Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Chapter 4: The Flubsome Institute Chronicles

New Readers: Please read Chapters 1-3 before reading Chapter 4. Satire continues.....

Our super bloggers continue their difficult and tedious task of deciphering page four of the Flubsome documents. These documents describe the top secret plan for bringing about the demise of public education.

Page Four: The Plan for the Demise of Public Education...continued.

Strategy Number ____.

Run Schools Like Businesses:

Here at the Flubsome institute we have an admitted bias. It sounds like this "Private business...good, Public education...bad. " It doesn't matter what the facts are, we all know that businesses are better than schools so we will apply our business strategies to the public school enterprise. Here is the Flubsome methodology.

1. We first have to choose which business model is best to force upon the public. Our choices are many.
a. Enron?
b. WorldCom?
c. Conseco?
d. Tyco?
e. Ipalco?
f. What the heck..why not Martha Stewart even. A little insider trading never hurt anyone.

2. In order to run schools like businesses we will need to determine what level of bankruptcy and what type of bankruptcy model to force them into. We all know that a significant number of businesses go bankrupt fairly quickly. And, as businesses we have many choices as to how to fail. There are numerous types of banckrupcy filings available to us. But, and this is a BIG but, we don't want the public to know that we don't know WHY we fail in business.

Note this quote about the research on failing businesses: (Click here for actual article.)

While continuing research has been ongoing for almost thirty years, it is interesting to note that no unified well-specified theory of how and why corporations fail has yet been developed.

So, us Flubsome folks don't want the public to sense the irony here. We don't know why WE fail in business, but we sure know how to fix the public schools. Yessirree. Just run them like a business.

3. Send all failing students to third world countries. This is what we do to American jobs in order to save money. That's it! We will send all failing students to India and our bottom line performance can increase dramatically just like it does to American businesses.

Coming soon...the inside story on Conseco (not Jose although there may be some interesting correlations there) and how to get superintendents excited about the idea of running schools like a business.

(Click here for a hint on what failed bankrupt CEO's leave with.)


At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the reason "we don't know why WE fail in business" --

"Most of the publicly available information regarding prediction models is based on research published by university professors."

If the university professors (who have never succeeded or failed in business) actually figured out the answer, their grant funding would stop.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Each year approximately one percent of all firms required to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission file for bankruptcy."

Let's see, a 99% success rate --- hardly an operational model worth giving a second thought.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's see, does Lilly, Pfizer or any other company reap private business benefit from grant funding? Do university professors provide any research that is valuable to private business?

How do you know that university professors can't succeed in business? Most all of them make more money from their side business than they do from their university work.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, that post could only be made by someone who's never paid a company's payroll out of their own bank account.

Succeeding or failing in business, for those of us who don't have tenure, means risking our life savings and our personal financial security to create products and services that people value.

Oh yeah, also creating jobs that employ others, including providing grants to university professors.

Doing high-priced consulting as a side benefit of a tenured professorship -- risky? Not.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course university professors do lots of research of value.

I thought Super Blog was suggesting schools have nothing to learn from business because 30 years of university research has not shown why only 1% of businesses fail.

I was suggesting that particular academic research has not been very useful and would not be a reason to ignore lessons from businesses that do succeed -- i.e. the vast majority.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Mike said...

I recently got back from India. I can't speak about K-12, but I was enormously impressed with their recent college graduates.

Against my recommendation, my employer "outsourced" some software development to Bangalore. Here's what I found the young Indians to be like:

1- they arrived at work 30-45 minutes before "starting time"

2- they all wore coats and ties (young men) or nice dresses (young women)

3- their manners were immpecable, yes sir, no sir, excuse me, mister ______, etc. I was definitely not used to that,

4- they worked incredibly hard ALL day with very little distraction,

5- they stayed late in the evening,

6- on Saturday, they ALL came into the office, on their own time, to study advanced programming techniques -- they are trying to earn a Microsoft Level 5 designation

7- they consistently asked if they could do more, take on more responsibility, etc. They seem insistent about self-improvement and getting ahead.

I came back a believer in the value these highly intelligent, well-educated, earnest, dedicated, and polite people can bring. They remind me of Americans of my grandfather's generation.

I still don't like the idea of moving jobs to India, but I can see why it is happening.

Maybe you are on to something about "outsourcing" our poor performing students to India.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Frank Discussion said...

Is there ever any dialog about creativity and innovation in delivering education?

During the recent recession, my company had to find ways to meet customer expectations on a reduced budget.

As managers, we spent a lot of evenings and weekends arguing about how we could use technology, outside vendors and streamlined systems to reduce costs. Dozens of these ideas would never have occured to us if we hadn't been faced with a financial crisis.

We discovered how to make hard choices and change our behaviors to drive out expense. We learned we could deliver higher quality products at less cost and we survived the downturn.

Do educators have these sorts of conversations? Have they yielded any fruitful innovations that improve the delivery of education at a lower cost? Any examples would be welcome.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excluding fraud and incompetence, most businesses fail because they don't provide customers with a product that exceeds its cost to create - that is, they don't add sufficient value.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Many of us have had this discussion before because many school business managers come from private business backgrounds. What they will tell you is that schools do not have the abilities to have the periodical "purgings" that buisnesses do. This is due to the political nature of the business. When times are tough businesses can reevaluate their core mission and stick to what they are best at. They drop product lines and services that contribute less to the bottom line. Doing this in the private offices of the managers, many decisions can be made. Then you walk out and deliver the bad news.

Schools are political entities. Every public board meeting gets packed with the constituents backing the program that is on the chopping block. Board members are pressured and called and almost harassed by every group trying to save their program.

Give your public school administrators the same authority you have to make personnel changes. Modify tenure laws and collective bargaining laws. Give us a school board full of business leaders that understand organizational dynamics and line-of-command. Give us students that match Mike's experiences with India employees. Give us the ability to reject "materials" that do not meet specifications. (Note: While some of you would like to give us this ability, others are trying to make the dropout rate 18 and eliminate suspensions and expulsions.)

These are some of the things that saddle school programs that do not always saddle your business people.

The very public, political nature of the business creates a great difficulty when it comes to times like these.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Our school system would like to explore becoming a "charter school system."

Instead of saddling charter schools with public rules we would like to have the charter school rule book.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Frank said...

Thanks for the thoughtful replies. Sounds like Charter Schools solve a lot of the systemic problems.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We don't fear competition. Most of us have turned the corner and would invite some.

The only thing we ask is what any coach will ask for.

A level playing field. We don't choose who we serve - nor should we. But we don't think charter schools and private schools should "select" their students either

A Super

At Wednesday, February 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What changes in Charter School acceptance requirements would you say provides a level playing field?

At Thursday, February 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I support this blogger. I question the statistical report of the businesses that fail each year presented in the comments. Staples opened a store in our community for two years and the business failed, but there are still Stapes stores in other Indiana communities. Was the Staples in our community counted as a failure? I doubt it. You see, if businesses can't make it in one community, they just close up and move to a more profitable location. Schools can't do that. Nor can we ship back a bus load of inferior product. We take what we are given. I hope we never have to run schools like a business. We provide a service and our bottom line is not measured in dollars and cents.

At Monday, February 28, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish more businesses were run like schools.

At Sunday, October 02, 2005, Blogger Steve Austin said...

Enjoyable blog. Please visit my bankruptcy law blog.


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