From Eric Davis, District 5 representative on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education:
I am often challenged by constituents to run the school system like a business. Of course, what they mean is to run the school system like a successful business.
Success in every business I have worked in or read about starts with leadership, especially leadership at the top. And a common trait of successful business leaders is to insure that the business is properly funded before the beginning of each year.
In fact, the most successful companies have boards who insure that their budget is established months in advance so that their managers can insure that from day one, the company hits the ground running. Yes we could use that kind of leadership in N.C. public education.
In addition, successful companies have leaders who recognize the critical role that talent plays in their firms’ success. They provide their managers with the tools needed to recruit, retain, and reward the talent needed for success.
Of all the traits of successful businesses, the most critical is culture. Successful companies have senior leaders who do small things every day, and big things some days, to inspire their employees to give their best effort to accomplish the company’s mission, a mission more than merely increasing profits and shareholder return.
In the public sector our mission must go beyond merely cutting taxes and smaller government. In the business of public education, our mission is to prepare the next generations to create a better state.
Perhaps what we lack most in running N.C. public education like a successful business is not an inspiring mission, or competition, or choice. What we most need is positive leadership for public education in the General Assembly, the kind of leadership that inspired small N.C. businesses in banking, textiles and furniture to become national success stories.
A good place to start is to insure that next spring, when the best teacher candidates are available and when we want to recommit to veteran teachers, the General Assembly can insure that school districts across N.C. have the budget to make those commitments.
Yes let’s run the school system like a successful business, starting here and in Raleigh.