As the School Turns

The reviews are in: education reform in Massachusetts has jumped the shark

It’s time for yet another episode in our long-running—and fast moving—reality series: As the School Turns. In today’s episode we visit two Boston schools that have been turning, returning and turning again. And we meet the guest stars who will at last usher our schools out of the ratings basement where they’re currently mired and into the limelight of outstandingness for which they’re destined. Uncork your boxes, readers; the show is about to begin. Continue reading

Rephorm on the Rocks

How the rich cornered the market on great ideas to $ave our failing public schools

When we last checked in with our rich friends, they were flush with cash and aflurry with many excellent ideas for saving our failed and failing public schools. Now, with the stock market ascendant and corporate profits at an all time high, these generous benefactors are themselves rising to new heights of generosity and excellence. Today’s outstanding idea is brought to us (and to our failing schools) by the rich of New York City who have come up with an idea so bold, so transformative, so disruptive that we have no choice but to raise our glasses to them. Continue reading

Meet the EduShyster of the Month

William Guenther, CEO of the “nonprofit” school turnaround experts Mass Insight, earns $237 per hour for dispensing advice that has produced excellent results–for his bank account.

What do you call an organization that rakes in millions of tax payer dollars to turn around schools but never seems to produce any actual results? Elementary Watson! I believe that you call that organization an EduShyster. Meet this month’s nominee: Mass Insight–or Ma$$ In$ight–as they might more accurately be called.

Mass Insight Education, the sister organization of Mass Insight Global Partnerships–which does not sound ominous at all–has been cleaning up in the education reform “space” since 1997. Just how much money has the group raked in? According to the last Form 990 filed by the group in 2009, CEO William Guenther reported earning a cool $370,000–for 30 hours per week work. That works out to roughly $237 per hour. And that was three years ago…

Damn! Mass. Insight must be some serious school turn-er-arounders, wouldn’t you say? And more importantly, how can we get in on some of this turnaround action?  Continue reading

Fuzzy Charter Math Always Adds Up***

***After a few drinks…

Dear EduShyster:

I run an emerging chain of charter schools with many innovative best practices™, highly effective teachers™ and students with excellent posture™ who excel at test taking™. Also, we believe that every student is a scholar with outstanding growth potential.™ All of our many innovations and best practices are reflected on our website and in glossy promotional materials, what we call our Prospectus for Excellentus,™ There is just one problem. Our student data is a little, well, meh, and many of our former scholars turned out to have less than excellent posture™ so were forced to leave us before they could recognize their outstanding growth potential™.  Could this jeopardize our ability to open new schools wherever we want and land lucrative state contracts?

Charterus Maximus
ps: Please don’t tell my boss that I sent this as it could very well get me fired
pps: I am the boss Continue reading

Getting Schooled by the Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group is looking to expand its market share in the lucrative public education “turnaround” space.

When Philadelphia went looking for a firm to devise a “turnaround” plan for its schools, city leaders made the obvious choice: hire a management consulting group with no particular knowledge of public education and pay them $237,000 PER WEEK. The plan has worked out very well for the Boston Consulting Group–think lesser known cousin of Bain or McKinsey; they’ll no doubt be able to parlay their “expertise” in transforming school districts  into another lucrative deal near you.

The Boston Consulting Group identified 60 schools to close and is helping line up private vendors to replace the Philadelphia School District’s unionized blue collar workforce. It’s all part of what one local rag described as ” just part of the blue chip consulting firm’s far-ranging effort to help the beleaguered city school system rethink how it does business.” Continue reading