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Business-Managed Democracy

“Business-managed democracies are those in which the political and cultural arrangements are managed in the interests of business”

Sharon Beder

Business-Managed Education



What Works cover In 1986 the US Department of Education published a booklet on What Works in schools, supposedly based on extensive research. Its prescription for schools included enforcement of discipline, memorization (of spelling, literary passages and historical dates), moral awareness, academic rigour, good character, continuous assessment and positive work attitudes. It stated:


"Teachers can encourage students to develop memory skills by teaching highly structured and carefully sequenced lessons, with frequent reinforcement for correct answers. Young students, slow students, and students who lack background knowledge can benefit from such instruction.
In addition, teachers can teach ‘mnemonics,’ that is devices and techniques for improving memory."

What Works was part of the push to return to the traditional paradigm, or back-to-basics, as it has been referred to. According to Ben Brodinsky, in a 1977 issue of Phi Delta Kappan, the characteristics of back-to-basics were:

  1. Most of the school day will be devoted to reading, writing and arithmetic. Phonics is the method to teach reading rather than whole-word or phrase methods.
  2. In high school, the basic subjects are English, science, math and history. Textbooks should not display non-traditional values in sex, religion or politics, nor promote criticism of the nation or the family.
  3. Pedagogy is teacher-centered with stern discipline.
  4. Frequent drills, homework every day, testing, and class recitation on required material.
  5. Traditional letter or number-grading, issued often.
  6. Corporal punishment permitted. Dress codes should be enforced, including student hair styles.
  7. Academic criteria for promotion; no social promotion.
  8. No ‘frills’ such as ‘clay modeling’ and ‘sex education’.
  9. Fewer electives, increase required courses.
  10. Eliminate experimental and innovative courses, and methods in value-clarification.
  11. Eliminate social service courses such as drug education, driver training, etc
  12. Return patriotism and respect for religion to schools.
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Contributers' Updates and Examples

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