I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Just Smell the Money"

Meet the new kleptocracy:
With the Obama administration pouring billions into its nationwide campaign to overhaul failing schools, dozens of companies with little or no experience are portraying themselves as school-turnaround experts as they compete for the money.... 
Many of the new companies seem unprepared for the challenge of making over a public school, yet neither the federal government nor many state governments are organized to offer effective oversight, said Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a nonprofit group in Washington.
“Many of these companies clearly just smell the money,” Mr. Jennings said. 
Anyone noticing a trend here? Charter schools and turn-around consultants are poised to become the defense contractors of the 21st century; get ready for the equivalent of $500 toilet seats soon in our schools.

And what will those consultants give us for our money?
Bob and Megan Tschannen-Moran run one of the new groups. Their company, LifeTrek Inc., based in their home in Virginia, markets life and career coaching sessions to companies, churches and schools.
Ms. Tschannen-Moran is an education professor at the College of William & Mary, but the couple have never led a school overhaul, Mr. Tschannen-Moran said — although LifeTrek has been hired by a few school districts for strategic planning.
The couple recently founded a Center for Evocative Coaching, and this spring, Ohio put the center on a list of approved school turnaround specialists. In July, the couple changed the name of the center’s Web site to schooltransformation.com. The center can help schools by “facilitating new conversations through story listening, expressing empathy, appreciative inquiry and design thinking,” its Web site says. Much of the training can be done via conference call, Mr. Tschannen-Moran said. [emphasis mine]
Stay in teaching long enough, and you'll start to recognize this BS. There is a cottage industry of people who dress up bromides in "six-sigma"-like business claptrap and sell it to schools as "professional development." It's largely nonsense and a waste of money.

A perfect way to hustle up some scratch in this brave new world.

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