical leadership is what outsiders often are best equipped to provide. Fourth, business needs to get tough with school boards, superintendents, and state officials. Business leaders have too often given money, muscle, and support without demanding substantial reform in exchange. Finally, business leaders have experience and credibility on issues like accountability, compensation, and management that can allow them to serve as the voice of reason when would-be reformers champion ill-conceived notions.
Descriptors: Strategic Planning, Private Sector, Elementary Secondary Education, Educational Change, Educational Technology, Accountability, Human Resources, Partnerships in Education, School Business Relationship, Educational Policy, Change Strategies
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. 1150 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-862-5800; Fax: 202-862-7177; Web site: http://www.aei.org
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Inst. for Public Policy Research, Washington, DC.