Archives for category: Boston Consulting Group

Listen up, friends! Your own school district might hire McKinsey or Boston Consulting Group, and you need to know that they have a template for “right-sizing” the district. The template has nothing to do with improving education. It is all about cutting costs.


Fortunately for us, Peter Greene has read the 200-page document prepared for the Boston Oublic School district by McKinsey. Here are the highlights:


Close 30-40 public schools.


Cut back or eliminate special education by putting more (all?) students in inclusion classes.


Save on transportation costs by having children walk greater distances to catch a bus.


Increase revenues by having more students eat school food.


Centralize school lunches so everything is cooked in one place and delivered to schools.


Slash central office staff.


Outsource as many functions as possible. (This usually causes costs to rise, since private companies that win contracts have to show a profit.)


Here’s a thought. How about if a committee of educators get a $1 million contract to study the operations of McKinsey and suggest ways to save money. No more expense accounts.cNo more private offices. Share secretaries. Cut salaries to match teacher salaries. There must be many more ways to economize at McKinsey.






Paul Tudor Jones is a hedge fund billionaire who enjoys a lavish life style, with multiple homes, jets, and yachts. He has cultivated his image as a philanthropist who cares deeply about the poor and needy. But his political activities assure Republican control of the New York State Senate, which refuses to raise taxes in the 1%. He is a major supporter of charter schools and of a group of wealthy backers of “Families for Excellent Schools,” which financed a multi-million dollar campaign to defeat Mayor Bill de Blasio’s effort to rein in charter schools.


He gives political contributions to Democrats (such as Corey Booker and Debbie Wasserman Schultz) and Republicans (such as Eric Cantor).


Know your billionaires.

Deborah Gist, the former state superintendent of schools in Rhode Island, has recommended a $920,000 contract for the Boston Consulting Group in Tulsa, where she is now district superintendent. The contract will be funded by “private donors.”

BCG has won similar contracts in other districts. Their reports typically recommend downsizing and privatization.

This is not good news for Tulsa.

The first question that citizens of Tulsa should ask is, what is the education expertise of this business consulting group? When last I looked, Margaret Spellings–who has never run a school district–was its education consultant. Since she is now the new president of the University of North Carolina system, who is running the education business at BCG? Who are the “experts” at BCG who know more than Deborah Gist and the teachers of Tulsa?

The Tulsa school board will be writing a blank check to BCG unless they find out exactly who is giving advice and why Tulsa should want it, even if someone else is paying the bill.

In other districts, when BCG arrives, public education is in danger.

A reader told me that the school board gave him this article to reassure him.

The lead author used to be Rick Hess’ assistant at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. None of the three co-authors ever worked in a school, according to their online bios.

What expertise do they have in education?

Margaret Spellings, who will assume the presidency of the University of North Carolina system in March, will begin with a report from the Boston Consulting Group. The management consultants are known for their dedication to privatization and profit. They were advisors in the project that led to the elimination of public schools and teachers’ unions inNew Orleans. Spellings served as their education advisor after her stint as Secretary of Education in the administration of George W. Bush. In that administration, she was one of the architects of No Child Left Behind.


Although Spellings lacks any scholarly credentials (she received a bachelor’s degree at the University of Houston), she should be an effective fundraiser among wealthy conservative benefactors. Since ideological donors often give with strings attached, UNC faculty will have to be wary.


The faculty is not at all pleased. They know what is coming down the pike: NCLB at UNC, data-driven management, corporate reform, cost-cutting, job training. Will academic freedom be respected? Stay tuned.

Peter Greene has done an amazing investigative review of the Boston Consulting Group. What is BCG? Why do reformers in so many cities hire this management consulting firm? What is its connection to the Gates Foundation and Arne Duncan?

Greene writes:

“Word went out today that immediately after Arkansas decided to make Little Rock Schools non-public, the Walton family called a “focus group” meeting “in conjunction with the Boston Consulting Group. This is worse than finding the slender man in the back of your family portrait. For a public school system, this is finding the grim reaper at your front door. And he’s not selling cookies.”

Greene reveals BCG’s business strategies, which are totally inappropriate for education but beloved by reformers.

“Bottom line? Say a little prayer for the formerly public schools of Little Rock, because BCG is in town and they’re sharpening their axe.”

Connecticut wants to transform its state university and community colleges for the 21st century. Who gets the nearly $2 million contract to redesign the system? Why, the Boston Consulting Group, of course. They are management consultants who specialize in outsourcing, privatizing, and downsizing. Jonathan Pelto reduces that the high-priced prescription will destroy the community colleges.


As Jonathan Pelto reports, BCG helps public authorities devolve their responsibilities to private entities. The lead consultant from BCG points to Néw Orleans and Dallas [?] as examples of successful transformation.


Any one of us could have written an equally compelling report for $500 or $1,000, not $1.8 million. But then Connecticut wouldn’t have the BCG logo on the cover of the report.

A friend passed along this email.

What an awesome threesome!

The Boston Consulting Group (whose reports always recommend privatization, as in Philadelphia); the Harvard Business School; and the Gates Foundation.

Lots of bright young men and women, probably graduates of our finest private schools. They will redesign public education for other people’s children. They need some good ideas.

I propose they take a field trip to Finland. There they will see happy, healthy children; no standardized testing; strong academic and vocational-technical programs; and a well-prepared, highly respected teaching profession.

What are the metrics? That will be their challenge!

Time for fresh thinking! Time to break the mold! Abandon the status quo of high-stakes testing and privatization!

Here goes:

“As part of an effort to improve the competitiveness of the United States, BCG has partnered with Harvard Business School and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to bring business and education leaders together to better understand how they can collaborate and transform America’s PK-12 education system.

“The BCG-Gates-HBS PK-12 research focuses on best practices for partnerships between business leaders and educators to accelerate improvement in America’s schools. The research has identified three high-leverage ways in which business leaders can engage with educators to bring about significant change for the better:

* Laying the policy foundations for education innovation
* Scaling up proven innovations that boost student outcomes
* Reinventing the local education ecosystem in cities and regions

“It is our pleasure to share with you two joint research reports on these important topics. We hope the first report, Lasting Impact: A Business Leader’s Playbook for Supporting America’s Schools, will inspire business and education leaders to work together on the urgent task of transforming the nation’s education system. The second report, Partial Credit: How America’s School Superintendents See Business as a Partner, summarizes the findings of a nationwide survey of school superintendents on business’s role in education.

“In 2014, we aim to spur action on many of the ideas that have been captured in the research so far. We welcome your thoughts and input on the material.

Best regards,

J. Puckett
Leader, Global Education Practice Tyce Henry
Nithya Vaduganathan

The Boston Consulting Group”

Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, harshly criticized one of Mayor Bloomberg’s signature initiatives, the school support networks.

“Me, if I were going to take over the school system, I would look heavily to change the networks,” Tisch said during a panel discussion hosted by the nonprofit group, PENCIL.

“I think the networks have basically failed children who are [English-language learners],” added Tisch, who is due to defend the state’s education policies at a state senate hearing Tuesday. “They have failed children who have special needs.”

Under the $90 million network system, principals choose from about 55 Department of Education or nonprofit-run support providers, which assist schools with teacher training, budgeting and more.

This is important, as the Boston Consulting Group (a management consulting firm) advised the Philadelphia School Reform Commission to replicate the Bloomberg networks,

Why BCG was impressed by the geographically dispersed networks is anyone’s guess.

This reader has a question.

I am aware that BCG recommended mass school closings in Philadelphia and handover of students to private organizations.

Can you help?

“Which cities has the BCG done this work in so far: Memphis, New Orleans, Cleveland, Philadelphia… what about chicago/DC/Detroit??? Was that BCG work too? The BCG never released their criteria for evaluating which schools to close- nor did they do site visits…. I want to piece together their decision-making process in order to reveal it for what it is… but I do not have a complete list of cities where they have made recommendations- can you provide that, Diane?”

The School Reform Commission of Philadelphia plans to close 37 schools to save money while opening charter schools.

Parents, students, teachers, and others are fighting back.

The city’s schools have been under state control for the past decade.

The School Reform Commission was urged by management consultants–the Boston Consulting Gtoup–to privatize more schools, even though Philadelphia tried it a decade ago and it didn’t work.