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Behind the scenes, Boston Consulting Group has been a driving force on labor talks, school closings, and charters

By Benjamin Herold on Jul 9, 2012 12:56 PM

by Benjamin Herold for the Notebook and WHYY/Newsworks

The Boston Consulting Group has identified up to 60 Philadelphia school buildings as potential candidates for closure and helped line up private vendors willing to replace the School District’s unionized blue-collar workforce at a $50 million discount.

These steps are just part of the blue-chip consulting firm’s far-ranging behind-the-scenes effort to help the beleaguered city school system rethink how it does business.

The broad scope of BCG’s efforts this spring are detailed in previously unreleased “statements of work” obtained by the Notebook/NewsWorks under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know law.  

Read the documents:

The School Reform Commission hired the Boston Consulting Group in February as part of an effort to radically overhaul the District, which was plagued by poor student performance and teetering on financial collapse. BCG’s work has been instrumental in shaping the District’s bare-bones operating budget for the coming school year, its five-year financial plan, and the controversial “transformation blueprint” unveiled by the SRC in April.

In an interview Friday, District Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen said that BCG to date has identified at least $122 million in achievable savings for the cash-strapped District.  

“We wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near that number without their help,” he said.

Nevertheless, officials revealed Friday that the District’s shortfall for the coming school year has ballooned to as much as $282 million, much of which is expected to be closed through borrowing.

Documents and interviews make clear that BCG has been deeply involved in nearly every hot-button issue faced by the District, including continued expansion of charter schools.

But Knudsen was emphatic that the consultants have been taking directions, not giving them.

“I don’t want this to be construed as if management took its foot off the brake and just gave the wheel to BCG,” he said.

To date, the firm has been paid $2.7 million, all of which has come from outside donors.

In addition to the statements of work, a second set of documents obtained Friday by the Notebook/NewsWorks outline the complex relationship connecting BCG with the William Penn Foundation and United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. William Penn has directly contributed $1.5 million and helped raise $1.2 million more to fund BCG’s work, and United Way has served as a fiscal conduit for those funds.

In separate interviews Friday, top leaders from William Penn and United Way lauded BCG’s work and dismissed as “conspiracy theory” the claims by some critics that the firm and the private philanthropists supporting its work are part of a coordinated effort to privatize the city’s public education system.

“This was about getting the foundation laid for the next superintendent,” said Jill Michal, the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania president and CEO.

The commission has temporarily put on hold a controversial BCG proposal to turn over management of schools to independent “achievement networks,” some of which would be privately run.

In response to public criticism that the firm’s work has occurred almost entirely behind closed doors, the commission is expected to release a set of the consultants’ analyses and recommendations as soon as this 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. 

But on Friday, William Penn president Jeremy Nowak said that he is working to raise another round of private money to support a fourth phase of BCG’s work, to last until incoming Superintendent William Hite is established.

“As a funder, we have been very satisfied with their work,” wrote Nowak.

BCG officials declined to be interviewed for this story, citing company policy.

‘A 40-facility problem’

The SRC’s transformation blueprint calls for closing one-fourth of the District’s schools while dramatically expanding the number of city students who are enrolled in charters.

On Friday, Knudsen was emphatic that the District has no choice but to proceed with the next major step in that plan: shuttering 40 school buildings by September 2013.

“We absolutely know that we have a 40-facility problem,” he said.

Behind the scenes, the consultants have been working for weeks to support that effort.

During May and June, BCG was asked to develop new criteria for making school-closure decisions and to identify an initial set of “60 top candidates for closure,” according to the firm’s Phase III statement of work.

Knudsen confirmed that BCG delivered both, but stressed that any criteria or potential targets are preliminary and subject to revision based on a series of public forums tentatively slated to begin later this month.

BCG, he said, “began the conversation that continued inside [District headquarters] that has now taken us to a public position.”

Last spring, the SRC voted to close eight schools based on a multimillion-dollar “facilities master plan” developed under the guidance of a different consulting firm, URS.

But District officials turned to BCG to get a “much more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of what is involved in closures,” Knudsen said.

The statement of work asked the consultants to provide a “clean, validated baseline of facilities, utilization, financial, and student performance data.”

District officials also asked BCG to construct criteria that would account for schools’ academic performance, the proximity of other better-performing schools, and the potential impact on the surrounding community.

That work led to the list of up to 60 schools to be considered for closure.

That list, however, has been filed away for the time being, Knudsen said.

A final list of schools recommended for closure is expected to be made public in October or November of this year, he said.

‘The charter question’

The real value of BCG’s “horsepower,” said Knudsen, is the firm’s capacity to take a “holistic” look at how big issues like school closings and what he called “the charter question” are interrelated.

One major driver of the District’s facilities planning is a projection that as many as 40 percent of public school students in the city could attend charters by 2017.

If the charter enrollment projection holds true, Knudsen said, 24 additional buildings will likely have to be closed between 2014 and 2017 to keep the District’s five-year financial plan in balance.

Critics say that shows the district plans to expand charters at the expense of traditional schools and contend that the BCG is pushing that agenda.

But Knudsen said the consultant did not set the 40 percent target for charter enrollment.

“We had to make a set of assumptions for modeling purposes, and that’s what we did,” he said, stressing that BCG is just informing the District’s decision-making, not setting policy.

“Their role as I have managed them is not to presume any specific outcome.”

In fact, BCG conducted a citywide analysis that found that “a great many charter schools are not outperforming in a major way District schools,” according to Knudsen.

The firm also examined whether charters up for renewal or expansion this spring are merely drawing students from successful District schools instead of furthering the SRC’s goal of moving students from “low-performing seats” to “high-performing seats.”

And BCG has also helped forecast what might happen if the District’s budget situation or SRC policy were to change in the coming months.

“If there are fewer [charter] conversions or expansions, then we will not close as many [District] schools,” Knudsen said. 

“Any promotion of the growth of charters is solely within the purview of the SRC.”

Some District operations could be privatized

Knudsen said that BCG's team, which included as many as 10 people at a time, has worked nearly round the clock to quickly turn around the analyses requested.

At one point, he said, the consultants even inquired whether there was anywhere to shower inside District headquarters.

Despite their intensive effort, the District is still facing enormous challenges.

A massive budget shortfall for next year remains, and the cumulative five-year deficit facing the District is still around $1 billion.

To bring the District’s books into balance, Knudsen and the SRC will seek deep concessions from labor unions.

The first skirmish in that effort has been with the District’s 2,700 bus drivers, mechanics, maintenance workers and other unionized blue-collar employees, all of whom are facing layoffs beginning July 15.

Leaders of SEIU Local 32 BJ District 1201 say they have offered tens of millions in givebacks, but their proposals have been rebuffed by District leadership.

According to the documents obtained by the Notebook/NewsWorks, that’s because BCG provided the District with a powerful sword to hold over workers’ heads.

Knudsen confirmed Friday that the firm met one of the key deliverables outlined in their Phase III statement of work: Approved private vendors willing to provide transportation and facilities management services for $50 million less than the District’s unionized workforce, plus a transition plan to make the shift to outside contractors for the coming school year if necessary.

“What was necessary for us to do was develop the alternative to the current business model,” Knudsen said.

“If we are going to end up privatizing, we needed an ironclad case that it was the logical conclusion to reach.”

At the moment, he said, it’s still an “open question” as to which direction the District will go.

“The privatization that may occur is around the business operations,” Knudsen said.

BCG’s statements of work make no direct mention of the District’s largest labor contract, with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

Penn Foundation the 'funder, not the manager'

The statements of work obtained by the Notebook/NewsWorks are directed from BCG senior partners to William Penn Foundation president Jeremy Nowak.

Interviews with key players, along with the memoranda of understanding between William Penn and the United Way, make clear that Nowak has had final responsibility for approving BCG’s work and authorizing payment.

But after a Philadelphia City Paper cover story last Thursday that portrayed Nowak as the driving force in a coordinated effort to dismantle the District, both Nowak and District officials sought to counter the appearance that the foundation is overtly directing BCG’s work.

“William Penn Foundation is the funder, not the manager, of BCG work,” wrote both Nowak and District spokesperson Fernando Gallard in separate emails. 

“William Penn Foundation did not make the decision to hire BCG and BCG does not report to the William Penn Foundation.”

The District’s Knudsen said that he personally has overseen BCG’s work, while communicating regularly with Nowak about the progress being made.

“Ultimately, Jeremy signs the checks,” Knudsen said.

“But I think he relies heavily on me and my representations as to what they’re doing and how satisfied I am that this work is going well.”

While taking pains to clarify his role, Nowak praised the value of BCG’s “great financial analytics, terrific evaluation protocols, and excellent understanding of cost structure and options for dealing with diminished funding from the state and city.”

Despite the grassroots opposition to Boston Consulting Group’s influential role in the District, both Nowak and the United Way’s Michal said that the magnitude of the crisis facing Philadelphia schools has required outside expertise.

“It’s a very important public dialogue,” Michal said.

“But I just want to make sure that we give smart people the room to make smart decisions.”


Disclosure: The William Penn Foundation is a major funder of the Notebook.

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Comments (61)

Submitted by Ken Derstine on July 9, 2012 5:20 pm

Since the state takeover of the Philadelphia School District eleven years ago, the central objective has been to lay the groundwork for lowering the living standards of School District employees. The use of test statistics to bludgeon teachers in low income districts has been the chief method of targeting schools. Teachers in Philadelphia are in the position of a doctor diagnosing a patient, and after being denied the medications the patient needs, being fired when the patient gets worse.

The reason there are tens of thousands of "empty seats" is that thousands of parents have made the pragmatic decision to remove their children from public schools because anyone who has paid attention can see that public schools are being deliberately starved and charter schools given every advantage. Thousands of high school students have decided their funding starved schools are a waste of time and dropped out.

Various SRC's have run the School District for the past eleven years. Each of them and their appointed Superintendents have left the District worse off when they left. None have addressed the inequitable funding in Pennsylvania where lower income districts receive per pupil funding far below students in wealthy districts.

Under Governor Corbett this strategy is being brought to fruition. In the just completed fiscal year he cut education funding by $1 billion, $300 million for Philadelphia. This budget increased the inequity of funding based on a districts income.

To those claiming there is no money, at the same time as he cut education Corbett has increased prison spending by $700 million.

History will not judge this generation kindly if we allow the destruction of our public school system. Our children and their children will judge this generation harshly for being too distracted by the weapons of mass distraction of the mass media and ignoring the interests of future generations.

Submitted by A Touch of Sense (not verified) on July 10, 2012 8:54 am

And now we have the "Shadow People" running our school district.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2012 9:32 pm

SO----Let's ACT, Jerry !!! Unless he knows something we don't and feels the unions will survive, he's being a coward or a co-conspirator. I just don't feel good sitting around and watching our fellow union people sitting on the fence while these elitist scum bags play games with them.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 2:30 pm

So what are we going to do about it?

Lisa Haver

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 6:51 pm

Hi, Lisa how are you?

Submitted by Lisa Lisa (not verified) on July 9, 2012 9:51 pm

Nothing. And they're going to ruin our city. I'm moving to Detroit, where the standard of living is higher.

Submitted by Uncle Sam (not verified) on July 9, 2012 9:40 pm

Call all of your elected representatives and tell them to repeal Act 46.

March in the streets in unity of students, teachers, parents and community.

File a class action suit in the state courts to overturn Act 46 as unconstitutional because it illegally singles out Philadelphia for special treatment and usurpation of citizens' rights.

File a federal class action law suit under the Civil Rights Act and the equal protection clause.

File a state taxpayer's suit for circumventing the Sunshine Act.

Show up at SRC meetings and raise Cain.

Make posters of Jeremy Nowak, Mark Gleason, and the Boston Consulters which say "Public Enemy No. 1" and "Go home where you belong." Then show up at the SRC meetingas with them.

These people are vultures preying on our whole community. It is not about our children. It is about the exploitation of our children.

United we stand. Divided we fall....

Submitted by Katie (not verified) on January 7, 2013 9:39 am
Is anyone following up on any of these ideas? Does anyone have the know-how to file any of the legal suits? As for community organizing, Philly Communities United: Save Our Schools has formed a facebook page to serve as a hub for knowing where various community events about school closures are happening and when: This should help us organize- though we will have to do it QUICKLY. The city and SRC have had at least 5 years to put their plan into place, and without immediate action- it will just keep rolling alone, unabated.
Submitted by Timothy Boyle on July 9, 2012 2:56 pm

"But I just want to make sure that we give smart people the room to make smart decisions" is going to go down as one of the more unfortunate quotes from this whole episode. 

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on July 9, 2012 4:08 pm

Yes - apparently anyone not part of the insider group headed by Nowak, Ramos, Knudson, and Shorr are "too stupid" to be welcome into the conversation. After reading the BCG "statement of work" (both addressed to "Jeremy" Nowak), it appears it is a done deal.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 9:06 pm

Why is the Phase I "statement of work" addressed to Jeremy Nowak and signed by him? It looks like a letter TO him but signed BY him (and one other person). The other 'statement of work" (Phase III) is addressed similarly but signed by BCG.

Submitted by Ricardo (not verified) on July 9, 2012 3:17 pm

i think this context is very helpful. i think the William Penn Foundation and other funders are using their philanthropy in the right way. why would anyone want to fund the status quo? the current SRC has strong leadership. We Philadelphians are so suspicious of outsiders. BCG has a fine reputation. that doesnt mean they will get it all right or that all of theri recommendations will be adopted without change. who inside the School District was capable of doing the analysis that BCG is doing? Ackerman? Archie? Masch? what a joke that would be.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 3:26 pm

Knudsen keeps surrounding himself with people who "take direction" from him.

When he leaves soon (hardyharhar) as he was supposed to, who is going to be directing all these yes-men?

WHY can't we run our own schools? We were doing better than these fool SRC members. We were declared in distress and taken over, but have only gotten more in distress.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 9:53 pm

Knudsen has a very dismissive personality so none of his antics come as a surprise to me. I agree--why aren't the unions balking at all this, especially, the custodial union and where is Jerry Jordan?

Submitted by Ken Derstine on July 9, 2012 4:50 pm

Where on earth do you get the information that the Boston Consulting Group "has a fine reputation", from them, or from businesses who profited from their destruction of millions of jobs?

Teachers in Memphis Speak Out

Is Memphis Next to Go?

And this given to New Orleans by Paul Vallas and the BCG:
Post-Katrina School Firings Wrongful, Louisiana Judge Rules

Submitted by Maurice (not verified) on July 9, 2012 6:22 pm

Ricardo is a troll--ignore him.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 7:38 pm

No one on this site is saying that we should fund the 'status quo.' To the contrary, 'we' have countless suggestions for ways to restructure, cut costs, etc., but no one is asking us.

As for the SRC's strong leadership, that doesn't translate into making moral/ethical decisions as a collective group, as evidenced by the SRC under Ackerman. A majority of the current SRC appears to have a privatization agenda, so I don't perceive this SRC's strong leadership as being a positive attribute.

Submitted by Rob (not verified) on July 9, 2012 3:31 pm

This is just a tragic example of pay-to-play. Obviously there are interests that have supplied the money to WPF. This may be the last straw for me as a teacher.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 3:51 pm

Let's play guess the donor!

Lenfest? Gamble? Whoever runs whatever company is about to swoop in and steal all of the SEIU jobs? The Gates Foundation?

What's my prize?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 3:17 pm

When will central office (440) be closed? Or is the plan to have Achievement Networks move in rent free?

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 4:12 pm

Does anyone know if the private firms BCG "found" who will cut the cost of transportation and facilities by $50 million (which is double speak for low wages), provide "services" for Mastery? Are they making a deal with Mastery? Mastery is deep in this mess since they have Nowak as their spokesperson. (Nowak, remember, was head of Mastery's Board until he took over the William Penn Foundation. Nowak can NOT be trusted.)

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 6:22 pm

Oh, yes, and don't forget that Heather Houston was at the William Penn Foundation before Nowak. So consensus is no surprise. Unbelievable!!!!!

Submitted by Concerned Philadelphian (not verified) on July 9, 2012 4:59 pm

So, Mr. Nowak, since you appear to be running the SDP, will any of the 40 schools in 2013 be charters? Charters with high (which means low performance) SIG, were rewarded with 5 year contracts. We know your loyalty is to Mastery Corporation - should we assume they will be "given" more schools along with Universal and Aspira? Will parents, unlike this year, have any say in the process, or are more schools going to be handed to your friends? Mr. Nowak, since you want School District of Philadelphia staff to take deep pay/benefits cuts, will you do the same? Also, what will happen to the students who schools like Mastery will not accept? Remember, Mastery requires parents/students to sign a "Whatever it Takes" contract ? (google it!) What happen to the four Mastery students who beat up a pedestrian last year? Scott Gordan said they would be expelled. Guess who will accept them? What if they don't fit in the "high performing seats" you plan to fill for your friends?

Submitted by Pam (not verified) on July 11, 2012 4:34 pm

Instead of the school district of philadelphia it will be Mastery!!!! Where is the school choice that parents are being told will happen with all of the changes?

Submitted by Roy (not verified) on July 9, 2012 5:37 pm

I am a current SDP employee. I have contributed to The United Way in the past but never again.

Submitted by Roy (not verified) on July 9, 2012 5:40 pm

As a current SDP employee I have always financially supported The United Way. However, after reading this article I will never contribute to The United Way.

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 6:51 pm

This begs the question-- Will the PFT endorse the united way campaign next school year? Members should begin demanding we not cooperate. ONLY money talks in this sick situation.

Submitted by RogueTeacher (not verified) on July 9, 2012 7:37 pm

That's the first thought I had, was to not contribute to the United Way. However, I never have in the past because I don't like my employer telling me who I should contribute my hard earned money to and I prefer to support organizations of my own choice. So, I'm glad I never submitted to the PFT and SDP's requests to give to the United Way.

What I keep thinking as well is, if the Wm Penn Foundation and United Way are able to pay a consulting group $2.7 million dollars, why can't they raise some of the funds needed to keep the schools from closing or save the maintenance jobs?

Submitted by Concerned Philadelphian (not verified) on July 9, 2012 7:44 pm

William Penn mega funders are anti-union. They don't want a unionized workforce. They want a workforce like Mastery - non-union, worked to the bone and then leave teaching within 5 years. Mastery recruits from TFA - another anti-union organization. Teachers are here for two years and out. It is also about de-professionalizing teaching.

Submitted by Phantom Poster (not verified) on July 9, 2012 5:29 pm

This squeeze on the middle class is not going to end well. What makes this country strong is the belief that you can get ahead without working outside the law. As people who are making a living wage get squeezed out of a fading American Dream, the foundation of hope crumbles.

These carpetbaggers who are here to save us from ourselves are no better than the Madoff's of the world....

Submitted by Maurice (not verified) on July 9, 2012 6:18 pm

They are exactly Madoff type people and that's why we MUST stand and fight. WE should not allow our custodial brothers and sisters be eliminated. We all need to do whatever we can to fight this corporate takeover. JORDAN__where are you?

Submitted by RogueTeacher (not verified) on July 9, 2012 7:50 pm

Where can one find a list of the '60 top candidates for closure'?

Submitted by anon (not verified) on July 9, 2012 7:52 pm

in jeremy nowak's vest pocket?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 8:44 pm

Don't you just love the way the business of schooling has been dehumanized....

"60 top candidates for closure." Incredible!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 9, 2012 10:52 pm

Perhaps it is time that the PFT and AFT and SEIU Local 32 BJ District 1201members ,families and friends refuse to donate to The United Way.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2012 3:43 am

Being able to commit at outset to finding $50mm a year in savings (BCG will find a lot more than that during the engagement) means the district is poorly managed.

It also means is the SEIU is AT LEAST $50mm overpriced- $50mm over even after a private company takes a profit on contract.

They could get a premium on their wages that is equivalent to what a private company would make (10-20%), but that is not good enough. Need a cool $50mm on top of that. And why should it be good enough when they can just pay off city council to raise taxes every year? Hell, with more state money they could be $100mm overpriced. Even better (for them).

But when you want to know why taxpayers here, in the rest of the state, don't want to pay $1 more to schools, why they don't believe you even have a real deficit, this is why.

If the PSD spends $50mm more than it needs on support services, it is running a patronage jobs program, not a school district for the benefit of the cities children and taxpayers.

Of course, it does sometimes take a third party who is not benefitting from the status quo to point out the obvious.

Submitted by BrassBandit (not verified) on July 10, 2012 9:11 am

You people have no idea what the workers of 32BJ/1201 SEIU do to keep the buildings open!!!!!! Not a CLUE!!!!!!!! The rumor mill says that the New Contractors are going to hire many 32BJ members back to work for them??? JOKE!!!!!! Sounds like a great plan!!!!! LMAO!!!!! Gotta go to work now and do my magic act along with my other 32BJ/1201 Brothers/Sisters! WE DO A MAGIC ACT EVERYDAY TO KEEP YOUR SCHOOLS RUNING WITH THE CRAP AND ROADBLOCKS WE HAVE TO WORK WITH. !!!!!! Hope the new Contractors have their Magic act up to suff!!!!! 50mil worth!!!!!! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!! We know you will save the SDP MILLIONS to go into the hands of the Boston Group BUDDYS POCKETS!!!!!!! HAVE A NICE DAY!!!!!

Submitted by Paul Charles (not verified) on July 11, 2012 2:23 pm

Everyone needs to walk out! Mass protest. Not just locally, but in the entire state, and nationally. Supposedly unions are strong and powerful-No way- not until this happens.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2012 10:32 pm

how about getting an impeachment process going to get corbett out of office before he does any more damage

Submitted by BrassBandit (not verified) on July 10, 2012 9:44 am


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2012 10:25 am

So.... Everyone knows they approved a new private transportation vendor at Monday's SRC meeting right? There were only about three people there to see the presentation and vote.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2012 2:38 pm

Cut costs,you cut quality. Cut quality & you put our children at risk!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2012 2:52 pm

Replacing the SDP experienced and qualified facility blue-collar workers with a cheaper work force will put our children in harms-way.

e.g. Ninety-eight children lost their lives when a elementary school caught on fire in 1958.

Question- If this horrific accident were to occur today, how much would it cost the SDP to settle the lawsuits?

My esitmate would be about 980 million dollars.

What do you think?

Submitted by Pseudonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2012 4:45 pm

Let's just hire Bain Capital and be done with it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2012 4:29 pm

We already have them. Boston Consulting Group and Bain Capital have close connections. Mitt Romney started with Boston Consulting Group and then went on to Bain Capital.

Submitted by Sukey Blanc on July 10, 2012 6:04 pm

I just learned about another player on national education reform scene.

The Memphis Chapter of "Stand for Children" is a big supporter of the BCG transition plan in Memphis and Shelby County. I wonder whether a local chapter will be coming to Philly soon. There is some info (pro and con) about BCG and Stand for Children on in Memphis on Diane Ravitch's blog.

Here's a link with more info. about Stand for Children's evolution.

Submitted by Veteran of the West Philadelphia "Renaissance" (not verified) on July 10, 2012 7:19 pm

Thsnks for this. The corporate reform movement seems such a juggernaut.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 10, 2012 10:59 pm

We should keep our eyes open. This sounds like the kind of group Nowak would be eager to fund.

Submitted by Lisa Lisa (not verified) on July 10, 2012 9:11 pm

Did anyone get their PSSA results? Money was taken from the budget early in the year and we worked bare bones - there was no extended day. Our school certainly won't make AYP this year since the PSSA is the main determinant of "success" in schools.
And I'm wondering how schools did in 5th and 8th grades - they seem to drop so drastically in those two grades.

Submitted by K.R. Luebbert (not verified) on July 10, 2012 9:36 pm

The principals have the preliminary school-wide results, and I believe they also have access to individual student reports. Our principal emailed the leadership team the school-wide results. AYP determinations are set to come out on July 23rd. It should be interesting since our students were disrupted (at the last minute) by being tested by other people.

Submitted by BrassBandit (not verified) on July 11, 2012 8:12 am

Rip it all OUT!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on July 11, 2012 10:44 am

The future of education will not be good. These who care are being fired, or laid off. God help us all

Submitted by Paul Charles (not verified) on July 11, 2012 2:48 pm

I don't see how private companies are going to save money? It's an oxymoron? The definition of the bottom line is: to make as much money as the business can. Where are they going to get their profits from? Performance: This is only going to drive the parents who care to leave or even have the ability to leave.

What everyone fails to understand is the culture of poverty and its cycle that needs to be broken. For that to happen permanently it is going to take many more people working in those communities and, sorry to say it but, a lot more money. Can't just fix education, but health care, family planning, etc... no mention of mental illness at all I work at a Title 1 school and these issues are pervasive and yet untreated.

Submitted by Bobsurunce (not verified) on July 11, 2012 4:01 pm

We understand change is necessary. There are many well educated experienced people in the system that understand the problems and the people of Phila. Why is it that every time a decision needs to be made a consultant must be hired? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. What are we paying the administrators for? Their ability to hire consultants? I suppose if something goes wrong , the consultants can be blamed not the consultant who hired the consultant or the administrators who were hired to Make Decisions not hire consultants.....Now I need to consult a psychiatrist..whew...

Submitted by Annon (not verified) on July 11, 2012 4:03 pm

Knudson is a perfect example. What was he hired to do? Have meetings with the Boston Consulting Group and Jerry Nowak (William Penn Foundation)? He doesn't seem to do anything other than sign off on consultants and insiders.

Submitted by Ken Derstine on July 12, 2012 2:52 pm

Diane Ravitch has some posts on her blog about Boston Consulting Group:

What Is the Boston Consulting Group?

The Goals of the Boston Consulting Group

In the City of Corporate Love and Beyond: The Boston Consulting Group, Gates, and the Filthy Rich

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 7, 2013 8:04 pm
Who knew you could money launder through the United Way? Isn't that what is happening? Who are the donors giving money to the UW for the BCG? People WAKE UP! Do not donate to United Way unless they open their books so you can see exactly who these "charitable contributors" are. If you target your donation, give it right to the charity but as long as you support the United Way in its current capacity, it is one of the undermining driving forces facing the employees of the School District of Philadelphia. Just think of the message we can send to the United Way if we all do not contribute. Just a thought.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 20, 2013 1:40 pm
I remember a friend warning me that United Way was a shame back in the late 70s. Sure, enough there was a big scandal involving the president of United Way and his girlfriend. They are just another moneymaking outfit that plays on public sympathy.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on April 20, 2013 1:42 pm
"United Ways was a sham" which is a SHAME!
Submitted by Katie (not verified) on April 20, 2013 12:35 pm
Which cities has the BCG done this work in so far: Memphis, New Orleans, Cleveland, Philadelphia… what about chicago/DC/Detroit??? Was that BCG work too? The BCG never released their criteria for evaluating which schools to close- nor did they do site visits…. I want to piece together their decision-making process in order to reveal it for what it is… but I do not have a complete list of cities where they have made recommendations- can anyone provide that?
Submitted by Coach Black Friday (not verified) on November 22, 2013 6:26 am
Michael Kors Grayson Black Friday

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