Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

Consultants would make out like bandits under Race to the Top

Ohanian Comment: I've long suspected that people connected with colleges of education are largely silent about Race to the Top and the LEARN [sic] act because of the consultant money available. Here's some evidence that the consultant money is big. If university types think I'm being unfair, then please explain the reason for the silence.

I hear the argument "Someone's going to get it. We'll do a good job."

By Dave Weber

I've been leafing through the state's application for federal Race to the Top funds and have come to a quick conclusion:

This might be a good time to add the word "consultant" to your business card.

I'm a confirmed believer in the "follow the money" theory, so immediately headed for the budget section of the more than 1,000 pages of documents included in the application that was due in Washington (and apparently made it on time, according to the state Department of Education.)

Florida has asked for $1.1 billion of the $4.35 billion available nationwide in Race to the Top grants.

What immediately became clear when I scrolled through the state's proposed spending plan is that "consultants" will make out like bandits.

If the state gets the whole $1.1 billion it asked for (which some say is a very long shot), the Department of Education would spend half and school districts that agreed to take part would share half.

While there are as yet no plans on how individual districts would use their share of the money, the state has suggested to the dollar how it will spend its $570,811,435.

And "contractual" expenditures, including busloads of consultants, would account for $462,815,452.

I'm still looking, but here are a few examples.

To help districts set up new systems to evaluate teachers and administrators -- 60 consultants at a cost of $15 million.

To help districts figure out how to compensate teachers and administrators for getting better performance from students, the state plans to contract with 63 financial consultants at a cost of $45 million.

And there is $10.7 million for consultants to develop "lesson study tool kits" so teachers can study "effective lesson development."

— Dave Weber
Orlando Sentinel Schoolzone





This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.