Coping with Corporate Funded Education

Physician's Money Digest, July 2007, Volume 14, Issue 7

Suffering from what is seen as a lack of qualified workers, corporations across the country are investing in the future of America's workforce. Corporations are developing executive-style training programs for superintendents, financing scholarships for kids, and scheduling power lunches with the US Secretary of Education. Bill Gates and Eli Broad have announced a campaign to make education the top issue in the 2008 presidential race, providing $60 million on education promotion funding. The Gates and Broad campaign suggests that teachers' salary raises be based on student test scores, and recommends both keeping kids in class for longer hours and more days of the year and developing federal curriculum standards created in part by business leaders.

So how will this corporate interest affect your children's education? Some critics of businessrun schools worry that education will become too narrow in scope and students will end up pigeon-holed in certain career paths. With teachers' salaries being dependent on test score results, will their motivation be to teach young minds or to further their careers? Will curriculums become too lean? Although these fears are valid, a business-plan approach may be what some school districts need most to succeed where the government has failed.