Wilson Learning Corporation, a major provider of private-sector sales and management training, is betting that its programs can be adapted for teachers and principals in public schools.
The company has teamed up with Education Alternatives Inc., a pioneer in the private management of public education, to offer its services in schools entrusted to E.A.I. The two companies plan to roll out their first offering, a development seminar for school principals, in June.
"We have always had an interest in the education market,'' Velma J. Lashbrook, the vice president for research and development at Wilson Learning, said last week in an interview. But the high cost of trying to sell programs to individual schools had discouraged Wilson Learning, she said.
By teaming up with E.A.I., which is actively soliciting public school clients, Wilson Learning has much of its marketing done for it. Education Alternatives, in turn, gains the benefit of Wilson Learning's training expertise as it seeks to prepare those in its schools to bring about change.
The focus of Wilson Learning's training, Ms. Lashbrook said, is largely on "the people skills that are necessary to bring about change in organizations.''
The two companies also are working to develop skills-assessment tools for educators and guides to help principals and teachers address their specific training needs.
Officials at Wilson Learning touted their undertaking as the first to take proprietary training programs developed for the private sector and adapt them to be marketed to public schools.
But some experts on educational training last week challenged that claim. The basic idea, they said, is not new.
"The field is full of individual consultants who teach leadership to both the private and public sectors,'' said Scott D. Thomson, the executive secretary of the National Policy Board for Educational Administration.
Such consultants, he noted, often employ private-sector skills assessments and training methods in working with public school administrators.
In some cases, large corporations, in an effort to boost education reform, have let school administrators sit in on leadership-training programs.
And Gary D. Marx, the senior associate executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, pointed out that his organization and several others already offer corporate-style training programs for their members.
Vol. 13, Issue 32