- Can schools be managed and operated like business?
Management of schools should take a form similar to any other organization that is geared towards achieving certain results. Management, in a general sense, involves several functions that lead to the coordination of peoples’ efforts in a manner that would make them achieve some desired goals and objectives. These goals and objectives are set by the management of these organizations that undertake the coordination of the said efforts. For the coordination to take place, there must be the deployment of certain resources that must also be used in an effective and efficient manner.
Schools should be managed just like any other business entity for them to achieve their desired objectives and goals. In most cases, schools management set the goals of producing all round students who are well equipped with skills that are necessary and in conformity to the market demands. Schools’ management must plan their actions within the time frame allocated to them. After undertaking proper planning, both long term and short term, the schools’ management must then organize activities to source for various personnel with appropriate skills who will perform different roles aimed at making the schools achieve their goals.
Through proper leadership and controls, the schools’ management is then able to show the direction and determine proper course of actions that must be followed by other staff members. In case of variations, appropriate measures must be taken to remedy the situation. The above criteria, when followed, will lead schools to achieve their goals and objectives of producing students with appropriate skills. The schools are then made attractive to other members of the society. Just like other business entities try to make their products attractive to their customers, the schools must be managed like businesses to make their products, which in this case are students, more attractive to other members of the society.
- Should public school districts be governed by locally elected School Boards, or by the State and what are the advantages?
District public schools must be governed by individuals from the local area in which the schools are located. These, schools in most cases, do serve the individuals within the district locality and, therefore, the management of such institutions should be left entirely in the hands of the locals. The reasons for selecting individuals to serve in the board of such schools from the schools’ locality are discussed below.
As much as schools should be nationwide oriented, it is common knowledge that most schools operate under different conditions. The demographics within the schools set up do differ, and the target populations for which the schools serve also do significantly differ. Individuals with proper understanding of the demographic environment in which the schools do operate must be given a bigger role in managing the affairs of these district schools. It would be difficult for an individual without proper understanding of the demographic within which the schools operate to properly plan for the schools.
The major advantages for selecting the board from the locality in which the district schools operate in is that these individuals have a better understanding of the dynamics. The other advantage is that they have a clear understanding of the regulations and rules making them better placed to initiate operations to operate effectively within the local rules. They also have a better understanding of the needs of the society around hence develop a curriculum that best suits their needs.
The main disadvantage is that they lack innovative ways to run the school leaving a wide range of ideas due to localizing the management of the school. The localization of the boards does not make the school appealing to other students outside thus making them less marketable. The localization denies the schools an opportunity to develop curriculum that are progressive based on shared ideas.
- Are real estate taxes an effective way to fund public education?
Various states have over the years relied on revenue obtained through property tax to fund most of the public schools in an attempt to provide public education. Even though there have been several debates like whether property tax should be totally relied on when it comes to funding public education or not, there has never been a consensus over the same. Several calls have also been made by various analysts arguing the stakeholders to desist from reliance on property tax to fund public tax.
Ideally, real estate tax has never been an effective way of funding public education. Stake holders should source for funds from other sources like state government funding so as to finance public education. Property tax revenue has sometimes faced varied challenges thus leaving schools relying on them wholly with no other option but suffer silently. Most states have experienced the challenge of taxpayers’ revolt especially when it comes to individuals who own homes. When homeowners refuse to pay property tax the states’ resources become limited as the extra revenue they would have gotten from home owners diminish.
In such a case, states that totally depend on property tax to finance their public education are left with no option but to seek other avenues to finance their public education sector. With the current state of the economy, most property owners are hard hit and might soon resolve to revolting. Therefore, states should use state funds to finance their public education sector to avoid such inconveniences caused by property owners’ revolt.
Such acts explained above, therefore, makes the reliance of estate taxes and revenue a challenging venture when relied on to finance public education. They are not an effective means to finance public education sectors and other sources like state funding to be used. This is due to the unpredictability of the funding as a source of financing the education sector due to the numerous challenges that are faced whenever the rates and taxes are collected. No authority should base their budget financing of public education on the revenue obtained from estate taxes holistically.
Gambling is considered as a societal social problem that is not well checked can become chronic. It is as a result of an individual not being able to control their impulse to engage in gambling activities. Gambling usually has an emotional effect on the people involved and those close to them and at times has left many families in serious debts that end up destroying most relationships that are either personal or professional.
Research studies have also shown that most felony crimes are committed by gamblers as it becomes compulsive that the gamblers obtain finances to engage in the vice. Either, gambling has also led to the loss of employment and even drug use. Homes have also been lost due to gambling with most marriages leading to divorce. The question that comes to mind is whether gambling proceeds should be used to finance public education.
There is a strong conviction that proceeds from gambling should never be used to finance public education sector. If governments accept proceeds from gambling through tax revenue, it would be encouraging the vice that has over the years destroyed careers, lives and families. It is ironical that the same education system that tends to instill discipline and social ethics in people becomes the recipient of proceeds obtained from gambling that is a social ill destroying most peoples’ families, lives and careers. There should be no link between a system instilling ethics and social discipline within societies and an activity that negates the teachings of the same systems. Therefore, it is not ethical to use proceeds from gambling for finance public education sector.
- Should Charter Schools Be Funded By Local Public School Districts?
Charter schools are found to be public schools financed by public funds and have always been given some special exemptions from the common regulations that govern other public schools. The exemptions are given on the agreement that the chartered schools maintain some level of accountability when it comes to producing results that they are designed to produce. The results are usually set out within the charters of these chartered institutions before they are fully chartered.
Chartered schools are designed in a way that gives them the ability to design their education system that would probably reform the education sector within various states. They are to develop teaching methods that are more creative; and that can be replicated in most of the public schools in a bid to improve the general education sector within the states they operate in. They, therefore, in way act as incubators of education reforms within the states they operate in thus should be funded by the local public school district.
The local public school district should, therefore, be funded the chartered schools since they form an integral part of the public schools. Since chartered schools endeavor to set standards for the public schools through tailor made programs that the public schools replicate, they technically become part and parcel of the same public schools. Even though the chartered schools are evaluated differently and operate under different rule from the public schools, the successes in chartered schools in terms of educational programs that they do develop to which impact on the children is always borrowed by the public schools. Their effectiveness also influences the evaluation of public schools’ effectiveness when both their impacts on the students are evaluated. Therefore, chartered schools should be funded by the local public school districts if they want to better the standards of the public schools.
- Personnel costs comprise up to 80% of public school district budgets, and, as a result, are often closely scrutinized and criticized. There is a growing trend among public school districts to “outsource” many support function. With that being said, what are your thoughts on outsourcing jobs in the public education arena
Outsourcing has over the years been used by most organizations to obtain services that either they cannot provide for themselves or those that are costly to provide. Organizations undertake to outsource so as to save some cost that they would otherwise have incurred. Currently, most schools have resorted to outsourcing most of their services.
The major reason as to why the schools outsource for services is to reduce the overall operating cost within schools. There are a number of services that are necessary for the day to day operations of the schools but that are not necessary or needed all the time. Cleaning services is among the services that are vital in the day to day operations of a school but still not required all the time. Schools can undertake to outsource such services so that the personnel employed through outsourcing are on a temporary basis. This will ensure that such individuals are only paid for the time they have worked. Either, whenever schools close for holidays, such services are found to be unnecessary thus it would be a waste of resources for a school to continue paying these individuals for services that are not being offered at that particular time.
Either, most schools prefer to outsource as a means of improving their efficiency and reducing their general cost of risk management. Through outsourcing, schools are able to obtain the best trained personnel at any given time while at the same time reduce costs associated with risk controls that they would otherwise incur. Therefore, schools are justified in outsourcing for services so as to reduce their costs and use the extra fiancé in other necessary projects. This action also provides them with an opportunity to select the best skilled personnel at any given time without the need to go through the rigorous process of laying off their staff and hiring new ones that is otherwise costly.
- Because of shrinking resources, many public school systems seem to be sacrificing class size as a means to reduce or control costs. Do you think this is appropriate? Why or why not?
Even though cost control is a vital tool that should be embraced by many organizations including schools, rationality should be a key factor that determines whether the cost reduction initiatives are appropriate or not. The cost control initiatives are an integral part of an organization’s processes to achieve its core objects. When cost control measures are initiated, more resources that would have otherwise been used are saved and redeployed to other activities.
Most schools have undertaken to reduce classroom size as a means of reducing their cost. This might appear to be a good measure initiated by the schools but a closer scrutiny paints a different picture. Learning environments should be more conducive and have traits of a healthy environment. Schools should never opt for the reduction of classrooms as a means of reducing cost. The moment they reduce classroom sizes, they are creating another problem of congestion within classrooms that in effect has health implications.
Circulation of fresh air within classes then becomes an issue as most classes that are highly congested are found to be least aerated. This would be a violation of the health and hygiene requirements within the learning institutions. What follows would be cases of contaminations and outbreak of airborne diseases among learners. Either, the learning environment would not be conducive for proper learning to take place and thus the schools are likely not to achieve their core objective of producing better students as most of them would not be attentive in class.
Either, the question of why or why shouldn’t they reduce the classroom size can be answered either way depending on how one perceives it. My opinion is on why they should not opt for such a measure as a means of reducing their costs. Schools should not embrace reduction of classroom area as a means of cost cutting due to various reasons. The first reason is that, by doing so, the school management does create more problems such as congestion within classrooms. This is hazardous to the learners as breathing fresh air becomes a challenge thus making the classroom less habitable.
The second reason is that through the creation of a congested environment, the learning atmosphere is thus made less friendly and in the end interferes with the level of concentration of the learners. When the concentration levels of the learners is interfered with, the productivity of the learners will be compromised since most of their attention and energy will be turned towards seeking a favorable atmosphere and thus little productivity at the end.
- In your opinion, what are some ways that an administration and a School Board can enhance their credibility when providing budget information to the general public?
Credibility is one factor that has elicited many debates in many institutions more especially when it comes to matters touching on finances and the general budgeting process. Most people charged with the responsibility of overseeing planning for and the utilization of financial resources in most cases face the challenge of their credibility being questionable. Though a number have managed the process successfully, there are those that still face the challenge of credibility test.
Such a case is the administration and board of management to most schools. This is especially when it comes to the presentation of budget information to the public. Though a common challenge, it is my strong belief that the institutional management team can come up with certain measures that will boost their credibility when presenting the budget to the public. The first measure would be to simplify the budget information presented to the public. In most cases, the information presented to the public is a bit complex thus not easily understood.
The management team should also present the budget information early enough to enable the general public have adequate time to scrutinize them and give their input. Lack of adequate time to scrutinize the budgets and the public’s inability to give their input also has a bearing on the management’s credibility thus they should present them in time and allow the public give their input.
Another factor that should also be considered by the management team is the thoroughness in the budget information that they present. They need to do thorough research and categorize their information into priority areas and non priority areas.
Either, they need to present budget estimates that are conscious to the priority demands of the schools. The management team should not just present blanket budget estimates without putting in mind the expected funds that are available for them to operate. Thus there should be no instances of exaggerations within the budgets estimates.
In concluding, the management of board of schools can further enhance the improvement of their credibility through embracing collectivism in the process of budget making. This they can achieve through incorporating all the relevant stakeholders that have an interest in the manner in which the schools are managed so that they get a pool of ideas rich enough for them to choose from. This will ensure that the best ideas are chosen towards the preparation of the budgets.
9. Student activity funds can be a great resource to a school district if managed efficiently and spent appropriately. Please cite one example of an appropriate use and one example of an inappropriate use.
Utilization of the school’s student’s activity funds has posed a great challenge to most schools’ management. These funds if well managed can become resources of greater importance to the school management teams and the students themselves. There are instances that these resources have been put to use in areas that are no priority to the students thus ending up being wasted. There are also instances that these great resources have been put into meaningful use thus becoming a great tool used towards the advancement of the students’ learning. The instances are as discussed below.
The most notable activity that most schools put the resources to is the area of students’ sports and symposiums. Sports in a vital activity in the normal learning program of a student. It gives students an opportunity to be all round so that they do not just end up being book warmers at the end of the learning process. Learning should help students acquire skills that are necessary in their advancement in the future. Through sports and symposiums, students acquire physical skills through various games and master skills and confidence that would help them articulate various issues later on in life. Some end up pursuing sports of which they would have not sharpened their skills if they were denied such opportunities in schools.
Either, the inappropriate usage of students activity funds occurs when management use them for purposes of development within schools. As much as overall development within schools is advocated for, the funds meant for students activities should never be deviated to other uses as they would be denied an opportunity to advance their own well being and nurture their talents. Most schools have undertaken to channel funds meant for students’ activities to other areas. Also inappropriate usage of students funds do occur when school management use these funds for purposes of charity services.
- Should merit pay be part of a teacher’s contract?
Merit pay has been used by most organization to award contracts to their employees. This criteria ensures that employees are remunerated based on their performances within a specified period of time. The measurement standards must also be stipulated clearly so that the individuals evaluated on these standards become aware of the standards that they should attain in accordance to the agreed criteria of evaluation. This method of merit pay should also be introduced in schools for a wide range of reasons.
The performances of various learners within institutions are usually pegged on the attention given by the instructor to the said learners. If a learner performs poorly then in most cases the effort of the instructor might have not been sufficiently applied or wrong instructing skills must have been used. Either, there are instances where instructors pay little attention on the students’ responses to their instructing and only concentrate on covering the syllabus thus ignoring the students. Merit pay should thus be used in such cases so that those instructors who give more input towards teaching should earn more than those who merely concentrate on covering the syllabus.
Either, on an ethical perspective, it would not be fair for individuals giving different input towards the same course of action to earn the same amount of money. Those who give their all towards teaching their students should be paid more compared to their counterparts who give little towards the same course. This would ensure that those teachers who do not fully dedicate themselves towards teaching do so in order for them to earn higher income. Therefore, the merit pay criteria should be embraced more within schools so that those who give better results earn more and those who give undesirable results earn less. This will ensure that people earn according to their input.
I am highly convinced that merit pay method of remuneration should be embraced by schools. This will ensure that the schools only utilize their resources on individuals who are competent and highly motivated to deliver towards the realization of the set goals and objectives. This will eliminate chances of teachers being non committal to their work thus making them nurture all round students.
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- Can schools be managed and operated like business?
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