Corporate America in Schools: Better Education or Red Flag?

After reading the Microsoft Class Action article found on the OLDaily feed, I had mixed feelings about the idea of corporate America entering a school. To best express my feelings I’m going to use an example from the hit TV Show Saved By the Bell. On the show, there was an episode where Bayside High accidentally struck oil (I forgot the reason why they were digging) and a petroleum company wanted to come in and start collecting it. The company promised to give the school a lot of money to improve the status of Bayside to provide state of the art rooms and equipment for the faculty and students. The only catch is they would be putting up oil rigs on the high school’s campus. While digging for oil, the company polluted a pond with some of the “gang’s” animals and killing each and every one of them. That’s when Bayside began to wonder if they made the right decision and told the oil company to leave. Now, the same can be said for schools too. There are a million of wonderful ideas that could be applied in the school setting related to technology to improve learning and teaching. However, when corporate America wants to offer itself to schools there is always a catch.

While students who become savy with Microsoft technology and pushed to be future Microsoftites may have the best technology it doesn’t necessarily mean it will work the most efficiently. When a company with so much financial resources offers to completely build a school there is going to be some fine print somewhere saying they are going to do things their way and not the way the school board wants.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not bashing the Microsoft cooperation in this entry. What I am saying is that I want Microsoft to provide aide to school systems, but leave what teachers, parents, and other school faculty do best for their students and not what Microsoft think is best for their students. Corporate involvement should be limited to just grants and not complete makeovers. It just worries me when a company as large as Microsoft wants t hold the reins their grip will not loosen only tighten with power. Teachers know their students better than any Microsoft representative and the two should work together for what is best for the students and not what is best for the corporation to produce future employees.

Microsoft Class Action – http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=41398

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