In an earlier post today, I wondered about the Boston Consulting Group. I knew this was a major management consulting organization, one of those companies that helps corporations do strategic planning. I knew that they advised the Philadelphia School Reform Commission to privatize a large number of its schools and gave the same advice to the planning committee for Memphis.
This bothers me because public schools are supposed to be instruments of the local community; they are supposed to be run along democratic principles, attuned to the needs and aspirations of their local community, employing professionals to carry out professional responsibilities on behalf of the community. But along come the hired guns to rearrange the schools of the community and give them to private corporations. I wondered, who are these guys? What is the source of their expert knowledge of public education?
A faithful reader did the research and she found an article that answers most of my questions. The post went up only hours ago! This reader, who posts anonymously, wasted no time.
I read the article. It is jaw-dropping. It deserves a post all to itself. It is not just about BCG. It is about Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, North Carolina, Delaware, and many other places where the corporate reformers are taking over public education for fun and profit. It’s about the close ties between BCG and KIPP.
Please read it. If only half of it is true, we are in deep trouble. If all of it is true…well, what can I say. Read it.
And this article details the influence of consultants in general and BCG in particular. You begin to understand why so much of the federal funding gets siphoned off by consultants, the biggest growth industry. One analysis concluded that 25-35 percent of federal funding for School Improvement Grants went not to the schools but to consultants.
One thing that becomes clear is BCG’s interest in cutting costs. Another is in opening the path to for-profit corporations. Not much about any interest in education or learning or curriculum or teacher morale or such.
These guys should not be flying under the radar. Let them be known by what they advocate and what they do to our community schools.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
“Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has been around the block or two when it comes to corporate schooling, even though it profits from other consulting and includes as alumni Mitt Romney, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and hedge fund manager John Paulson. Along with Broad Foundation support, the consulting firm worked on Delaware’s Vision 2015 for a longer school day in 2007, designed a business plan for the North Carolina New Schools Project, and have left footprints in Cleveland, Arizona, Seattle, Chicago, Memphis, and New Orleans. BCG, as Daniel Denvir has noticed, recommended “that New Orleans, which has decimated its teachers’ union and put most schools under charter control, create the exact same species of achievement networks in 2006” as the ones proposed for Philly.
“Since at least 2007, BCG has been working on linking teacher pay to student test scores and so-called academic achievement for the Dallas Independent School District. Under J. Puckett’s Texas office leadership, BCG has also struck a deal with Uplift Education, where Jeb Bush’s son, George P., sits on the board of directors. Puckett and Phil Montgomery, Uplift’s founding member, both sit on the board of Commit, an IBM, Bank of America, Bank of One-funded school group. Puckett was also a player in the Exxon Mobile/Gates Foundation-hyped National Math and Science Initiative (page 27, PDF box).
“BCG heavily promotes online learning in K-12 and college. In “Unleashing the Potential of Technology in Education,” the consulting firm calls for an “aligned set of educational objectives, standards, curricula, assessments, interventions, and professional development,” all centered around online technology. Deeming charter schools the leaders of internet schooling, the “study’s” authors quote online profiteer and Democrat for Education Reform’s Tom Vander Ark, praises Rocketship for hiring low wage non-teachers, and thanks their senior advisor, Margaret Spelling, Bush’s U.S. Secretary of Education. The” report” also praises the conflict-of-interest-laden School of One in NYC and KIPP’s BetterLesson program.