In many businesses where professional standards and skilled employees are the key to success, employee ownership is the norm; law firms, accountants, hedge funds, vet and medical practices are routinely partnerships of professionals.
Why shouldn’t this model be extended to teachers? Why shouldn’t schools be co-operatives/partnerships of teachers who compete against each other?
This would have several merits:
1. The combination of co-operative ownership and competition would raise standards.
2. It would give teachers more genuine professional autonomy.
3. Groups of like-minded teachers (say, according to their views on different educational theories) would bind together. The resulting difference in teaching methods would let us see what works and what doesn’t.
4. It accords with the economic theory of property rights – that employees should own organizations where human capital is the key asset.
Now, I want to be vague about the precise blueprint here; there are loads of possibilities. All I’m saying is that teacher-controlled schools should appeal to both “left” – because it puts workers/teachers in charge – and “right”, because it introduces competition. It’s also consistent with economic theory. So why not at least think about it?
If there are any other New Zealand bloggers reading this: do you think there's any chance of such reforms being considered here? (And do you think they should be?)