A reader from Tennessee sent this comment:
“Well, well, Knox County Schools’ old friend The Parthenon group raises its ugly head out of the caves of East TN up to Chicago. In 2014 KCS Board of Education hired The Parthenon Group to do a “resource analysis” to the board about “improving “the school system. Parthenon made the usual recommendations – increase class size, cut librarians, counselors, etc- all about cutting costs. Some of us did a little investigating into Parthenon & presented this info to the school board in 2014. On the Parthenon Group’s website we located 2 presentations they gave to potential investors about money making opportunities in education. One of their prime examples for return on investment $$$ was Corinthian College. You may recall Corinthian’s fraud & its backdoor investor bailout by Duncan’s DoEd.
“Here is my speech to KCS BoEd made in March 2014 about The Parthenon Group.
“When I was much younger my Daddy & I went looking to buy a car. I decided on a car by first picking the one that was painted my favorite color and my Daddy always decided on a car by first looking under the hood. Thank heaven, I didn’t make the final decisions on buying cars for the family. I learned from my Daddy.
“After reading the Parthenon Group’s recommendations, our school community should should under their hood.
“Parthenon’s education group is made up of “entrepreneurial” consultants, mostly newly minted MBAs. It’s ironic that they would recommend disincentivize teachers in obtaining advanced degrees when 10 of them have MBA’s. Teachers are our children’s models for pursuing more education, not less.
“In 2009 & 2012 The Parthenon education group made 2 presentations entitled INVESTING IN EDUCATION. WHERE ARE THE OPPORTUNITIES & HOW CAN YOU CAPTURE THEM? and PARTHENON PERSPECTIVES : BALANCING OPPORTUNITIES & RISK, respectively.
“The target of these OTHER reports are businesspersons or business entities that want to start up a new for-profit school systems. Parthenon is selling potential profiteers happy fairy tales of “creative destruction.”
“Parthenon’s vision for their investors is what they envision for public education, including Knox Co Schools- that is, to kick public schools to the curb and take over via charters. The old public ed system will, like public utilities, be killed. And then–they’ll already be positioned to take over.
“Business types don’t like to be reminded of other unsuccessful “creative destructions” For example, how the death of public utilities spawned Enron.
“The long-term goal presented here is not to keep the public school system –it’s to grow for-profit schools to be much larger than the public system, then reduce public schools enrollment to those “less profitable” students.
“Note the questions slide 5: “How well can you supplement the management teams” and ” what is your experience as an activist owner? Translation: This is about business people taking over schools, and running them.
In the meantime, they can only suck up public funding through very creative “non-traditional” (translation: deceptive) strategies. Also slide 5.
Hence their question: “Will you do non-traditional structures? (non-profits…MINORITY INTERESTS! Getting rich while pretending to be a nonprofit–can you say scam?
“The one story of profitability & success is Corthinian Colleges. The more you read about Corinthian, the more slimy it is. Corithinain is currently under federal investigation in CA for fraud. Their stock price today is $1.55/ That’s a heck of an investment!! Their case here is so speculative and risky that you really would have to be insane or very ideological to do it. As an educator & a taxpayer I oppose hustlers like those in the Parthenon Group, who are eagerly inflating the next speculation bubble with breathless sales pitches
“Now, slide 11 from the 2012 pp points out how growth in the ed industry depends on a guaranteed failure mechanism, like the CC & PARCC- the testing delivery system for generation after generation of public school turnover. :“if Common Core gets teeth the achievement gap will get bigger.” Standardized tests have by design a lowest 5% of test scores every year.
“What kind of a person celebrates humiliating children to peddle investments? Only swindlers at Parthenon can “dispassionately” recommend increasing class sizes for Knox County’s voiceless poor and disabled children.
“Leading up to the wall St crash of 2008 a lot of traders who sold their clients derivatives knew they were selling junk. These Parthenon profiteers are definitely selling time-bomb edu-investments- cash in & leave while OUR children & taxpayers pay the price. We should be skeptical and demand evidence at every turn from these hustlers. Take nothing on faith. Look under the hood.
“Their business priorities are in direct conflict with the priorities of Knox County Schools, e.g. children, parents & education professionals. Cutting costs by Increasing class sizes & disincentivize teachers in obtaining advanced degrees is not an education plan. As an educator & a taxpayer I oppose hustlers like those in the Parthenon Group denying our children the education opportunities they deserve.”