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Volume 11, Number 1
January/February 1995

Business People and Educators Have a Lot To Learn from Each Other

 

Educators often respond with suspicion when business shows an interest in public schools. What's the business community's real purpose? Do they just want to create an education factory that will turn out willing workers rather than educated citizens?

Businesspeople in turn often harbor negative attitudes toward teachers that can make productive collaboration difficult. Many corporate executives think of teaching as an easy job with short hours, long vacations, and a general lack of standards for performance—unlike the tough, market-driven world of private enterprise. Schools would work better, they think, if only they were run more like businesses.

This climate of distrust makes it hard to get businesspeople and educators to work together on professional development for improving schools. And yet such partnerships, when they do spring up and manage to survive, offer superb opportunities for growth and learning to students and adults alike. I know, because for the past three years I have worked with the Total Quality Education Resource Group of the Ohio Department of Education, a diverse partnership of more than 50 businesspeople, superintendents, principals, teachers, support personnel, vocational educators, state officials, and union representatives. We share professional development activities and link businesses with schools.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.

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    For Further Information

    For Further Information

    Total Quality Education Resource Group, c/o Ben Lavin, Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Departments Building Room 907, 65 S. Front St., Columbus, OH 54366-0308.

    Joe Zitnik, JAZ Associates, 4760 Sentinel Dr., Brecksville, OH 44141.