I was looking up a local school the other day. The website given by the DPI was for a .com out of California. A few clicks and I realized a local Milwaukee school was one of this California company's for-profit schools. I tried to remember how this sort of thing could be done for a profit, anyhow, since public schools seem to be money pits. There must be a model out there, like how people say FedEx and UPS make a profit when the US Postal Service can't. Or how roads make a profit when trains can't. Or wait, maybe that's not entirely true, and maybe there are some problems with big business running our schools.

Year after year, my school district would present the budget, reminding us teachers that we (the employees) were the single most expensive item for them to deal with. Sometimes they sold schools or deferred maintenance, and often they celebrated saving money on electric bills and other small savings. The point is that if personnel represents the most in cost for a public school system, I assume this would also be true of business-run schools. Added to the mix would be CEOs CFOs, CIOs, owners, and stockholders, all looking for their cuts. So I ask myself, all else being equal, how does all of this work out?

OK, I know it's not all equal, like special ed, which is one of the biggest departments in most school districts, and generally non-existent in the for-profit schools. Does this mean those schools are so good that they can teach kids with disabilities without the need for special teachers? More likely, they just don't take the kids or ignore the problems until the kids leave. That's what I would do if I was trying to make a profit in running a school: take the most profitable students.



Beyond ignoring students with special needs, I assume these for-profit schools do not pay teachers or other staff a living wage. Honestly, that's not a huge deal to me anymore, since even a non-living wage would be more than I'm getting paid as an unemployed teacher, but the point is that generally government employees do better than their private sector counterparts doing the exact same job. I'm not talking about two white collar "professionals" but about a school teacher vs. a school teacher or a garbage man vs. a garbage man. Government pays better than the private sector direct equivalent.

To recap, in order for big business to do well in education, some students need to be left behind and teachers generally have to get paid less in order to make up for $500,000 per year owners and chiefs, and to allow for $150,000 salesmen and consultants, and to pay $100,000 a year web designers and app developers and to pay out dividends, etc.


Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • QR Code Interview Gimmick
    My kids' school created a pamphlet with a QR code that linked to the website, so I figured it could be useful to do the same thing when I bring in my resume to a job interview. Especially since I made a cool online resume that really looks a lot better than the printed kind. Plus, printing all that I've done over the last two decades would be a huge waste of paper (unless it gets me the job).

    I wonder how many people in the average interview will know how  to use the QR code. I didn't have the capability on my phone until last year, and it is kind of a gimmick, especially since you can usually just email links and whatnot. Then again, it's something different, and it might make me stand out a bit, so I'll print off the code along with some other important documents.

    I am sure plenty of people have used a QR code as part of their interviews, but I do think my online resume is pretty darn good, so it's more than a link to my Linkedin page. I suppose a link to a video of me would be even cooler, but that would mean making a video, and it's not like I'm trying to get a job as a videographer. Anyhow, feel free to use this idea as part of your next interview. Just like everyone started using student-written letters of recommendation after I introduced the idea back in 2002.

  • Who's Got My Back in Jacksonville?
    I've seen several political ads recently that focus on people who have the back of the police officers. I suppose that's a thing, but I am not a police officer (or a native of Jacksonville), so I'm kind of wondering who has my back as I settle in here.

    I assume JSO and JFRD have my back because it's their job. And all the military around here have my back in case Canada attacks. But I'm thinking about the everyday having my back kind of thing.

    In Milwaukee, I could count on some people, at least a little bit. Classmates from Milwaukee's John Marshall High School (91, 92, 93, and 94). Or Wilbur Wright Middle School (88, 89, 90). Or French Immersion school or 82nd Street School. Most of the people who might have my back in MKE are now cordial Facebook friends. Sure, our high school football team liked to say we went to war together and we were brothers for life an all that, but we're kind of distant cousins at this point, two decades since I've seen most of those old friends in person. That said, any meatheaded rivalries are now gone at least.

    I donated my time as a teacher at Menomonee Falls High School for 12 years, so there might be a few fellow teachers or former students who have my back. Then again, I didn't get a whole lot of love from many of the MFHS Indians back when I got laid off, so whatevs.

    People at church will have your back, generally, but it takes some time to build relationships. Same goes for fellow parents at your kids' school or new co-workers. Or new neighbors.

    I felt like my fellow baseball teammates in Wisconsin had my back when I played there, but that was also mostly the guys with whom I played for many years. Maybe it just takes a lot of time for people to really have your back, and you have to stay relatively injury-free.

    Family is forever, but I don't have any in jax. I bet that's fairly typical in this area with such a fast population growth in the area. Lots of new people without family, so probably a lot of us trying to figure out who has our backs, besides politicians, of course. Obviously, I have my immediate family, but that's a little different than the idea of someone having my back. Still, it's more than some folks might have.

    My wife's been fortunate enough to find a Meetup group with people who probably have her back. I have not found a good group to join myself, but that's one way to make new friends. Maybe not super close friends, though. I'm not sure. Meetups are hit-or-miss. Just like friendships. 

    I guess I'm glad I'm not in a gang or anything, even though gang members have each others' backs. But the cops and politicians don't have their backs, which is good. I suppose we can all relate to the appeal, especially if you grew up thinking no one had your back.

    I hope all people in Jacksonville find the connections that make them feel safe without having to join a gang, call the police, or vote for someone. That's my goal, anyway.