Business and Schools: Cartoons*

Most of the cartoons I have found about business involvement in K-12 schools scold corporations for seeking profits in schools and students.

Some cartoonists see business-inspired reformers reshaping school practices and how teachers are paid. Such as the following.

And other cartoonists see the pervasiveness of economist thinking in policymaking (i.e., importance of building human capital to better compete globally) and the spread of market-based ideas in schools and among children.

It goes without saying that I have yet to find any cartoons pointing out contributions of business to schools.


This month’s cartoons on different topics linked to school reform and classroom practice has been an on-going feature of my blog since September 2011. For  readers who wish to see previous monthly posts of cartoons, see: “Digital Kids in School,” “Testing,” “Blaming Is So American,”  “Accountability in Action,” “Charter Schools,” and “Age-graded Schools,” Students and Teachers, Parent-Teacher Conferences, Digital Teachers, Addiction to Electronic Devices, and Testing, Testing, and Testing.



Filed under Reforming schools

11 responses to “Business and Schools: Cartoons*

  1. Larry, as a person who does work for a for-profit K-12 company, SOME of these type of cartoons are a bit tough to swallow. I see them everywhere. I do get some good chuckles, too. Don’t get me wrong, there are some for-profit k-12 companies that are less than authentic.

    I’ve worked for K-12 companies and founded and sold a K-12 company. I now work for the company that acquired mine. What I find amazing is that it is common for me to have meetings with school district personnel who make more money than me and the people I work with. Sometimes there is a room full of school district administrators who all have salaries far greater than anyone representing my company. How has this fact been lost in the public eye?

    [I’m not complaining at all. I believe school district staff work incredibly hard, on schedules that are tighter than any other occupation I’ve seen, and with constantly difficult circumstances. They deserve to be paid well.]

    • larrycuban

      Thanks, Carmen, for the comment on the business cartoons. I searched and searched for ones that reflected positives of business involvement with schools–remember cartoonists skewer and caricature rather than praise–but still I could find none that, for example, commented on business-school partnerships or corporate donations to schools or corporate volunteers in schools.

      • Larry, truly, I don’t take offense to these cartoons. That would be a real waste of energy. But, what I’d like to hear your opinion on is this part of the comment: ” Sometimes there is a room full of school district administrators who all have salaries far greater than anyone representing my company. How has this fact been lost in the public eye?”

        I find this fascinating; if an Assistant Superintendent of a large school district marries a Superintendent of another large school district, they are likely earning over the $343K threshold that makes them a 1%er. In most other cases, not the large districts, they would be in the top 2% of earners.

        Any thoughts here?

      • larrycuban

        Hi Carmen,
        Not sure what your concerns are when school administrators earn more than folks in your company or when two administrators who marry make it into the top 2 percent of wage earners. Academics in top public and private universities earn over 100K for three-quarters or two semesters of teaching 4 courses and conducting/publishing their research. They may well earn more than those in your company particularly if they have academic spouses. Is your point that if the public knew of salaries of school administrators or academics exceeded some corporate or company managers, they would be upset over educators’ salaries? Or that business salaries are not as high as all of the media splash over CEO salaries exceeding 50-75 times of average salaried employees in those companies. So I am puzzled by what point you are trying to make. Help me out here, Carmen.

      • Larry, I’m not trying to make a point, I’m trying to get your thoughts on the reality that school district staff often make much more money than those that work for the ‘for profit’ companies being demonized day in and day out by outlets such as these cartoons. As you have expressed, it is not easy or even possible to find a cartoon at all favorable about ‘for profit’ companies in education. They almost all show the companies as being greedy, immoral, and all around undesirable. So, do you have a perspective, as a historian, on where and when this perception was built up to a point that is now the widely accepted, indisputable truth regardless of facts?

      • larrycuban

        Sure, Carmen, the period I would turn to would be the growth of “captains of industry” or “Robber Barons” with their corporate monopolies in the late-19th and early 20th centuries (they were called “trusts” then). Presidential campaigns debated the value of “Big Business” and Wall Street finagling that triggered economic recessions (they were called “Panics”then) to the U.S. and consumers. Recall the presidential campaigns between 1896-1912 when inequalities of wealth grew dramatically, muckraking books on the meat-packing industry, grain, steel, and railroad cartels were excoriated in the press and by the national unions that had emerged in the sometimes violent struggles between corporate leaders and workers/consumers. If you want to see anti-business and anti-Wall Street cartoons in those years, try:

  2. Pingback: Cartoons on Common Core Standards | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

  3. Pingback: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – March, 2014 | Live Long and Prosper

  4. MI ED News Clips

    Reblogged this on MI ED News Clips.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s