What is the current state of worker co-ops in the educational system?

I'm a credentialed teacher working as a substitute for the last four years, and finding it difficult to find a permanent position, since my suject matter isn't a STEM subject. Not to get too deep into it, but I'm not convinced that the way public schools are/have been run are conducive to learning. Too often these issues are left to charters to solve, and all I see as a result are underserved communities and admin dressed like bankers, driving fancy cars, funneling tax money into their pockets. Are co-ops a viable solution? Are they being utilized in this country? How are they being used? Or why aren't they being used?

Official response from submitted

Coop schools have existed for a very long time (although often not labeled as such), including in the US. Some charters started that way. Many public schools chose to operate that way over recent decades in the US. But there is no organized program to construct such schools, to compare their democratic functioning to that of conventionally operated (i.e. hierarchical, top down, and undemocratic) schools, etc. There is no good reason not to offer citizens a choice of sending children to democratically operated schools as opposed to hierarchically operated schools. Indeed, choice might enable the population to observe or even try one versus the other to form judgements about what mix of schools might work best for any society. As to why coop schools remain few, I suspect there are many interacting reasons including the bias against worker coops in the business world, Cold War history and ideology that associated Soviet communism with all efforts collectively to run institutions, lack of familiarity with cooperative ways of functioning, government tax breaks and subsidies pour into capitalistically organized enterprises but much, much less so into worker coops.

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  • Richard Wolff
    responded with submitted 2017-05-27 16:12:51 -0400
  • George Rebollo
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-05-26 16:12:01 -0400