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Callahan (education and the cult of efficiency) Essay (Critical Writing)


Raymond Callahan argument was that educational administration had adopted scientific management, whose principles include good use of classroom space and buildings (Callahan, 1962). He also recounts how some principles of scientific management looks at students as means to an end and teachers as elements who require supervision by records in a bid to minimize waste.

Therefore, teachers are not looked at as knowing what they are supposed to be doing and thus they are always closely supervised in a business like system (Callahan, 1962). Today in UK schools, as Callahan argued, there has been progressive transformation of school administrators from philosophers to business managers; a trend which has continued to grow and largely dominates education policy.

Callahan also argued that, although some business principles have benefited educational system, the adoption of basic values of industrial scene is a debacle considering the fact that the foundation of schools is based on education for children (Callahan, 1962).

The benefit of education however was not on producing “the finest product at the lowest cost” but on the partial “at the lowest cost” principle (Callahan, 1962, p.244). He argued that, management schools are invaded by the prestige of business and business men and were elected to serve on school boards (Callahan, 1962).

Another Callahan principle is contained in his then argument that the vulnerability and the strong influence of press shape the opinions in the school management and administrators. Today most public institutions follow the instincts and ideals set by the popular press, who are a profit motivated enterprise (Callahan, 1962).

By the time he was discussing this, he realized that this vulnerability to external forces was occasioned by the fact that there were no school tradition to counteract such pressures. A lot of inefficiency criticism was also being directed to the institution when business men were the most influential people in the society.

In the United Kingdom for instance, schools are forming statutory partnerships especially in higher education which are versioned in a business model (Stephenson, 1999). In school, children are supposed to attain some grades at set key stages in their school careers and at the end of every stage, they take national tests.

After the tests, just like the results of corporate businesses, the results are used to place schools in league tables of achievements (Stephenson, 1999). The current situation in the UK attests to the fact that a teacher is blamed for almost every failure in most spheres of life (Stephenson, 1999).

Callahan, (1962) saw strong influence of business ideals in schools because schools were the producers of managers and thus should as well be managed well.

In current UK system, a teacher is blamed for business failure, political failure, and economic failure and more badly; the failure of England football team to reach later stages of world cup has been grossly blamed on teachers’ failure to uphold the competitive element in team games in physical education in schools (Stephenson, 1999).

Callahan pinpointed business ideals as detrimental to school management but today more external factors are in play to influence school management system. There are a number of external forces that are competing to shape the way education should be managed and what should be taught and thus leaving institutions vulnerable to non objective management systems.

All these scientific management policies have been versioned today in our schools, which have been commercialized and the motif of profit dominates over the welfare of learners. School administration is also crafted in a way that students are given ranks as managers of others and teachers hold positions just like in businesses.

References

Callahan, R.E. (1962). Education and the cult of efficiency. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

Stephenson, J. (1999). The Current Context of Partnerships in the School of Education. TNTEE Journal, 1(1), 57-66.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Callahan (education and the cult of efficiency)." May 22, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/callahan-education-and-the-cult-of-efficiency-critical-writing/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Callahan (education and the cult of efficiency)'. 22 May.

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