Copy of Globe and Mail letter (fwd)

Lee Lorch (lorch@MATHSTAT.YORKU.CA)
Thu, 20 Nov 1997 21:43:59 -0500

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Date: Thu, 20 Nov 1997 15:52:37 EST
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Organization: Schulich School of Business
Subject: Copy of Globe and Mail letter

Dear Lee Lorsch,
you asked to see the letter I wrote, so here it is. I had a very
complimentary e-mail from the president saying she enjoyed it. I
thought it was a classy touch.
Pat B.

Subject: Bill 160 and MBAs
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 1997 12:00:59 EST

To: Editor, Globe and Mail

From: Patricia Bradshaw, Associate Professor, Schulich School of
Business, York University

Re: Bill 160

Date: November 16, 1997

I teach in the MBA program at York Univeristy and am a single parent
with three school age sons. I have been thinking a lot about Bill 160
and what it might mean for me. I would like to share my thinking from
two perspectives; professor versus mother.

The business school professor side of me is pondering the
opportunities for business schools of the new market niche I see
opening up. I suspect that principals and vice-principals will,
because of their distrust for the government, resign from their
positions and return to the classrooms. I don't blame them given the
fact that Bill 160 was changed a the last minute in such ways that
they will lose their senority, security and benefits and then be
asked to sign short-term contracts with no sense of what the
contracts will contain. So, if they return to teaching there will be
a need for school managers. At York we have programs in Nonprofit Management
and Leadership, Arts and Media Management, Real Propoerty Management,
and so on. Why not quickly start a program on Education Management? I
wouldn't want to see American companies given the contract to
administer the schools, which I hear is the other alternative and the
major competitive threat. We believe that management is a generic
skill that applies across all contexts, so surely we can train MBAs to be
mangers of public schools!

I teach managerial skills to all our incoming students and we give
them one class on supportive communication, two classes on
group dynamics and team work, three classes on negotiations and
half a class on ethics. Maybe we would need a few more specific
skills for school administors and we could create some electives on
school systems. I wonder if we would require the students to take an
elective on child psychology?

Now the mother side of me speaks up in this internalized discussion I
keep having. I think of the best of my students and I compare them
with the principals and vice-principals who I have been in contact
with over the past 16 years. The principals and vice-principals told me
when my child needed help from a therapist, they mediated serious conflicts
between the children in the school yard, they told me that my
children have learning disabilites and what the school could do to
help, they supported me in my stress and struggle to raise three
children in difficult times. They carry the ethic of care and a team
based model of work which I have never seen in the business school or
in business. Sure I have caring and supportive students but on the whole
they don't have the training and experience of the principals and
Vice-principals to deal with difficult, emotional and multi-cultural
contexts, with parents, children and teachers.

So I argue to myself, do I think I can teach this ethic of care to my
MBA students? I would like to say yes but I am afraid it is built
slowly and teachers are socialized into it. I can't teach it and I
really don't want to see the schools without it. For this reason I do
not support Bill 160. I don't want the ethic of care replaced by the
rationality of business and the fiscal imperative. I think business
schools should not capitalize on this market niche and all business
people should tell the government they are wrong to impose the
business model on the public schools in Ontario.

Dr. Patricia Bradshaw
Associate Professor, Organizational Behaviour
Schulich School of Business
York University

457 Sutherland Drive
Toronto, Ontario
M4G 1K7
home 422-4606
office 736-5093