Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Boston Club

You might remember them from such boondoggles as the dead (for now) Hospitality Zone proposal, but did you know the Boston Consulting Group was also heavily involved in the move to privatize public education?

There is a new scandal in New York City. It seems the New York City Housing Authority paid $10 million to the Boston Consulting Group to write a report that is not available to the public that paid for it. According to the article in the New York Daily News, the report was commissioned by someone at the Housing Authority who used to work for the Boston Consulting Group.

Now, readers of this blog may recall that the Boston Consulting Group was paid over $1 million in private funds to draft a short little paper recommending the privatization of a large number of public schools in Philadelphia. It was also hired (not sure the price tag) to draft the plan for the Transition Planning Commission that merges the schools of Memphis and Shelby County, moving a large number of children and $212 million into private hands.
 I wonder if the New York report is not available to the public due to its "proprietary nature." 

Anyway, it turns out BCG also provided key advice to former Mayor Ray Nagin's infamous Bring Back New Orleans Commission back during the heady "blank slate" days.

The long-term plan for New Orleans schools is still unfolding, counters J. Puckett, a senior vice president at the Boston Consulting Group. His is one of the many groups advising the education subcommittee of the mayor's Bring Back New Orleans Commission.

The education committee will have the system's long-term vision hammered out by the end of the year, and then the real work of fleshing it out begins. But the idea "is to create the educational model for the US," says Mr. Puckett. "It's a very bold ambition, but one that has been met with real excitement."

The various groups are currently searching nationally and internationally for "best practices" in education. These might include strong preschool and international baccalaureate programs, stiffer standards, and more accountability.

"There seems to be a growing consensus that charter schools are a strong part of the short-term plan, but I think it's still a question in the long-term," says Puckett.
Fast forward seven years and we find current Mayor Landrieu at Aspen last month boasting that New Orleans has become "this nation's most immediate laboratory for innovation and change across a whole spectrum of disciplines." One wonders how many patents BCG can claim on the research produced by this metaphorical laboratory.  Although, that information may also be proprietary.

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