Problem? Ask a CEO (That’s Chief <em>Expert</em> Officer to You, Buddy!)

March 3, 2014

2-minute read

Parents, take note! Your search for clarity in the education debates is finally over.  The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) commissioned a report a few weeks ago that set out a fairly bleak picture of general dissatisfaction with public schools and then concluded with a series of recommendations about how to “fix” the problem.

You know, by measuring teacher quality through student outcomes, in addition to having students and other “impartial” parties judge a teacher’s performance through more frequent (possibly surprise) evaluations...and then assigning bonuses to those educators deemed worthy. Because: incentives!

Not the “finally! Enough resources for field trips and extracurricular activities” kind of incentives—I’m talking cold, hard cash, people. After all, what teacher won’t be incentivized to find an hour or two out of their day in which to be extra fabulous—in addition to coaching, tutoring kids after class, and scrounging for change to buy lunch or find bus fare for another student—if it means a little sumpin’-sumpin’ on their paycheque?

Don’t get me wrong. Asking CEOs how to improve pedagogy and student engagement makes total sense. I mean, just look at the stellar, kid-and-community-friendly corporate track record: their commitment to health promotion (evidenced by a range of fluorescent-coloured, high quality after-school snacks); their recognition of the dangers of socioeconomic inequality (surely we’re only moments away from having workers and community members help set CEO bonuses and stock options in the interests of, you know, fairness); their demonstrated transparency, public accountability and adherence to public safety regulations (in rail transport, for example); their clear commitment to gender pay equality and a deliberate and systematic rejection of the “Old Boys’ Club” stereotype; their ongoing desire to give back to the community in tax rates that are indicative of the degree to which they too benefit from and are responsible for public infrastructure.

So it’s no wonder that, when talking about how to "improve" our schools, the first group we should turn to for thoughtful, not-at-all-self-interested advice is Corporate Canada.

My question—and no doubt you are wondering about this too—is: why stop at education?

After all, we’re talking about a very elite, specialized, qualified group of hyper-talented experts—and let’s be honest: the proof is in the pudding. Or rather, in the paycheque. Only those with a superhuman skill-set and a work ethic that would make Spartans look like slackers could be worthy of such 24 carat compensation.

So who better to provide advice on any number of puzzlers?

Leaky faucet? Call a CEO.

Nothing in the fridge for dinner? Don’t panic—call a CEO.

Need a babysitter? A family doctor? Advice on getting out red wine stains? Help with homework? Filing your income taxes (heh heh)? Persistent post-nasal drip? Finding the source of that mysterious and unpleasant kitchen odour? Come on people, don’t waste time doing research or committing sociology—if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, you know which experts to turn to.

I checked: 1-800-CALL-CEO appears to be available. And with a bit of luck—otherwise known as unpaid interns—hopefully someone can provide immediate assistance, saving you from a recorded message that goes something like this: There's no one available to take your call: third quarter results were particularly impressive after the last round of layoffs so to celebrate we’re off to Turks and Caicos!


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