Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

February 1, 2011

What is impact on education considering fact that many new leaders of #edreform are from business & not education?

#Edchat 24-01–2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

Thank you to David Weston (@informed_edu) for the #edchat summary for last week’s chat. The discussion was certainly energetic and at times polarised. As a relative newcomer to #edchat, David has given us a fresh perspective! I’m sure you will agree that the summary captures the essence of another great #edchat session! Find out more about David at the end of the post.
This was a fast and furious #edchat and covered a huge range of topics. Initial conversation centred around the implications of business principles being applied in education, and whether the values of the two worlds were compatible, with a lot of focus on whether businesses could or should invest in education and/or expect a return. Many contributors were keenly aware that education reformers often cite business and management ideas as reasons to implement change – this had clearly touched a raw nerve with some – with some discussions reflecting the wider debate in the political sphere. Aside from this tension, which ran through whole chat, there were many suggestions about areas of education that could potentially benefit from a more business-like approach, and also some thoughts about strengths within education that could be learned by business.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion: 

  • If schools promote learning and business promotes profit, can they work together?
  • Can businesspeople help foster innovation and efficiency?
  • Would a greater engagement with business end up pushing the ‘accountability’ agenda?
  • Examples of successful collaborations between business and education
  • What desired outcomes would we want from collaboration?
  • Would the risk-taking nature of business be acceptable in education?

Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

 With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@cybraryman1 – “What is the impact on education considering the fact that many new leaders of ed reform are from business & not education?”
@davidwees – “Businesses have shown themselves to be often uncaring, and lacking empathy b/c focus on bottom line. We want this for schools?”
@fliegs – “Children are not products” & “Schools are not businesses”
@rliberni – “I think the way we move children thru school sometimes makes them seem like products”
@mbaprogrms – “The methods businesses have may not work for the classroom– however, they are good leaders, so maybe we could focus on that?”
@informed_edu – “If you get business people focusing on long-term outcomes for students, it would drive better change.”
@CTuckerEnglish – “Performance and pay tend to go hand-in-hand in business world so incentive programs and merit pay are reminiscent of business model”
@slaleman – “even business doesn’t use the business model anymore…look at Google”
@jpsteltz – “Edu could learn from marketing techniques used in business. Our profession is NOT marketed well”
@SErwin – “Students pay private entities to take online classes. Why are school dist not offering them?”
@cybraryman1 – “Should businesses invest in schools financially?”
@JenVonid – “y shouldn’t schools partner w/ businesses. A large company partnered w/ a local charter skool, paid 4 all the technology, gym, etc”
@jonbergmann – “Example: Morgridge Family Foundation (Cisco) is partnering with us to share the flipped classroom model”
@ian23505 – “Local business in MA providing $10k per year for the next 5 years for tech implementation.”
@rliberni – “Does it have to be a them and us?”
@ericjuli – “Implication is bcse business leaders went to school, they are “education experts.” Must further professionalize teaching&leading”
@daveandcori – “Businesses have streamlined processes, become efficient, decreased meetings, integr tech, decrease paper – education is way behind”
@rdlln – “We had to spend $3,000 on software we didn’t need. It couldn’t be spent on anything else or saved. No business would do that.”
@Nunavut_Teacher – “Are schools letting government off the hook by getting business to fill a $ void? ”
@sram_socrates – “Education is more of a web-design while business is more linear with a defined end result”
@geraldaungst – “Business sees edu as a means of producing better employees. Our mission is larger than that.”
@wmchamberlain – “Teaching students how to learn makes them better employees than teaching them skills that get dated…”
@pete_rodrigues – “The misconception is the business want cogs – most don’t. They want thinkers”
@nsharoff – “I’m tired of everyone ‘fighting’ each other (parents-admin-teachers-students-business), let’s take the best of all & put it together”
@CTuckerEnglish “Defining “profit” is a crucial step in the process of deciding how to accurately assess that profit. What are we truly assessing?”

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

What long-term effects do we want to be having on our students?

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

WSDTechInfo:  Participate in this week’s #edchat http://bit.ly/8LXuMB

cybraryman1:  Need more school business partnerships like Open Doors http://cybraryman.com/careerssubjects.html

sbenglin: Englin tells it like it is re: education funding and investing in human capital: http://ow.ly/3JX9X#edchat #educationnation

davidwees:  @informed_edu We don’t need a innovation in education. We need to start using what we know works. http://is.gd/GJKxy5

informed_edu: @davidwees Yes Long term impact is good. Education focuses on short-term. We need ’10-year survival rates’ http://ow.ly/3JXjN

edutopiahubert: I think ed and bus needs each other… “America’s high schools are obsolete,” Bill Gates. http://bit.ly/fMlM30

thechalkface:  What if we treated doctors the way we treated teachers? http://huff.to/hwRcSS

daveandcori: CBIA Externship program – http://j.mp/fLKAMe #edchat connecting business and education

informed_edu:  I learned a huge amount by reading about business and healthcare. Some lesson can transfer, and should #edchat http://ow.ly/3JXjN

edutopiahubert:  Businesses can also lend out their human resources. http://bit.ly/fJ2hIG #edchat

jbrogley:  I’m taking a tour this spring of this business. Their campus along is innovative and inspiring. http://bit.ly/c9dM15

cybraryman1:  My students gained a lot from our Health Careers program http://cybraryman.com/hcp.html

RobertSAllen1: #edchat everyone see #unbound right now if you are not already. Change is happening and business (non and for) are … http://bit.ly/heUINc

WorldofLearning: For more information on the Learning #Unbound summit, visit http://knowledgeworks.org/conversation

davidwees: RT @StepanVdovine: business and schools can’t be welded at the hip – http://bit.ly/a8BpP7

davidwees:  Want teachers to trust your business more? Fine: Help clean this up => http://is.gd/EYdjVo

ViSandford:  A great community effort to support literacy. “Canmore-based comic company telling Canadian stories.” http://ow.ly/3JZt7 

eSchoolNews:  Future murky for virtual classrooms http://ow.ly/3JPUF

cybraryman1: My iPad page http://cybraryman.com/ipad.html. Great device to use while on the road. Great chatting while my wife drives in Georgia #edchat

shankerblog: Yale ends teacher programs due 2 lack of interest yet 18%ofstudents apply to Teach for America http://bit.ly/hw3hgQ 

CoachInTheLab:  http://bit.ly/fOZS00 <– The new “plan” for education here. Read it and tell me what you think… most educators are up in arms. #edchat

web20classroom: All You Educational Chat Participants-We Have A Project For You: http://bit.ly/hqShZa   #edchat #ntchat #ELTChat #mathchat

 David Weston (@informed_edu) is a secondary school Maths and Physics teacher and data manager at Watford Grammar School for Boys in the UK, with a Masters in Engineering from Oxford University. He runs an education data consultancy where he is producing training and analysis tools for classroom practitioners and school leaders. David is an honorary associate researcher at Brunel University and is looking at effective use of data. He is an e-learning enthusiast, and has interests in learning and leadership, and has consulted for a number of education-related start-ups. David lives in north London with his civil partner, is a former professional latin-american dancer, and, in 2009, a grateful recipient of a liver transplant after some years fighting off a rare liver disease. Find out more and follow his blog at http://www.informededucation.com

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 1,000 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!



  1. The #edchat discussion on applying the business model to education was interesting and left me feeling torn as an educator. I want to articulate my dual opinions on a couple of the issues presented in the discussion last Tuesday.

    1. I recognize the need to hold teachers accountable for their work in the classroom. This is a job and as such we should be evaluated for the quality of work we do. Despite my feeling that evaluation is necessary, it is the way in which teachers are evaluated that concerns me. States design standardized exams to collect data on student performance. Most teachers agree that these tests are not an accurate indication of what their students know. Teachers resent having to “teach to the test” to increase test scores and secure their jobs. Alternative and more authentic ways to evaluate teachers might include implementation of a mentoring program- like BTSA in California- to support new teachers, regular observations by an administrator who can then provide constructive feedback and the inclusion of student voices in the evaluation process.

    Teaching to a test is the best way to drain the creativity from the teaching profession and create apathy in students. Instead allowing teachers the opportunity to cultivate their craft with support from and collaboration with their peers is the best way to create interesting, dynamic classes.

    2. The business model as applied to education requires that the “clients”- or students in this case- are adequately prepared for life beyond the classroom. They should leave school with 21st century skills necessary to a successful transition into this increasingly global economy. Unfortunately, most schools are way behind on the technology curve. Teachers are left with antiquated teaching tools- old, slow computers and ancient transparency machines- that do not allow them to explore and exploit the plethora of tools available to them via the Internet.

    Last year, I incorporated a structured online discussion forum- Collaborize Classroom- into my own class to create a blended learning model. I was feeling so overwhelmed by growing class sizes, piles of paperwork and dwindling resources that I felt compelled to try something new. I was able to do this because I leveraged the technology my students bring to the table. As an educator responsible for preparing my students for life, I should have access to the newest technology to ensure my teaching is relevant and my students are developing skills they need.

    In addition to not having the necessary technology, staff development days are the first things on the chopping block when budgets are cut. This year my school has 2 instead of 6 staff development days. There is very little money for teachers to attend conferences to learn from the expertise of others. If we want teachers to be effective, efficient and innovative, we must provide opportunities for them to continue learning.

    I do think that there are opportunities for businesses to work with schools to better prepare students for today’s job market. The program implemented in Ireland- as described in the video above- to reduce drop out rates and provide students an opportunity to work with business people to explore job opportunities is a fabulous idea. The key is that it must be a true partnership. Many in education feel that business model is not a good fit for education, but I think both realms could learn a lot from each other.


    Comment by Catlin Tucker — February 4, 2011 @ 12:38 am | Reply

    • Hi Catlin and thank you for such a comprehensive comment about the issues experienced by educators, learners and the business world.
      I agree with many of your comments, although I have my doubts as to whether the business model as implemented in schools vis-a-vis testing etc.. really comes from the business world, but rather from some educationalist’s perception of the business world.
      I consider myself to have a foot in both camps and whenever I go to education ‘events’ I am quite struck by the fact that almost everyone there has never had a conversation with a business person or even a visit to a business yet they all proport to know what it is that businesses need (this information comes largely, I feel, from politicians who I don’t think really know either, but it sounds good!). There is no one business model and in my experience what businesses want are people who can think creatively, have good practical skills (tech and other) and can work both independently and in teams, take initiative and have common sense. I don’t believe many of these come through standard testing but do believe that they come through good, effective teaching and classroom engagement.
      As far as business is concerned I don’t think many really know what goes on in education. Teachers get a bad press as wingers and with much emphasis being placed on their long holidays which seems to make their job seem easy somehow. I think some of this might be self inflicted but a day in a classroom should easily change this opinion!
      I absolutely agree that education and business both need to get to know each other more intimately and stop second guessing what each other wants. In this way amazing projects could be undertaken to the benefit of everyone concerned.

      Comment by rliberni — February 4, 2011 @ 2:06 pm | Reply

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