If you live in DC or Philadelphia, a huge chunk of the school system’s budget goes to consultants. I submit that just like with the banking and insurance industries, the huge sums paid to the top school officers and to their
friends consultants is a large part of the reason why many school systems are approaching bankruptcy.
For example, in Philadelphia, one such firm, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), is earning an enormous bundle: it ALONE earned nearly $12 million from the Philly school district. (Just the initials BCG make one suspect the company is involved with giving the kids in Philadelphia a horrible case of tuberculosis. I don’t think they are curing anybody!)
Think I’m exaggerating? No.
(except for the bitter jest about TB.)
To quote from an article in Education week,
“At the moment, Boston Consulting Group has a limited presence in the district; funds to support the firm’s $230,000 per week price tag ran out June 11.”
If you multiply this $230,000 per week ‘price tag’ times 52 weeks in a year, you should get $11,960,000, which is essentially twelve million dollars. It’s kind of sad that all these high-powered ex-TFA whiz kids come to office claiming they can fix everything — but they turn around and hire consultants to tell them what to do — because, you see, they soon realize they don’t know squat about running schools. This company, as the article shows, have been acting as a shadow management in Philly for some years. For 4 years, the BCG fees add up to almost $50 million — for ONE consulting firm! And there are undoubtedly many other firms, even if they don’t all charge as much as this one does.
No wonder the Philadelphia public schools are going to go into debt!
You can read some of my own prior posts on the costs of consultants in Washington, DC public schools. Or just do a search for “consultants” in the little search window in the upper right-hand corner of this window. What I found is that during the ’09-’10 school year, the District of Columbia spent, on the average, 40% of their total purchases on what appeared to me to be consulting fees. Only about 34% of the contracted purchases were for things that were probably school-related, such as textbooks, desks, school-related supplies, and computers. [And of those latter purchases, we don’t know how much actually went out into the classrooms for student use, and how much stayed in administrative offices!] Here is my original table: read it and weep.