To the editor:
What are Best Practices?
When determining what practices are best for business those practices are based on the business' goals. Is the venture for-profit or not-for-profit? Is it product based or service based? Is the goal to be competitive or dominant?
How many mom-and-pop grocery stores are there today? Competition is between large grocery chains. When did you last see a no-brand gas station? Large corporations are designed to corner the market, drive little business out and compete with each other.
Schools have been affected by this philosophy. It began with schools of choice: a concept of competing for students by offering a superior education. Most taking advantage of choice, however, have done so for reasons unrelated to academics. Every area district believes itself to be the best. The truth is that every district in our area offers a first rate education.
Michigan's public schools are under attack. The attacker is, surprisingly, the Michigan government. The "best practices" designed by the governor do not deal with improving learning. They deal with making education cheaper. Inadequate funding has led to fewer school employees and larger class sizes.
Even though they are not supposed to be for-profit, schools are being forced to run as if they were. They have been given a formula for failure by the conservative dominated state government.
Why? If schools fail, Gov. Snyder and his cronies can turn them over to private for-profit companies. Where do students fit in? Private schools can pick and choose their students. Corporations are finding a "new frontier"; public sector funding.
Best practices for schools should be about improving the educational product for the students - all students. Private schools will recruit only the brightest, the most talented and the "best connected" students. Why risk having test scores lowered by accepting a common student?
Since Massachusetts passed its School Law in colonial days, public schools have been charged with educating all children. Private schools have existed as well. They were established to educate certain subsections of society like a religious group, a specific gender or the economically elite.
Because private schools can limit enrollment, they have always been funded privately, and they should remain that way.