site logo

Business-Managed Democracy

“Business-managed democracies are those in which the political and cultural arrangements are managed in the interests of business”

Sharon Beder

Business-Managed Education

School Choice vs Participation

reference

The business rhetoric behind the push for promoting competition and a market for schools, is that parental choice will ensure that schools are responsive to the wishes of parents. Schools will therefore have to increase the quality of education they offer and provide it at less cost in order to survive, thus stimulating more innovative and more efficient provision.

meeting However, the concept of giving parents choice does not extend beyond the choice between the available range of schools in their neighbourhood (often a very limited range). If they don’t like the way the school is run all they can do is remove their children from it (provided there is an alternative school available). This is very different from being able to participate in school decision-making and the design of curricula or having a voice through parental representatives on a governing board. In practice parental choice of schools is a very weak form of participation and expression.

reference

meeting Genuine participation and representation enables parents to protest, discuss, negotiate, vote and work with the school to shape the school to meet parental goals. In fact some of those promoting school choice and educational markets have spurned democratic control of schools as leading to inefficient bureaucracies and coercion by public authorities.

reference

The concept of an education market and parental choice encourages parents to think about how to give their own children an advantage rather than what is good for all children, or good for society.

reference

Marketisation erodes the ability of democracies to debate and deliberate on the goals of education and “what constitutes a minimally ‘good’ education” that should be available to all children. The market, rather than an elected government, decides which schools will prosper and which go into decline through lack of enrolments and therefore lack of funds.

back to top

NEW! Contributers' Updates and Examples

If you have any examples or updates you would like to contribute please email them to me and I will add them here. Please give references for where you sourced the information.