Education, Inc.

Turning Learning into a Business

Revised Edition
Edited by Alfie Kohn and Patrick Shannon
(Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002)

Education Inc - Alfie Kohn

While educators want their students to grow into thoughtful and curious people, the overriding objective of corporations is to maximize their own profits. From that fact alone we can predict what is likely to happen to the nature and purposes of our schools when business becomes involved in the education of our children. This unique and timely anthology chronicles the extent of that involvement, along with the troubling consequences it has already brought.

Author Alfie Kohn and professor of education Patrick Shannon have assembled a provocative collection of articles, including

  • an analysis of the racial implications of voucher programs
  • vivid accounts of how schoolchildren are targeted by advertisers
  • descriptions of how corporate propaganda is insinuated into classroom curriculums
  • an exposé of the political connections enjoyed by giant textbook and test publishers
  • a critical look at the process whereby teachers are turned into grant writers.

This book builds a convincing case against those who see children as “customers” or “workers”– and those who would turn learning into a business. As Kohn notes, “[Corporations] are not shy about trying to make over the schools in their own image. It’s up to the rest of us to firmly tell them to mind their own businesses.”

Table of Contents

Introduction: The 500-Pound Gorilla – by Alfie Kohn

SECTION I – Commercial in Schools


Buy Me! Buy Me! – by Alex Molnar and Joseph A. Reaves

Commercialism in U.S. Schools Is Examined in New Report – by Constance L. Hays

Do Not Use as Directed: Corporate Materials in the Schools – by John Olson

Stealth TV – by Russ Baker

SECTION II – To Market, To Market – Market Logic in Schools


Reading Between the LInes – by Stephen Metcalf

Test-Prep Pressure Hits Grades Schools – by Karen Brandon

Students Don’t “Work” – They Learn – by Alfie Kohn

We Can Work It Out – by Patrick Shannon

Teachers as Grantseekers: The Privatization of the Urban Public School Teacher – by Sara Freedman

Schooling in Capitalist America – by Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis

SECTION III – Privatization of Schools


Schools for Sale: Public Education, Corporate Culture, and the Citizen-Consumer – by Henry A. Giroux

The Hollow Promise of School Vouchers – by Robert Lowe

For-Profits Target Education – by Barbara Miner

“Choice” and Other White Lies – by Makani N. Themba

School Choice Crucible: A Case Study of Boulder Valley – by Kenneth Howe, Margaret Eisenhart, and Damian Betebenner

Conclusion:  Steps We Can Take – by Patrick Shannon

What people are saying

“A must read for anyone who wants to keep public schools public.”

— American School Boards Journal

Where to buy it

If you are interested in obtaining the original edition of this book, an edited anthology published in 1997 by IRI/Skylight, please leave us a message at the e-mail address listed for questions & comments on the Contact Us page.