Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Latest corporate reform buzz words -- 'Portfolio Management'

The term “portfolio management” is borrowed from Wall Street, where the idea is to buy winning stocks and sell losers. -- The Notebook
It was originally an idea of early school reformers in New York and other cities, as a way to make innovative inroads into large, bureaucratically run school districts piece by piece. But like so many good reform ideas, the notion of downsizing and decentralizing has been largely taken over by today's corporate reformers bent on school privatization.

The latest plan cooked up by corporate reformers is called, portfolio management. That's where a collection of public schools are handed over to outside providers like universities or private management companies -- even the Catholic Church -- to run. Often these school are then turned into charter schools to modify or eliminate union protections completely, close schools and fire teachers in mass.

Philadelphia has now become the national model for this portfolio management approach. According to The Notebook:
The School District of Philadelphia now touts its expanding mix of traditional and charter schools as well as its Renaissance Schools – neighborhood schools run by charter management companies. The idea is to create a portfolio of school choices for parents. That array of options will grow even bigger as envisioned by the Philadelphia Great Schools Compact, which is promoting collaboration to improve all the public, charter, private, and Catholic schools in the city. Toward that end, the Philadelphia School Partnership has raised $50 million – half its goal – to fund promising programs.
Like most of these top-down reform plans, there is little mention of anything having to do with real school improvement, teaching and learning, teacher support and development, smaller schools or class sizes.

Here's Diane Ravitch's fake enthusiasm for the Philly plan:
Sign me up! 
The School Reform Commission with the guidance of its advisor the Boston Consulting Group (big proponent of privatization without unions and parent to Bain) thinks that if it can create a flexible workforce with performance pay and no job protections, this will attract better teachers.
This reader responds:
Oh boy, low pay and no protection of any kind, whatsoever. Sign me up. What is the thought process behind “better teachers without a union”? Do they truly believe those Gates funded teacher groups that claim they don’t need a union or a contract?  
The Philly reform plan is also part of an attempt to remove the district from  a 39-year old desegregation lawsuit. That suit, filed by the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission, charged that Philadelphia schools were unlawfully segregated by race and denied minority students educational opportunities equal to white students. The parties agreed to end the lawsuit in July and make the portfolio management plan, including school closures and charters, a substitute for real substantial desegregation.

No comments:

Post a Comment