Sometimes K-12 reformers argue that school districts are bound with bureaucracy (true), much more so than businesses. Hmm. Many large corporations are highly bureaucratic, too. Ponder the wisdom of Seth Godin here. Swap "profit" for "kids learning." He writes:
If you're selling a product or service to a business--to a non-owner--consider this hierarchy, from primary needs on down:
Avoiding risk Avoiding hassle Gaining praise Gaining power Having fun Making a profit
In most large organizations, nothing happens unless at least one of these needs are met, and in just about every organization big enough and profitable enough to buy from you, the order of needs starts with the first one and works its way down the list.
That means that a sales pitch that begins with how much money the organization will make is pretty unlikely to work. Instead, the amount of profit has to be tied in to one of the other more primary needs of the person sitting across the table from you (as well as the committee or boss she reports to).
The typical pitch from do-gooder types to school district officials is "Here's how we might help you raise student achievement."
But if large districts are like large businesses, a better pitch might be "Here's a very low risk, hassle-free way to gain praise from the superintendent."
My guess is that's how the Big Textbook Companies operate.