I found this advertisement in the pages of Hemisphere, the inflight magazine of United airlines.
Click the thumbnail image to see the full size ad.
I was struck by the contrast between the apparent commercial success of this company (#1 Childcare Franchise for 7 years according to Entrepreneur Magazine, with over 280 schools and quickly growing), and what I perceived as a total disregard for pedagogy and best practices (the woman featured is described as “not a teacher, nor does she have an education degree, and yet she owns a preschool franchise.”)
Why does this concern me so deeply? Because this kind of business franchise shows just how effectively marketing trumps substance. Check it out the Goddard School for yourself.
Why does this give me such hope? Because if a business franchise with marketing and a support network for new schools can grow this quickly without substance, what could Montessori schools do with the same support? What if NAMTA, AMI, or a third party developed a franchise or non-profit support system for new schools? What if we could entice local entrepreneurs to invest in opening Montessori schools and hiring trained teachers? Kellie McDonald from the article isn’t teaching in her school, she just owns it. She might have opened a Montessori school if the choice was available.