Home > Uncategorized > Indianapolis Star Unapologetically Promotes Business Model for Public Education

Indianapolis Star Unapologetically Promotes Business Model for Public Education

December 3, 2018

I just finished reading Arika Herron’s Indianapolis Star article describing how public schools are engaged in marketing now that Indiana has embraced school choice. Given the fact that Indiana HAS embraced choice, Ms. Herron’s article does not question the efficacy of advertising and marketing by public schools… but neither does her article offer any voice rebutting the idea. Instead, the article is full of anecdotes and quotes like this:

As the state starts treating schools more like businesses, some advocates of school choice and a more “free market” approach to education say it shouldn’t be a surprise that schools are engaging in more business-like practices.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, said Betsy Wiley, president and CEO of the Institute for Quality Education. IQE is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that advocates for school choice and has supported education reform efforts.

When they’re done right, marketing initiatives push schools to think more about the programs they offer and the needs of the families that they serve. It can also help parents and families make more informed decisions when choosing a school for their children.

“It is big business,”Wiley said. “Our school system and all that it entails is a service industry, providing education. And it’s more than 50 percent of the state budget.

“I think seeing our schools operate a little more businesslike in a wide variety of areas – promoting the strength of their school through marketing being one – is a good thing and a natural thing.”

At least two other officials are quoted in the same vein… and NO ONE is quoted as questioning the entire premise that schools are a business… and that is a problem from my perspective because eventually the whole notion that public schools are a public good will disappear. And when that day comes, the notion of democracy will disappear as well.

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