Did anyone see The King's Speech? It's the true story of King George VI, who at the beginning of WWII took the throne in a very difficult and unexpected way. So, here was a man who was deathly afraid of public speaking in a role in which he had to speak. Whenever he spoke, he stammered. With the help of a completely unlicensed speech therapist, he managed to make it through his speeches and deal with his fears.
I've been a bit reluctant at times to really say what I think here, but there is one issue that keeps coming up that I have to be extremely blunt on. It is the issue of people criticizing for profit companies in education. As I've said before, I'm not a supporter of any particular education company. I'm not in favor, necessarily of education management companies. My frustration and even sometimes anger about the opposition to for profit companies is that the arguments often are based simply because the company is for profit.
So, here I go, without stammering.
For profit companies are not inherently evil. In fact, many for profit companies perform great services for their clients. Profit is often the reward for great service. We all shop at for profit companies for just about everything. We wouldn't shop at them if we weren't getting something of value. For profit companies provide jobs for people, and if they are good companies, then they hire good people--people who know what they are doing. They may well have more expertise in their fields than many people at the school districts.
Moreover, it's not just the charter realm where for profit companies exist. Public schools use for profit companies for everything, including curriculum, classroom aids, supplies, and education training and consulting. In fact, given the quality of leadership in many non-profits and public schools, it could easily be argued that the lack of a profit motive may lead some to be inefficient and ineffective.
The idea that there is really such a thing as a non-profit or an individual that is not profit motivated is simply silly. Non-profit is a government designation that means that no one directly owns the organization and therefore does not directly get money from the bottom line. It does not mean that employees are not paid well or do not receive substantial bonuses. The same is true for public school leaders. Perks and bonuses are a regular part of their compensation. Often those perks and bonuses are based on nothing more than not getting fired. Even if they get fired, their severance packages are often very nice. The fact is that individuals are just as much for profit as for profit companies. Everyone has to make their personal bottom line positive at some point (I realize that's a harsh reality for many Americans). This is exactly why unions want more money for teachers and district employees also want more money. It's not for the good of the children.
There is no good argument that for profit companies, simply for the reason that they are for profit, should not be managing a school or receiving state or government funds. It's not even a prima facie reason for denying for profit companies participation in the education world. If a school district or a school is failing, then a for profit company has every right to be considered as a means for fixing the problem.
There. I hope I didn't stammer.
Note: I work for a for profit company that provides accounting and business services to charter schools. We are NOT a management company in the traditional sense. We do not manage the school. We are an independent vendor that provides services to the school and its leadership.
Additional Note: There is nothing that I've written here that is intended to disregard the importance of respecting all people. I do not intend to offend anyone with a stammering problem. I am simply using the issue of stammering as portrayed in the movie as the result of the king's fears both from childhood and of public speaking as analogy to my occasional fear of saying what I really think here in this blog.