Business Ethics Blog Posts 8-10-2016 The Corporate Teaching Edition

The Corporate Teaching Edition

We start with a description of teaching at a charter school, feature a contribution from the invaluable David Yamada and discuss a variety of cutting edge business ethics issues in the news.


James Pilant

Teaching at a Charter middle school

“You are there to produce results, specifically test results; you are there to provide structure; you are not there to think; you are there to obey; you shall follow the curriculum; you shall train students for future careers and colleges; you need to enforce the rules and procedures; if students do not follow the rules and procedures, they need to go.

“White men in suits will watch your classes and nitpick your every move; every mistake and negative outcome is your fault. There is no excuse- there are never any excuses. Arrive earlier, stay later, care more, think less; others will go, maybe you will go; students will go; others will take your places. More structure- more discipline- take away recess- make the students sit in classrooms silently at lunch. Force students to march on the blue line all through the school- they need to obey. But don’t ask why all of this happens- never ask.

The past is past, let’s move on.

This is David Yamada’s site. He a dedicated blogger and a public treasure to all of us for his work. jp

This pattern occurs over and again at lousy organizations in every sector — public, private, and non-profit. It is the tactical refuge of bad leaders who somehow get repeated chances to screw up. Sadly, it also appeals to the words of philosopher George Santayana quoted above, for organizations that cannot remember their past are surely doomed to repeat it, typically with recurring negative consequences.

Place Blame Fairly

I just heard Donald Trump, in his speech about economic policy, blame Hillary Clinton for creating this crisis, with nary a word of clarification raised by commentators on his speech about the fact that this collapse in Detroit and elsewhere had nothing to do with the Clintons.  It occurred during Ronald Reagan’s watch.  

Nine Hundred Million a Year

There are students graduating from high school today who only know of schools as places where doors are locked, guards are on duty, and cameras are recording their every move. The next generation of students will know of schools where fingerprint or retinal recognition systems are needed to get into class or to borrow from the library or use the school computer… where bullet proof backpacks and i-pad covers will be mandatory… and where someone will read every entry on their computer and listen to every word they utter. Parents may lament this development like one of the parents in Utah who said that he wished his child had more freedom. But like that same parent, they might be willing to trade that freedom for safety. Here’s his quote:

I’d love to let her spread her wings a little bit more. But we do keep our thumbs on her. There’s always the fear of a kidnap, a traffic accident. Turn on the news at night—we watch the news while we eat dinner. The media loves to create a sense of panic. They love bad news.”

The media over bad news… and gun manufacturers love it too… and so do school safety “experts”.

When industry off loads its responsibilities onto the public

Taxpayers, not industry, will have to pay for environmental monitoring at a pulp mill in Dryden, Ont., infamous for its poisoning of people in two northern Ontario First Nations, according to a recent ruling by an Ontario court.

Ontario was attempting to get two former owners of the mill to pay for ongoing monitoring at the mills former disposal site where 9,000 kilograms of mercury was dumped into the English-Wabigoon River system in the 1960s and 70s.

But a deal struck by Ontario to facilitate the sale of the mill in 1979, helped protect the future owners of the mill, according to a ruling by the Ontario Superior Court in July.

The marketing is a set of lies

“The rise of consumerism led the body image industries to develop a sure-fire formula for success: promote a thin ideal of beauty that the majority of women can never attain and thereby create virtually infinite demand among consumers. The irony of the weight loss industry is that its very existence depends on the failure of its products. In what other industry would customers repeatedly pay large sums of money for products and services that do not work? The weight loss industry has been clever enough to sustain its market share by placing the blame on the consumer, with caveats that their products will only work if used in combination with ‘a sensible diet and regular exercise’.” (Williams and Germov 2008: 345)

Healthcare going the wrong way

What we’re seeing—in this pattern of sharply rising spending on healthcare by the wealthy and flat or slow growth for everyone else—is what the authors consider to be “a shift from need-based to income-based receipt of spending growth.” In other words, it represents a return to the unequal consequences of the pre-Medicaid, pre-Medicare financing of healthcare in the United Staes.

That’s the last straw. Do we really need any more arguments for universal healthcare, aka, Medicare for everyone?