Mr. Starr, (no, not Ringo) is another one of those "I've made my millions on Wall Street so now it's time to do some good" people who has started a school in Somalia that basically seeks to provide everything a school should have to ensure that the students are successful. Hooray for you Mr. Starr!
However, what gave me pause from this Christian Science Monitor article was the following: ..."what makes this school different is that it is run like a business with the Somali people as both shareholders and customers. And it’s in this respect that the former financial executive has most pointedly parted ways with convention, bringing a level of accountability to aid work that its critics have long found lacking."
Really....businesses are accountable and nonprofit aid organizations are not? I have a different impression, of course, beginning by recognizing that nonprofit boards have, for the most part, proven the ability to provide way more accountability than for-profit or public sector boards. Agreeably there have been lapses but if "being business like" is all about accountability, then I would encourage nonprofits to turn to government for a role model before turning to business for how to do it "right" while I think we know what that's generally like.
When exactly are we going to stop calling that which works "business-like" and start looking at the governance and management practices that truly produce results and call these practices "effective models" recognizing that each of the sectors has the places where they generally fail and the places where they generally succeed? And, while we are on the subject, Mr. Starr never refers to his school's governance, at least in this article. While Mr. Starr does brag about being a customer-driven school, an excellent principle I whole-heartedly commit to, like the typical entrepreneur, Mr. Starr doesn't really value a consumer or community guided and supported organization -- what I believe to be one of the best features of a nonprofit.