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Schools Owned by the Parents

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Mainwaring, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I agree. My almost-daughter has been an SMT member in such an establishment for the past seven years and thus ensured that when she dies she will be assumed directly into Heaven like the Blessèd Virgin Mary. In that particular school the Board is re-elected every year which means additional tacking, veering and thrills and spills on the mighty bacon-slicer.
  2. Arepa

    Arepa New commenter

    Many international schools in Colombia are owned by parents. It is not unusual. In Bogota, the leading schools are owned by parents (for Anglos, for Engles, and for Yanks. Hint.). I have had experience with parent owned schools (not the ones above) and found that conflicts of interest are manifested both at the financial level, particularly when contracts for buildings are given out, and at the classroom level, when particular teachers are singled out for criticism (I will discuss the latter conflicts here). The degree of these conflicts depend, in my opinion, on two factors,: the first is the governance structure of the Board and the second is the ability of the Head to deal with them. Some Boards work behind well defined structures and procedures (e.g. the Board speaks with one voice , only sets policy, and does not interfere in the day to day running of the school). These Boards have minimal conflicts of interest. Other Boards may interfere directly within the classroom at the behest of their own children or their friends. One Board I worked with even had their own paid inspector (reporting directly to them) roaming about the school. These interfering Boards are more common, because, I feel, they have not been educated in their roles and their duties. This, is a job of the Head (made easier in many cases by the governance requirements of some of the accrediting bodies). An effective Head skilled at defining procedures, at negotiation and at communication can possibly protect their faculty from conflicts of interest.

    This conflict of interest, in my experience, is not limited to parent owned schools. I have also worked in schools owned by companies and embassies (they had shares in the school) and in privately owned schools. I found parents who also represented companies and embassies to be even more demanding and authoritarian regarding classroom issues than parents elected by other parents (the financial conflicts of interest were less with these parents). Indeed, many conflicts, in my experience, come from the well educated spouses of international executives who did not speak the local language and had no jobs. They had no place to be heard or to expend their energy except their children's international school. They could speak directly to members of the Board (often their own spouses or friends) so they had considerable power and they were quite willing to use it.

    School owners also had their children at the school or their relatives' or friends' children so there was also considerable interference from them (the financial conflicts were very apparent here). It was very stressful to persuade a furious school owner not to fire a teacher because a friend's child failed the class. Once again it depended on the governance structure and, the ability of the Head (in this case, myself) to make the case that the school would suffer in the long term if standards were lowered.
    Thus, my advice is to look at the Head and judge if he/she is capable of protecting you. This site is full of stories of Heads who take the easy way out and watch as their teachers swing in the wind.

  3. Would the school you're interested in be in Spain?!
  4. gulfgolf

    gulfgolf Established commenter

    Nope. I really really don't. Free sample available on-line reveals it to be extremely poorly written, with no insights in sight, and I just can't stomach the thought of plodding through.
  5. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    In my experience, schools owned by single proprietors are infinitely worse than those owned by groups of parents. My school is a non-profit entity with a board consisting largely of parents or ex-parents and they really don't interfere much at all... much LESS than schools in the area which are run of profit. The owners are VERY sensitive to the needs and wishes of rich or influential parents...
  6. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I agree with miketribe. A school that is run as a business by a profit-driven owner is usually much worse than a not-for-profit school run by a groups of parents.

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