We suggest that business principles can make significant and meaningful contribution to the challenges we face [in public education] but we are not talking about the principles that come from the boardrooms and their focus on financial incentives, investments, and entrepreneurialism. The business principles to which we refer are things that can be learned from an operational perspective in a business environment. These principles have to do with things like focus on one’s customer, structuring an organization to serve its purpose, problem-solving, teamwork, integrating quality assessments into the learning process, and giving the people on the production line the tools and resources they need to help them do the best job of which they are capable. In education, the people on the production line are teachers, administrators, and their staff.
The application of these principles to create a blueprint for a new reality in education in America is the over-riding purpose of this book.
Our first objective will be to offer a strategy to transform our systems of education, both public and private, to one that focuses on success and that prepares our young people for the challenges that the balance of the Twenty-first Century will present. Our second objective is to gain a true understanding of the reasons why our systems of education are under-performing because these are the same forces that threaten every aspect of our way of life. Once we have gained that understanding we will be in a position to meet our ultimate objective and that is to take our newly engineered educational product to the people.
We must use our system of education to unite Americans behind a common purpose in the face of what may be the greatest challenges our nation has faced since the Civil War. Our goal is to re-infuse faith and hope in the American dream into the hearts and minds of every American parent and child. Only through this effort can we preserve our status as the richest and most powerful nation in the world as we move into an uncertain future.