To profit or not to profit, that is the question…


Where do you stand: should school be for-profit or not?

“[t]he indignation shown by many people today at the mention of the very word profit indicates how little understanding there is of the vital function that profits play in our economy.” (Hazlitt, 1948:5 in Stanfield, 2012:29)

Similarly, Joseph Schumpeter commented that people seem to exhibit an ‘ineradicable prejudice that every action intended to serve the profit interest must be anti-social by this fact alone’ (Schumpeter, 1954:234 in Stanfield, 2012:29).

‘evidence from history and the present day…clearly shows that there is no conflict between the profit motive and the provision of good-quality learning and education of all forms’ (Stanfield, 2012:39).

A conclusion?

”a school is, of course, a business, but the bottom line is more than dollars and cents and its paradoxes a reality for many school leaders” (2001:164).

One possible solution to these paradoxes is the adoption of ‘triple bottom-line’ framework (MacDonald, 2009) — recognition that profit is only one of a school’s aims, and perhaps not the most important one. For MacDonald, the three bottom lines are ‘financial,’ ‘academic’ and the ‘intangible core’, a framework which likely suits most schools but, equally, could be adapted to context.

Educationalist. Writer. Sharing (hopefully wise) words on school leadership and management.

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