If schools were like Starbucks…

I just read a quick piece in Education Week that asked the question Is Starbucks the Right Model for Educational Excellence?  And while the analogy isn’t incredibly well-developed, the author points to a characteristic of Starbucks that would be wonderful for the American education system to emulate:  consistency and reliability.

You can order a specialty drink at a Starbucks in Seattle and get the same tasting drink as you can from a Starbucks in Richmond, in New York, in a Target location, in a rural area.  The author, Justin Baeder, claims that the reason for this consistency and reliability is absolutely intentional, and it’s tied to extensive training for Starbucks baristas.

What if our schools were as consistent as this franchise?  What if our outcomes were equally as strong for all students, and that we could achieve excellence reliably over and over again regardless of location?

In the case of schools, no school operates in a vacuum.  Context absolutely matters – local support, funding and resources, attitudes towards education, etc.  Every school is comprised of individual learners with unique interests and learning needs.  One size-fits all will likely never work.  I do not believe the author is arguing for a more rigid, top-down approach to educating students, but high quality professional education for teachers would be a reasonable starting point.  But what a wonderful ideal – that you could send your child to school anywhere and have confidence in their school experience!

Think about that next time you order your  $5 venti soy latte!


2 thoughts on “If schools were like Starbucks…

  1. I was recently at Columbia University and one of the presenters talked about making a covenant to parents – as teachers we promise to educate your child regardless of what occurs outside of school, when your child is in my classroom, I will educate him/her. I loved that idea. As you said – confidence in a school!

  2. I love the thought of a “covenant,” Lynn! It hints of something sacred. I encourage teachers to kindly think beyond the challenges that students bring with them to the classroom door. The good news is – the kids are at YOUR door! Now what will YOU do to move them forward? You can’t control what happens once they leave, but their time with you is a unique gift. Another concept that I fully champion is the idea of giving students everything they need to succeed within the timeframe that you have them. Don’t assume that they can get help at home. If they can, what a wonderful bonus! If not, don’t penalize the child for their lack of support and resources. These are good reminders for me as well. Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂

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