I was speaking with a person the other day and she mentioned a time when she was in front of a school board laying out a budget for technology. When she finished one of the board members asked her if she would be be back in three years or so asking for more money.
"Of course!" she said, "In your business do you buy computers and networking equipment once and forget about it? No, you buy it then in a few years you upgrade some of it then buy some more. It's and on going process."
Not an exact quote, but never mind the use of quotation marks, the point is the same. Why would anyone in their right mind think schools are any different than businesses in this matter. Actually the trend lately is to try and make schools businesses. People with no training what-so-ever are running some of the largest school districts in the country. Time and again I hear people complain about the amount of money teachers make and the lack of results they have to show for it. business language comes in and folks start talking about accountability, benchmarks, and paradigm shifts. Except that schools are expected to do all of this without the same resources of a business.
Last month I was working in an office. Every single person in the office had a computer and everyone was expected to learn to use the computer on a regular basis. That being ever single day. Every single person had access to the printer and could print out anything and every thing they needed. I even copied stuff that was two sided to one side pages so I could scan it. Then I would throw the copies away. I didn't throw them away I took them home and I let my kids use it for paper. I could have scanned it directly but the network couldn't handle it. I'm pretty sure the IT person will use that as part of his argument for a network upgrade next chance he gets.
At schools it is common for teachers to have limits on the amount of paper they can use.
In some schools some teachers (notice some and some) do everything they can to not use a computer. They refuse to get training, they claim the system they have been using for years is good enough.
In schools teachers spend a lot of time presenting material to students. How many office professionals would dare make a presentation today without a projector and powerpoint slides?
In business colleagues collaborate on projects all the time. In schools there is no time to spend co-planning.
In business when people in tow different cities want to talk they set up a conference call or more often these days a web conference complete with video.
So my point is this: When we say we want education to be more like business, why do we always bring in the cost cutting hold everyone accountable to some sort of made up statistic part of business, but we never bring in the everyone has the resources to do the job, lets see if we can bring everyone together and dream about the possibilities part of business.