Friday, May 1, 2009

It's Time To Drive These People Out

Here’s something very worthwhile to listen to, courtesy of Tom Hoffman.

It is a program from Background Briefing, Radio National's agenda-setting current affairs radio documentary program from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. This segment takes a close look at the management culture produced by Harvard Business School, and other MBA programs. This phenomenon very clearly describes the mentality of the sick management culture that has invaded school districts, and how and where it developed.

The piece is 48 minutes long. If your time is tight, I suggest listening to the first 10 minutes, and also to the segment between ~22 to 30 minutes.

Teasers of things which will sound familiar to anyone who has been forced to suffer through the mess they’ve made:

[The MBA students are sent out]…with an enormous amount of hubris, which is, “I can manage anything even though I’ve never managed anything.”

* * * * * * *

The three benefits of a business education according to a Wharton School of Business professor

  1. To equip students with a vocabulary that enabled them to talk with authority about subjects they did not understand.
  2. To give students principals that would demonstrate their ability to withstand any amount of dis-confirming evidence.
  3. To give students a ticket of admission to a job where they could learn something about management.

* * * * * * *

“In other words, what you have is a detachment of people who know the business from people who are running the business.” Until the rise of this business school culture in the 1980's and '90's, managers used to need to be masters of the subject they were managing. In other words, it was expected that they had "domain knowledge."

* * * * * * *

(This is the most important point)
“If you don’t possess the main knowledge, how do you run a company? Well you do it through the accounting department. And so the senior manager studies the accounts of each division…So you have companies run through the accounting department. Now this leads at once to the manipulation of both underlying activities and figures. The theme is of improving the numbers—not the product.”

* * * * * * *

The show explains how this type of thinking gave rise to the influence of The Accountant. BTW, years ago, Eli Broad was the youngest person ever in Michigan to become a C.P.A. The Broad Center’s Superintendents Academy official motto: WANTED: THE NATION’S MOST TALENTED EXECUTIVES TO RUN THE BUSINESS OF URBAN EDUCATION. Browsing through the Broad Center website will let you get a nasty taste of their totally off-track, and sick approach.

It's time to muster the forces and drive these people out. They truly don’t know anything about kids, or anything about education. They don't even know how to manage human beings.

Thank you, Tom. It took me a few days to listen to the whole program, but I am so glad I did.

PS: Here are links to some of the people who are interviewed in the show:

Henry Minzberg

Rakesh Khurana

The Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2009

Person #1 – Bachelor’s degree in ethics, politics and economics from Yale University and a juris doctorate degree from Stanford Law School.

Person #2 – Bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy; a master’s degree in public administration from Golden Gate University; a juris doctorate from Duke University; a master’s degree in international law from Georgetown University; and a master’s degree in national security strategy from the National War College.

Person #3 – Certified public accountant and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in business administration from DePaul University.

Person #4 – Bachelor’s degree from Brown University, where she is a member of the Brown Corporation and chair of the Audit Committee, and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.

Person #5 – Bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy; a master’s degree in international relations from Catholic University of America; a master’s degree in strategic planning from the School of Advanced Military Studies; and a certification as a Harvard University JFK School of Government National Security Fellow.

Person #6 – Bachelor’s degree in community health education from Temple University; a master’s degree in education from Boston University; a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Baylor University; and a master’s degree in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Person #7 – Bachelor’s degree in history from Marquette University; a teaching certification from California State University; a master’s degree in education leadership and administration from the University of Illinois, Chicago; and an executive master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Person #8 – Bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary, a master’s degree in educational administration and a doctorate degree in educational policy and planning from the University of Maryland.

Person #9 – Bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College and a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

Person #10 – Bachelor’s degree in engineering from the General Motors Institute and a master’s degree in business administration from Babson College.


tauna said...

"It's time these people out."


Ted said...

Yet more vital information from the Perimeter Primate!

My family has been employed in public service for generations in the clergy, government and education. I have uncles, cousins, grandparents, and great and great-great parents who are or were successful in those fields. Not one of them had any business or management training, although among their numbers are bishops, school superintendents and college presidents. Why didn't they have management training? It would have been irrelevant. Their success was built on liberal arts education, experience in the field and a dedication to public service.

lodesterre said...

Experience is what matters and education should be about readying the student for the experiences that will build their character and allow them to learn how to manage those experiences in the proper way. What a lot of these MBA programs have done is teach too many students that experience is irrelevant as long as you have the manual and can read or have attended class and listened to the lecture.

Experience by voyeurism has replaced experience by participation. Reminds me of the story about Ronald Reagan. Around the time of the Bitburg cemetery fuss (Reagan was visiting a cemetery that had Waffen SS soldiers buried there) Reagan was quoted as saying "I know all the bad things that happened in that war. I was in uniform four years myself." Ronald Reagan spent WWII stateside watching and censoring the film footage of the war. He later went on to talk about being there at the liberation of the concentration camps forgetting that he had only viewed the film footage and hadn't been physically present. I heard an interview with Edmund Morris (his biographer) once in which Morris said that the act of watching had become emotionally the same as the actual experience for Reagan. I guess it is true for the MBAs coming out of our ivy league schools as well.

nikto said...

It seems odd to me that just at the moment in history when many aspects of the American Business Management Model is facing widespread failure and collapse as out-dated and unworkable concepts that need
to be changed,
this very model of portfolio-management method is being applied with more and more authority and power in the Public Education field.

The real irony here is that Public Education is perceived as "needing fixing"----So the answer is to apply a now-collapsing business model fix it with?

What is wrong with this picture?

There are some twisted minds
at work here, absolutely.

But these twisted minds have a purpose, and a whole lot of money and connections behind them.

Truly scary.

Bob Heiny said...

Oh my. More politics in schooling.

Respectfully, are you saying, "Charge the barracades, because we don't want those invaders defiling our schools?"

I hope not. It reminds me of some of my relatives who still (literally) make buggy whips and drive buggies. While I respect and defend their choices, I don't agree with those decisions.

But, if you are calling for a charge, I don't see how that call helps students promptly to learn more, both in depth and breadth.


nikto said...

Mr. Heiny,

The truth is that most of us in Public Education today DO very much want reform and positive change.
Many of us talk about it daily.

But it looks like real reform will have to come from parents, teachers and students (i.e. folks with honest motives).

What we don't want is YOU and your hypocrisy and obvious (but not to you) lack of awareness of what Public Education really needs, coming in with phony, self-serving policy ideas.

You and others of your "philosophy" come off as smarmy and insincere (perhaps even to the point of lying to yourself).

If I hadn't been teaching for 30 years, perhaps I wouldn't see this as clearly.

But it is a slam-dunk perception now, with all I've seen and participated in.

If you are honest and well-intentioned, it doesn't come off that way, smarminess notwithstanding.

I would be suspicious of any dialogue with you--You have a lot of trust to build up before we can really talk, I'm afraid.

Until private profit and Union-Busting are taken completely out of school "reform", you will not, and should not, be trusted by anyone who has anything to do with Public Schools.

In some ways,schools have become OVER-regulated, just as
Big Business is now far
UNDER-regulated in this country.

Perhaps our Business Community should reform its own countless abuses before turning its ravenous gaze at Public Institutions.

But that would be too much too ask.

And please quit the BS about politics.

That talking point just illustrates your own hypocrisy.

The Power Politics in use as a bludgeon on Public Education nowadays comes from *outside* Education.

And I re-affirm the Title:

It's Time To Drive These People Out

Maybe that means you too?

nikto said...

Oh, and here's a little news item that ought to make a few privatizers heads explode:

"94% of British Teachers Vote To Boycott testing next Year."

Maybe we here in the U.S could get some inspiration?

Bob Heiny said...

Oops, I wonder if I somehow (I don't know how) touched a familiar hot button from the '60s and 70's new left movement IN CA and IL, one I used to use when I didn't have an answer to someone's Qs. The touch was unintentional.

I'm still curious, how do you see your point of view adding promptly to student learning?

Bob Heiny said...

nikto, have we met? Do we know each other somehow? I don't know, or have forgotten, who you are. You say you know a lot about me. Most of what you say as fact is inaccurate. I accept your opinions either way. Bob