Human Life, Human Organizations and Education

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The social structures within which we live and work have a profound effect on the success of our pursuits. These effects are too often poorly understood by those who shape public policy, leading to organizations that are antagonistic to the very goals they are meant to achieve. Unfortunately, this has been the case with public education in the United States. Data are presented that illustrate the way in which the incentive structure of our public school system leads the goals of its employees to diverge from those of the families it is intended to serve. Arguments in support of government-run schooling are discussed and refuted. An alternative system of mutually beneficial cooperation within a competitive market is proposed, based on its proven success in the more liberal parts of our economy. It is demonstrated that such a market system would unite the goals of educators and families, encourage innovation, and discourage many of the inefficient and educationally irrelevant practices engendered by the public school system.


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How to Cite
Coulson, A. J. (1994). Human Life, Human Organizations and Education. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 2, 9.
Author Biography

Andrew J. Coulson

Andrew J. Coulson is an independent scholar based in Seattle, WA. Determining how schools can best be structured in order to serve the needs of families and communities has been the focus of his work over the past three years. He has written articles on the organization, condition, and history of education. His most recent publication, "Schooling and Literacy Over Time: The Rising Cost of Stagnation and Decline," appeared in vol. 30, no. 3 (October 1996) of the journal Research in the Teaching of English. At present, he is completing a manuscript for the general public on the organization of schooling, tentatively titled On the Way to School. This book will address the educational problems currently confronting parents by clearly explaining what people want from their schools and how they can get it. It will do this by comparing school systems throughout history and showing which have worked, which have not, and why. Prior to entering the field of education several years ago, Andrew Coulson was a systems software engineer with Microsoft corp. So, while Bill Gates quit school to form Microsoft, Andrew Coulson quit Microsoft to reform schools. He received his B. Sc. Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from McGill University in Montreal, Canada (Andrew, that is, not Bill).