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Running Schools Like a Business

Yesterday CBS’s Sunday Morning repeated their story (video) on how Google pampers it’s employees, focusing especially on the free gourmet meals in their cafeteria.

For most of it, the report implies that these perks are a key reason for the amazing success of the company.

However, it’s not until the end of the piece that the reporter finally arrives at the real reasons why so many smart people want to work at Google.

Google employees have goals that they are expected to reach, but they are given lots of freedom in getting there.

“Ironically, the hardest thing to copy at Google is not the free food or massages or parking, which anyone can do,” says Pfeffer. “The hardest thing to copy and for corporate leaders to get in their heads is that if you hire intelligent people you actually let them use their intelligence.”

“If you give them freedom, they will amaze you,” says Bock. “They’ll surprise you with what they come up with.”

It’s not just other companies; American education could learn a lot from Google.

That open, collaborative atmosphere at the core of Google’s corporate philosophy should be a fundamental part of teaching and learning in our schools.


  1. Margo Jantzi

    I’m thoroughly enjoying a brand new school environment. Our administrators are giving us the Google open, collaborative atmosphere in which educators thrive.

    Counting my blessings and engaging my intelligence to make learning real for our PreK-5 560 students.

  2. Andrew Swartz

    This is the way that school need to go, unfortunately they are not. We have people in administrative positions that were taught in a traditional setting and for some reason are trying there very best to keep the traditional system alive. The education system has to wake up and realize that students learn in an entirely different way and it is the education system that has to modernize!

  3. Dave Shearon

    I fought for an approach to professional development that acknowledged teacher’s professionalism when I was on the school board in Nashville. Got it, too: http://www.shearonforschools.com/books_lesson_study.htm. But every time I talked to central office administrators, they would eventually ask, “But, how are we going to keep teachers from screwing this up?” My response was that I was more concerned about how we could keep central office adminsitrators from screwing it up.

    Of course, after 1 year, we got a new superintendent — an “answer man” from California. He let it run without support for 1 more year, then killed it.

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