Professional Educators

Turn Around Schools: No Experience Required!

By Kevin Hart

WANTED: School turnaround specialist to boost achievement at struggling school with history of academic, social problems. Will be responsible for guiding major personnel and instructional decisions. NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE REQUIRED!

Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it? But according to a recent article in The New York Times, the opportunity to tap into federal dollars through the School Improvement Grants process has turned many individuals and organizations with little or no experience into overnight school turnaround specialists.

According to the article, these “consultants” are marketing themselves to SIG schools that are undergoing federally-mandated reforms that run the gamut from firing half their staffs to implementing major instructional changes. Despite having never participated in a school overhaul, some of these consultants are finding work and are being paid with public funds.

Among the firms that are now pitching school turnaround services are a husband and wife team that specializes in career coaching, and a charter school management company with five of its 10 schools on academic emergency in Ohio.

“This is like the aftermath of the Civil War, with all the carpetbaggers and charlatans,” Dr. Rudy Crew, a former New York City schools chancellor, told the Times.

To read the full story, click here.

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