Where does DCPS spend its cash? On Consultants

Someone leaked to me a list of all the contracts awarded by DCPS from August 2009 through May 2010. These go to textbooks, uniforms, school equipment, supplies, computers, hiring consultants, purchasing cleaning supplies for the janitors, and much, much more. It does not include salaries, office rent for DCPS headquarters, electricity, heat, or other things. But it seems to include a LOT of other things.

I was astonished at the enormous fraction of these funds that goes into the category “consultants”. Out of roughly $97 million spent on all of these various items, about $47 million went to consultants – nearly half of the money spent by DCPS. And, if you look carefully, a lot of those general ‘consulting’ funds go to Rhee’s former companies: Teach for America and the New Teacher Project. So, no wonder MR could claim she’s quadrupled funding for staff development. She did it by hiring her friends with little experience in actual classroom teaching, to ‘teach’ to the rest of us.

And notice the very small part of all of this that actually gets into the classroom for school-related supplies, equipment, books, computers, and so on: just about exactly one-third (33.7%).

Will this continue under interim chancellor Henderson, and Vincent Gray?

Here is the summary table I made. Read it and weep.


Published in: on January 3, 2011 at 7:32 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is very important information that needs to be distributed as widely as possible.

    Despite the immense hype machine that is behind Rhee, she is a more vulnerable figure than many think. Information like this, along with her inability to document her claims of remarkable test results in her second and third (and final) years as a teacher, her admitted abuse of students, and the cold manipulation she projects, have the marks of her eventual undoing.

    How much destruction she causes until that occurs is another question.

    It’s time to use some real “data”


  2. Actually, ‘leak’ is not the correct word. Anybody can look at the contracts awarded for the previous 12 months at this URL:

    But be prepared for some heavy work in sorting things out.


  3. Do you have detail on who got the money? There are rumors, of course, that Kaplan has newly become a recipient since Rhee came in, which could explain the Washington Post editorial page’s slavish devotion to her.


    • Kaplan is one of the many recipients. But I think the Post’s slavish adoration of Rhee and other Deformers is mostly ideological, and not just because they are owned by Kaplan.


      • I am working out now who are the recipients of multiple **consulting** contracts – or at least, contracts that appear to **me** to be some sort of consulting. Kaplan only appears once as far as I can tell. But you will be surprised at the results when I am done!


  4. Great post. I agree 100 percent. Education does not have to be so expensive if we can eliminate the waste and red tape.


  5. […] can read some of my own prior posts on the costs of consultants in Washington, DC public schools. Or just do a search for […]


  6. Why are major US cities with the worst public school systems run by Democratic mayors?

    “Per pupil” spending is a catch all term that doesn’t tell us much about how much money is spent on instruction. Schools in better districts appear to spend much more on instruction while schools in poor urban areas spend much more on administration…


    • We know that test scores are most closely correlated with parental income. Poorer cities therefore have lower test scores and higher populations of urban poor folks, who are generally black or brown, because poor white folks who are racist and Republican often flee to the exurbs because they don’t like being around brown or black folks. As a result, the population in most cities is overwhelmingly Democratic, even DC (my home town and where I live today), where most of the white folks are genuinely liberal and believe they are progressive, but who mostly continue to boycott the public schools ever since they were desegregated in the very late 1960s. That doesn’t mean these are the ‘worst school systems’. These are the systems with the lowest-scoring students.


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