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Thursday, May 13, 2010

District Hires Outside Firm to Find Principal

Like a mystery? Good, so help me out here. The District has hired an outside consulting firm, Koya Consulting, to find an elementary principal for a "transformation" school. So mystery one, what school is this? Hawthorne or West Seattle?

Mystery two, where does the district have money to hire an outside consultant? I would guess this is an important vacancy to get filled correctly but the district's own HR couldn't do this?

Mystery three, this consulting firm is using...Craigslist? I'm sure they are putting ads in education sites/magazines but really, if you have the qualifications they are looking for, you wouldn't be looking at Craigslist.

Weird.

Thanks to Mary S and her alert eyes for this info.

72 comments:

Gouda said...

I'm all for using an outside firm to hire a principal. I wouldn't say that the HR department at SPS is known for its wooing and turning over rocks to find high quality candidates.

Recruitment is hard work, and you never can tell where a principal can be found. What's wrong with craigslist? It could yield a high-quality candidate. I know executive directors who look for jobs there.

Let's see what comes of the independent firm before we decide that it's the wrong thing. If this process yields fabulous choices, then it was worth it.

If not, they'll know for next time.

seattle citizen said...

Limes might have a point. But while a headhunter firm might have good luck, where do we draw the line? By some estimates, 1/3 of principals were moved, hired, retired etc last year. Do we need a firm to do these transitions, or can we manage that ourselves?
Furthermore, don't we have qualified staff in-house? There are what, a couple hundred APs out there....most of whom, I'm sure, would welcome a principalship.

WV asks what mystyl is

seattle said...

"By some estimates, 1/3 of principals were moved, hired, retired etc last year. Do we need a firm to do these transitions, or can we manage that ourselves?"

Where did you get the idea that the firm is doing these "transitions", moving, and retiring principals?

All that we know is that the firm is headhunting new principals. If they are succesful at recruiting high quality candidates where our HR wasn't then it would be worth every penny spent. That, to me, is money well spent, and it goes straight to the children who would benefit from the strong leadership.

As for assistant principals being promoted, you'd have to more research to find out why? Do they have the credentials? Are they interested (some aren't - lots more politics and responsibility for only a little more pay)? Even if they have the credentials are they the strongest candidates?

Patrick said...

Hiring people is a core job of the district. If HR isn't doing a good job, why not? Why should we pay an outside firm to do what HR should be doing?

seattle said...

I was a recruiter for several years. Many many organizations with strong HR departments, such as Microsoft, use headhunters in addition to their own in house efforts. They are especially useful in national and international recruiting.

seattle citizen said...

Toni, no, the firm isn't doing the transitions, but there is apparently a grey area: a school needs a new principal, and a head-hunter is hired to find one. Meanwhile, many other schools need new principals because there is transition. Yet all those other schools end up with principals - how did they do that if they didn't use a head-hunter?
In other words, the district did its own work to move principals into schools without resorting to headhunters. Why are they doing it in this instance, and if it's such a good idea, why isn't it done every time a building needs a principal?
Maybe I'm unclear as to the process, but in the past it mis my understanding that if there was a principal opening, internal candiates would have first shot before a hiring committee including school staff, maybe even with parent/student input. Is this happening in this case? Is this a trend away from that?
Many questions.

As to APs wanting to go higher, I just assumed that if one goes into AP business, they would want to continue up to P. Being AP is already enormous work, without the slightly higher pay or honor of being principal.

I can think of ten APs off the top of my head who are "qualified."

Dorothy Neville said...

Random anecdote. About 8 or so years ago, a Seattle elementary school had serious morale and personnel issues. I do not know the whole story, although I heard many pieces from parents and staff that confirmed how ugly it was. Anyway, I also heard, from a very reliable source, that the district had trouble finding a principal to move there. Several principals that were asked said no, they would resign from the district before they became principal of said school.

I would think that there might also be some difficulty in finding a principal for a school with this transformation plan looming over it. So it just might be quite reasonable to hire a headhunter for this particular position.

seattle said...

SC, it sounds like you are unclear about the process, and making a lot of assumptions about what efforts the district has made. Perhaps you should do some research and get some answers to your questions before poo pooing the districts effort. There may be a very valid reason for using a recruiter, or maybe not, but we can't just assume without data or fact.

seattle citizen said...

Toni, I'm just wondering, is all.

There's been lots of "reform" going on lately, and I just naturally lean towards assuming things are all related to "reform."

So sue me.

Sahila said...

Well, in literally two minutes digging/googling, this is what I found...

Koya's founder/director Katie Bouton is linked with The New Teacher Project...
http://www.koyaconsulting.com/page2/page18/page18.html

which amongst other things, is advocating that seniority not be a factor in teacher layoffs...

http://www.tntp.org/newsandpress/050310TNTP.html

and here, you'll see that Koya works mostly with charter schools and the BROAD FOUNDATION...

http://www.koyaconsulting.com/page5/page22/page22.html

Corporatist education reform, people..

WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO TELL THE BOARD AND MGJ - ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?

seattle said...

Reform in and of itself is not a bad thing. In fact reform can be a good thing.

For instance changing the way we select a suerintendent to run our district would be a major "reform". If the "reform" resulted in a move in the right direction, something the community supported, then that "reform" would be a good thing right?

Reform in and of itself is not evil. Change can be good. And it is sometimes needed.

All I'm saying is don't always assume the worst.

Sahila said...

Really, really people.... when are you going to step out of denial and acknowledge that what's happening in Seattle is what has already happened in Chicago, in New York, in DC, in Philadelphia...

The reform movement is in full swing here...

* You have MGJ - bought and paid for by Broad, not being challenged to cut her ties to Broad and NWEA ($$$$M Map test providers)

* You have 3-5 other Broad plants in senior SPS management

* You have at least three School Board Directors whose 2007 election campaigns were funded to extraordinary levels by Gates people

* You have Board member retreats paid for by Broad and Gates

*You have Board members being given reformist literature to read - the same reformist literature that's used at the Broad Academy

* You now have an HR firm hiring in principals for a 'transformation school', that HR firm being associated with Broad and charter schools such as KIPP

* You have the Alliance - bought and paid for by Broad and Gates

* You have LEV - bought and paid for by Broad and Gates

* You have Our Schools Coalition - bought and paid for by Broad/Gates through the Alliance and managed by 360 Stragegies PR firm which is linked back to the Alliance and Gates

* You have Stand for Children - bought and paid for by Broad and Gates

HOW MUCH MORE EVIDENCE DO YOU NEED?

seattle citizen said...

Toni, change can be good, here and there, after careful study and experimentation....The "reform" I'm talking about is not that. It's wholesale, systemic change towards an agenda favored by a very few people (and those they convince via media, push-polls, and other such manipulatives....they're essentially buying the community by trying to steer the knowledge the community has...

THAT change is NOT good, as evidence continues to accrue that finds the major tenets of this "reform" are no better and sometimes worse than those that they replace.

TechyMom said...

I think its fair to say that doing a turn-around of a school is a very different than running a school day to day. It's probably also a lot of extra work. It seems reasonable to seek out candidates who have that sort of experience and/or want to do that sort of work. That doesn't mean that internal candidates can't apply, only that the job description includes particular requirements that might be different from other principal jobs. It also makes sense that a lot of people interested in that type of work would have at some point in their careers been invovled with a charter school, since charter schools are how turn-arounds are done in 40-some states.

You may not think that doing a turn-around is the right thing to do, and you might have a good point, but that's what the district proposed and the state (or was the feds?) funded. The time to argue about whether it is the right thing to do has passed. Now it's time to try to make it work. It makes sense to hire someone with the skills and desire to do that job. Most organizations advertize jobs internally and externally, and lots use recruiting agencies to widen their pool of candidates. That's not sinister, it's just how recruiting is done.

Sahila said...

I'm not ASSUMING the worst...

It is the worst - look all around this country and see the havoc Broad and Gates-engendered Ed Reform is doing...

I dont know what it will take to convince you...

There's a stack of research out there... - showing both the damage being done and the fallacies of the 'reformers' arguments. I and others have been posting it for ages...

Go here to see for yourself

http://seattle-ed.blogspot.com/

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/

On both sites, you'll find links to people and organisations all around the country who have been documenting this rape of public education... there really is no excuse for ignorance any more - its been clearly documented...

So, you have a choice... do some research and decide for yourself what's going on... and then choose where you stand on that... and if you decide that you don't like what's going on - what are you going to do about it?

And think carefully - what's going on now, if it isnt stopped, is going to be in place for at least 20 years... that's a whole generation of our children...

seattle citizen said...

Techymom, I hear what you're saying, but it saddens me. It concedes defeat. It says that we might as well keep going with "the program" since it's a done deal.

In that view, the whole reform agenda has won: It's convinced enough people that mere WASL scores can be generalized into the declaration that a whole school (not the staff, not the students individually) is "failing"; it's convinced enough people that the Feds should be able to dictate what to do with such a "failing" school; it's convinced enough people to believe that the proposed reforms will help, rather than hinder the many, many students who will (I think) suffer under this reformist agenda.

I refuse to concede, and will continue to fight until the pry public schools from my cold, dead hands.

Education is that important, these children are that important. They're NOT metrics or data points, they're children.

TechyMom said...

Well, I think there are lots of other places where one can be effective at blunting the worst aspects of this particular reform movement, while allowing some of the better ones (and there are things I like about charters and other parts of it). However, complaining about the job description or recruiting practices for a principal at an alredy approved and funded turn-around school is not the most effective protest. That's all I'm saying.

seattle citizen said...

Techymom, it might not be effective in itself (complaining about the recruiting company) but when it's tied into the bigger picture, it might help educate people about that bigger picture.

Rather than suffer the death of a thousand cuts, we can look at the hand wielding the blade.

LouiseM said...

Really, really Sahila.... Can we enjoy at least one thread on this blog without you dragging in your anti-reformist, the corporations are taking over, I hate Broad rhetoric? Give us a break already!

This thread is about the district using an outside firm to find a principal. Period.

Sahila said...

Back again Fighting for Kids?

Well, I'm fighting for kids too...

That firm works with Broad and Charter schools... I didnt make that up...

Shannon said...

I don't think the use of Craigslist is any reflection on the quality of candidates or the search.

Craigslist is used by many recruiters and organizations and attracts job seekers in their droves. Its not the sole avenue but its a good one.

seattle citizen said...

Yes, Shannon, but this is apparently a first, using an outside recruiter to find our principals, which makes it interesting (why now?)

which leads me to my next pondering: Is this a shot across the bow for current principals, who are in the midst of their own contract negotiations? Is the District signaling a willingness to bypass the current principals and assistant principals and just hire "fresh" from outside?

Sahila said...

HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO BET THAT THE NEW PRINCIPAL WILL COME FROM A CHARTER SCHOOL.... go on, any takers?

We already have one coming in... that would make two...

Good golly gosh... I'm just so paranoid I scare myself...not!

seattle citizen said...

Hey Fighting for Kids - who is this "us" you purport to speak for? I see your name on here occasionally...are you a representative of this blog community who can tell Sahila to "give us a break"?

I think not. Speak for yourself, please. Me personally, I wouldn't hold myself in such esteem so as to claim to speak for the group here.

Additionally, why do you get yourself all worked up by Sahila's comments? Isn't she entitled to them? If they annoy you, scroll down.

Lastly, why do YOU get so bent out of shape when someone brings up the reform movement? You are just as reactive TOWARDS Broad/Gates/Duncan et al as Sahila is against them....hmmmmm....

Personally, I think Sahila is concerned about massive changes to public education, changes that bode no good, and I'm with her on that one.

LouiseM said...

Sahila and SC, you're missing my point. You and everyone else on this blog are entitled to your opinions. I am simply wondering why we (and I know I'm not alone here) have to be consistently subjected to the anti-charter, anti-broad, anti-gates, the reformists are taking over posts when the subject has nothing to do with it.

I (notice I didn't use "we" SC) personally would like to read about and contribute to the subject at hand without it delving into a tyrate about whether it's a reformist movement tactic.


That's all.

Sahila, so what if the recruiting company that was hired also works for charter schools. It doesn't mean they're being roped into some consipiracy. There aren't that many recruiting companies that focus on principals and other administrators so I'd be willing to bet you coudn't find a single one that hasn't at some point searched on behalf of a chater school.

Sahila said...

Fighting for Kids... if you're an apologist for Broad/Gates/Charters etc, why dont you just come out and say so...

I'm upfront about my perspective... I think the whole reform thing is rotten to the core and not about our kids at all - which is why I spend so much time putting this material out there - attempting to create some transparency, so people know what path they're really being led down...

seattle citizen said...

F4K,

IF there is a connection between this newest district initiative (using outside recruiters to find talent to lead its buildings) and other "reforms" the district is engaged in, that is important.

You seem to forget that the Superintendent herself is a Broad board member, a Broad resident, has greased the skids for two Broad residents to become permanent employees, has, apparently, allowed district personall to give staff information to a commercial entity (Alliance or Strategies 360) to conduct a biased poll to influence contract negotiations towards Broad agenda...

Anything we talk about regarding Seattle Public Schools, since its leader is a Broad representative, is connected to Broad/Gates/Duncan et al. it would be lovely to talk about issues without this cropping up, but it rears its ugly head is everywhere.

LouiseM said...

Sahila I'm not an apologist, I'm just sick of every other post coming from you spewing the same thing. That's really all there is to it. I'm holding out hope that there will be one thread where I don't have to read about broad, gates, etal.

Now if you want to make it somehing more than that, well go right ahead. Knock yourself out.

Sahila said...

So you think Eli Broad and Bill Gates and Mike Milken and Milton Friedman and the Waltons have the right to shape public education as they see fit, then F4K? (A4E, S4C, LEV, OSC!!!)

That we should just sit back and let it happen and be grateful that such generous, intelligent, altruistic people know better than we do what kind of a future we should have and what needs to happen to programme our kids to fit into that future...

If that's where you're at, you and I dont have any scope for dialogue...

Chris S. said...

aaaaahck, if you don't like anti-corporate-ed-reform conversations, you can always go back to... the REST OF THE WORLD. Seattle Times, New York Times, Crosscut, Time, Newsweek. Don't begrudge us our free speech in our own little corner.

Thank you, SSS blog owners, for letting us speak here. Puts you a huge cut above A4E and LEV and S4C in integrity.

Chris S. said...

AND Sahila wouldn't be able to bring up the Broad on every thread if they didn't have their $%^&! fingers in EVERYTHING...

seattle said...

Yet another hijacked thread.

SolvayGirl said...

I don't see it as high-jacked. Sahila did some research and once again connected the dots. If you don't like reading what she has to say, do as SC advised and scroll down. Personally, I want to know if the firm hired has connections to the reform movement, and I appreciate Sahila's investigative reporting.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And just to gently say, I know I can speak for Charlie and Beth when I say that we want ALL voices. We need feedback from parents and community from around our district. That's the best way to find solutions and work towards compromise and consensus. There may be people on the far ends and that's fine but I hope no feels like they don't have the right to their own voice.

seattle said...

Differing opinions are fine as long as folks can stay civil. Sahila gets nasty as soon as anyone has an opinion that differs from hers and it is getting old.

Sahila said...

I'm not nasty.... I do the research and I point out the contradictions... and people get defensive...and Fight for Kids thinks he/she is the only one here fighting for kids?

I really cant help it that everything does go back to Broad/Gates et al...

That's a fact of life here in SPS - I havent manufactured it, havent dreamed it up, havent manipulated it.... EVERYTHING LEADS BACK TO BROAD AND GATES...

If people dont want to accept that reality, that's their right... doesnt change that its a fact though...

If people are OK with that, that's fine - that's their right...

I'm not OK with that...

ParentofThree said...

I also think it is very interesting that the hiring consultant has Broad connections.

Thanks for pointing that out.

I also have to wonder why HR cannot write and post job posting to craigslist themselves.

One day there is no money for textbooks, the next day there is money for yet another constultant.

Are we shopping at Nordstroms or Value Village? I can't keep up.

seattle citizen said...

Toni, the heading of this thread is "District Hires Outside Firm to Find Principal." Do you not think that discussion about the reasons behind this new thing is valid?

Or maybe we should just talk about...what? here?

Seriously: "Outside Firm"..."Koya connected to charters and gates...."

These are not relevant to a thread about Koya recruiting for SPS posistions of authority?

LouiseM said...

Actually Sahila, you do get a bit testy when someone goes against (or you feel they're going against you when they're really not) what you're saying.

For instance when the names of the organizations that signed up for the Our Schools Coalition were released you basically called them ignorant for doing so. As if they aren't educated enough to know what choices they made.

When I posted my first time, you instantly questioned my integrity, wanted to know who I was (which lead to Beth having to turn on the review feature of the blog and repost the rules) and called me a reformist all because I said I thought the Alliance4EDs points about teacher quality seemed valid.

Then today you called me an apologist for broad, etal. After I said I wasn't, then you went down the road of saying I think they have the right solution for reform.

Now you're saying I think I'm the only one fighting for kids. And people who don't believe you get defensive.

If someone is against your opinion, you don't get to bash them. You have to respect their opinion just like you want yours respected.

I respect your opinion. My original post on this thread was basically about being tired of hearing it over and over again and tied to every single subject. I never said you didn't have a right to your opinion or that it shouldn't be respected.

There is one thing I agree with you on. "... you and I dont have any scope for dialogue...". And that should be OK.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that the thread was hijacked.

Sahila, your first post on this thread was fabulous. On-topic, succinct research that points to a connection that we might not have seen without digging. Nice job, thanks.

But subsequent posts are mostly off-topic generic Broad-bashing. Along with insults that I don't think Toni or F4K deserved. We all read the same bashing here over and over and over. In the beginning it may have been insightful, but it's not even interesting anymore. Sure, I can scroll past, but it's distracting, and when you insult other commenters without a lot of cause it's counter-productive. Nothing in F4K's post (on this thread anyway) made me feel like he/she was a Broad apologist, just that he/she wanted to try to stay remotely on-topic, and not have the conversation degrade as it often does. I'd like that too.

Again, I appreciate your first post here. I'd certainly want to see more data from a variety of headhunters that deal in the education market to know if their Broad connection is unusual or common, but it's a good start.

Sahila said...

none111...

what gets me is that hardly anyone here actually DOES THE RESEARCH to find out what's going on... and then they dump on the people who do...

Fighting for Kids started attacking me, saying that my post WITH THE FACTS ABOUT WHO KOYA IS AND WHO THEY WORK WITH/FOR was a hijack and that he/she was sick of me pulling everything back to Broad..

I'm not going to take that kind of attack... my first two posts were factual, to the point, RESEARCHED.. they weren't an opinion and they didnt put anyone down, although they were a strong call to action - something that I think is in short supply in SPS...

If F4K wants to put forward a counterpoint, that's cool... bring on some facts, supported by references and sources... PROVE THAT WHAT I AM SAYING IS WRONG...

I wish certain people would stop being babies, throwing temper tantrums, getting mad at me because they dont like what I have to say.... deal with the facts, dont shoot the messenger...

Unknown said...

I'm glad we're using headhunters, and I'm glad those headhunters are using the common tools used these days to find candidates.

Finding outsiders with different perspectives is almost always a good thing. It's how you improve any organization.

Ultimately, the headhunter will bring a pool of candidates forward. They won't make the hiring decision.

Sahila said...

I think that a Broad/New Teacher Project/Charter school-linked headhunter will bring forward Broad/NTP/charter school-linked candidates... we wont get diversity at all...

seattle citizen said...

Rosie, you write that
"Finding outsiders with different perspectives is almost always a good thing"

Is it? Can you back that up?

What about the knowledge of the local operations, the knowledge of the community...

What sort of incentive does someone have to move up (say, from teacher to AP to Principal) if they will be denied the chance by having hiring occur outside the system?

I'm not saying either way is right, I'm just curious why you think hiring outside is better than using your existing talent.

Sahila said...

I didnt get to this page on my last foray to Koya's website:

Please check this out for yourself...

http://www.koyaconsulting.com/page6/page6.html

Tell me that we are going to get a good, diverse, non-reform pool of talent from this headhunting firm?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sahlia, it's great you do research and let us know.

However, I think you don't give other people on this blog credit for they know (and have researched). And people are entitled to their opinions even in the face of certain facts.

Every discussion doesn't have to be a smackdown.

I don't think calling people "babies" is helpful.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Also, on the consulting firm's page, I saw a number of groups/entities that I could and do support.

seattle said...

From Sahila's posts on this thread alone:

"I wish certain people would stop being babies, throwing temper tantrums"

"Really, really people.... when are you going to step out of denial and acknowledge that what's happening in Seattle "

"I dont know what it will take to convince you..."

"Back again Fighting for Kids? Well, I'm fighting for kids too..."

"Fighting for Kids... if you're an apologist for Broad/Gates/Charters etc, why dont you just come out and say so..."

"Good golly gosh... I'm just so paranoid I scare myself...not"

"If that's where you're at, you and I dont have any scope for dialogue..."

"If F4K wants to put forward a counterpoint, that's cool... bring on some facts, supported by references and sources... PROVE THAT WHAT I AM SAYING IS WRONG..."

These posts are hostile, condescending, and inflamatory. What's worse is you're not just having a bad day, this is how you communicate on almost every single thread. Honestly, I don't know why the blog moderators put up with it. Yes, all opinions should be welcome, but someone needs to draw the line when one continually offends, calls names, and berates anyone who has an opinion that differs from theirs.

And, Sahila, people don't have to "prove" anything to you. Everyone should be welcome to share their opinion without fear of a Sahila tyrade.

Unknown said...

I'm an HR professional, and I've been doing diversity training for upwards of 20 years. When you get a bunch of people in a room who think the same -- because they've grown up with the same assumptions/worked within the same organization/lived in the same part of the world or part of the country/share the same political or social or other defining sorts of beliefs etc., and they have a problem to solve, they typically come up with a smaller panel of less creative solutions. But when that room is full of truly diverse people, the potential solutions look completely different. It's like a million flowers.

If you always promote from within, and never bring in new, creative forces from outside, you wind up with an organization that becomes stagnant. Principals are, organizationally speaking, mid level manager with responsibility for, if you will, important pieces of the "business" of the District. Getting some new perspectives in there at that level, that have seen more than one way of doing things, will likely have the same effect.

Promoting from within is important for other reasons -- people need to know they have ways to grow and advance within an organization, and of course, there's also value from knowing how a particular system works. Smart organizations like to have some of each. In my profession, we argue about percentages, though, not about the validity of having some of both. Most of the principals I'm aware of in Seattle are home grown. From my perspective, we could use a little outside perspective at that level. That's why I htink it's a fine idea to hire a headhunter firm to broaden the scope of the search.

Now, there's a different body of research/literature that looks at the concept of bringing in a CEO from the outside, and its generally not a positive move. It's much better to bring in that new and diverse perspective a little lower down, allow a person to get acculturated, then when the top job becomes available, promote from within.

If you want to research this look into any basic HR texts, or the literature of the HR faculty at major colleges and universities.

seattle said...

"What sort of incentive does someone have to move up (say, from teacher to AP to Principal) if they will be denied the chance by having hiring occur outside the system?"

SC, I highly doubt that the district has closed the position to current SPS employees? They are probably just looking for a broader scope of candidates. And, honestly, if they find someone from outside of SPS that is a stonger candidate then I'd prefer that person get the job.

owlhouse said...

If our HR folks aren't up for hiring in difficult/unique situations, perhaps we should be looking to a consulting HR firm to bring strength to that SPS department. Might be a better long-term investment.

Sahila said...

http://news.firedoglake.com/2010/05/10/wall-street-hearts-charter-schools-gets-rich-off-them/#

Hedge funds making money from the charter school industry...

"...Hedge fund executives are thus emerging as perhaps the first significant political counterweight to the powerful teachers unions, which strongly oppose expanding charter schools in their current form [...]

They have been contributing generously to lawmakers in hopes of creating a friendlier climate for charter schools. More immediately, they have raised a multimillion-dollar war chest to lobby this month for a bill to raise the maximum number of charter schools statewide to 460 from 200.

The money has paid for television and radio advertisements, phone banks and some 40 neighborhood canvassers in New York City and Buffalo — all urging voters to put pressure on their lawmakers.

On Friday, NY Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez wrote a column about how big investors can double their money in seven years using a special tax credit to invest in charter schools, and he also discussed what he uncovered in a brief segment on Democracy Now! which he co-hosts with Amy Goodman. Here’s how he summarized it on the air:

There’s a lot of money to be made in charter schools, and I’m not talking just about the for-profit management companies that run a lot of these charter schools. It turns out that at the tail end of the Clinton administration in 2000, Congress passed a new kind of tax credit called a New Markets tax credit. What this allows is it gives enormous federal tax credit to banks and equity funds that invest in community projects in underserved communities and it’s been used heavily now for the last several years for charter schools. I have focused on Albany, New York, which in New York state, is the district with the highest percentage of children in charter schools, twenty percent of the schoolchildren in Albany attend are now attending charter schools. I discovered that quite a few of the charter schools there have been built using these New Markets tax credits.

What happens is the investors who put up the money to build charter schools get to basically or virtually double their money in seven years through a thirty-nine percent tax credit from the federal government. In addition, this is a tax credit on money that they’re lending, so they’re also collecting interest on the loans as well as getting the thirty-nine percent tax credit. They piggy-back the tax credit on other kinds of federal tax credits like historic preservation or job creation or brownfields credits.

The result is, you can put in ten million dollars and in seven years double your money."

seattle citizen said...

Thanks, Rosie, for that eloquent description of the pros and cons of hiring from within and without. Very illuminating.
I see your point exactly. I'm not trying (Toni!) to claim that SPS will ONLY hire from without, or lock out outsiders (out outsiders?) but it's interesting to see the merits of both sides.
I might argue that in the 21st century, with a) lots of movement by labor, and b) a very connected society via communication and media, that the "enculturated" old-timers aren't as homogeneous or out of the loop as your perspective might suggest. People move, people listen, and while Seattle is a relatively liberal (?) town in some ways (and not in others), and SPS staf might tend towards the "liberal," (which is limiting educationally, yes) these people are smart professionals who not only read the books but respond, as capable, to national trends every couple of years, sometimes more than a few in just a few months. Decades of reformers (of one kind or another) yanking their chains, uh, developing them professionally, steer them hither and yon regularly and so infuse them solidly at every turn with the new new thing. Since management up top (above even principals) serves as the conduit of policy the ones below merely carry out their assigned mandates, uh, professional duties as directed.

So there's already a mix, including principals, who stand ready to dance and sing to whatever tune is currently top of the playlist.

That's why I ageee that the top should be homegrown, Homegrown to understand the relationship betwen this disparate staff and its fluctuating series of mandates (developed by local Board) and tie them to the community. They should also stay home-connected to the widest possible consituency, that constituency (in the current order of things) somewhat captive, which is why the leader must actively reach out to ALL peoples around the city, because they are the people the leader leads.

Superintendents, when you think about it, ARE the leaders of us all. What more powerful position in this city?

seattle citizen said...

Wow, Sahila...if it's true that banks are using public tax credits to turn a private profit by opening charters in poor neighborhoods, that's just twisted.

I'd like to see more documentation of this.

Sahila said...

Happy to oblige SC (if only someone would pay me for the time I spend on this stuff)...

Here's the New York Times article of May 9 2010 on this...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/nyregion/10charter.html?hp

First paragraphs pasted for your edification:
"When Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo wanted to meet certain members of the hedge fund crowd, seeking donors for his all-but-certain run for governor, what he heard was this: Talk to Joe.

That would be Joe Williams, executive director of a political action committee that advances what has become a favorite cause of many of the wealthy founders of New York hedge funds: charter schools.

Wall Street has always put its money where its interests and beliefs lie. But it is far less common that so many financial heavyweights would adopt a social cause like charter schools and advance it with a laserlike focus in the political realm.

Hedge fund executives are thus emerging as perhaps the first significant political counterweight to the powerful teachers unions, which strongly oppose expanding charter schools in their current form.

After hearing from Mr. Cuomo, Mr. Williams arranged an 8 a.m. meeting last month at the Regency Hotel, that favorite spot for power breakfasts, between Mr. Cuomo and supporters of his committee, Democrats for Education Reform, who include the founders of funds like Anchorage Capital Partners, with $8 billion under management; Greenlight Capital, with $6.8 billion; and Pershing Square Capital Management, with $5.5 billion.

Although the April 9 breakfast with Mr. Cuomo was not a formal fund-raiser, the hedge fund managers have been wielding their money to influence educational policy in Albany, particularly among Democrats, who control both the Senate and the Assembly but have historically been aligned with the teachers unions.

They have been contributing generously to lawmakers in hopes of creating a friendlier climate for charter schools. More immediately, they have raised a multimillion-dollar war chest to lobby this month for a bill to raise the maximum number of charter schools statewide to 460 from 200.

The money has paid for television and radio advertisements, phone banks and some 40 neighborhood canvassers in New York City and Buffalo — all urging voters to put pressure on their lawmakers. ..."

reader said...

The whole thing is kinda ridiculous. This is a buyer's market. Anybody over at SPS ever crack a newspaper? We've got unemployment out the ying yang, especially in the education field. Any open job, especially in education, will have tons of applicants. And I do mean tons. Why hire a consulting firm when there's a recession? The time to use a hiring agency is during the boom times, when it is a job seekers market. Get the differnce?

Jet City mom said...

I wouldn't say that the HR department at SPS is known for its wooing and turning over rocks

Going by some of the prescreened candidates that were chosen for the hiring committees I have been on, I wonder if " under rocks" was exactly where HR was looking.

I agree with Patrick.

If we as a system that serves the public- have enough budget and staff to close and open schools without watching every penny, have enough loose change to pay the superintendent $100,000 more than the governor & then give a bonus for not quitting despite not meeting 50% of goals, we surely have enough money to attract folks to HR who have " people" skills.

Stop it with all the G*&&% consultants-
I would love to see outside subcontracted work cut by 1/2.

If we don't have the talent we need in the district, than develop it- Im thinking we need some educators in the Stanford Center- the kind of people who can recognize a diamond in the rough and help them discover their strengths- rather than finding people who haven't worked in the district, don't even live in Seattle- but know how to read a powerpoint.

dan dempsey said...

A Headhunter firm with a Broad Foundation Bias.......

Same way we got our current Superintendent .....

NO THANKS

Charlie Mas said...

The position advertised is at West Seattle Elementary. The District is not replacing the principal at Hawthorne because this is her first year. Gayle Everly, however, has been at West Seattle too long, starting in 2005-2006, for them to claim that she is the transformation replacement.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this at all.

If a firm hires an outside consultant to find someone to place in their company it's because of the connections that this consulting firm would have to potential candidates. They bring with them a short list and they also have the means to contact appropriate candidates through professional networks that they have developed.

So,as stated in the original post, why in the world (to put it nicely) are they running an ad on Craigslist!?!

This sounds so ridiculous. Also, isn't it common sense that people within the district would have far more knowledge of potential candidates than an outside agency?

Ya know, this administration never ceases to amaze me.

And, as always, where's the money for this!?! Again, it never ceases to amaze me how the CFO and the supe keep telling us how broke we are but then can turn around and spend money on what the supe thinks is important.

I haven't read through all of these posts to find out if someone knows the answer to this but, is this firm being financed by the Alliance or directly by Gates as other things have been paid for in the past when the supe decides to go with her own agenda?

seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle said...

Seattle has some very strong, popular, effective principals but by the same token we have plenty of unpopular, ineffective, weak principals scattered throughout the district, who continually get shuffled from school to school to school, or are given a desk job downtown.

Is anyone a fan of recyling ineffective principals?

Do you want one of them at your kids school?

Just reading the post above this one (West Seattle as it's own mini district) you read several posts about how ineffective Susan Derse was at WSHS and how she drove families away, as Bivens is doing now.

And this is but one example. Think about Joe Drake from Marshall, Teri Skjei who was moved to View Ridge after the teacher sex scandal. This list goes on and on.

Do we need more of this?

I'm actually excited at the prospect of a recruiting firm finding strong candidates that may otherwise not have been found.

seattle citizen said...

Toni, if ineffective principals are a problem, why would importing fix the problem? Ineffective principals are the result of ineffective management - management hires, monitors and places principals, whether they are locals or not.
Your argument is similar to the one used by those who want to "reform" schools: They say there are problems, then say let's look elsewhere for new staff, new ideas, rather than merely fix the problems that exist.

New staff, new programs....these are just as vulnerable to the same problems you bemoan.

It's like saying, "My car is running poorly! Rather than fix it, I think I'll just replace it, my new car is sure to be better!"

Charlie Mas said...

There are some excellent questions being asked here.

The first really good question is about money. How is it that the District doesn't have money for valuable programs for students, but has millions for any number of consultants for recruiting principals, implementing project-based learning, curricular alignment, and performance management? Not to mention money for Broad interns and an army of coaches.

The second question is what does this headhunter do that our own HR department can't do? We have just seen, among the principal appointments announced this week, that the District is capable of hiring principals - even ones from outside.

The third question is if we should expect the headhunter to place an ad on Craigslist. I don't really have a problem with this. Craigslist has essentially replaced the classified ad section of the newspaper and we wouldn't be surprised or indignant to find an ad there, would we?

seattle citizen said...

Depends on what category on Craigslist they placed the ad, Charlie!

Sahila said...

As Dora says - where is the money coming to pay this crowd? SPS tells us there is nothing in the coffers as it cuts another 36 teachers but it has the money to hire an expensive HR firm?

I'd like to ask the Alliance or Gates if they're funding this, as the Alliance has funded the 360 Strategies/Our Schools Coalition push poll and the NCTQ report that came to town, trashing teachers...

I wasnt here then - does anyone know if the hiring of MGJ was handled in-house by SPS or did they go through an HR firm?

If it was an HR firm, which one was it?

I heard that the SPS Board had no idea MGJ had Broad connections when they hired her... she conveniently left that detail off her resume...

Melissa Westbrook said...

No she didn't leave it off her resume. It was clear she was a graduate of the Broad Academy.

For this kind of job, you need strategized advertising via education outlets/media. The chance that some random, fantastic principal is trolling Craigslist seems unlikely. But even if that is so, why couldn't the district have done that on their own? I echo others who have asked, what is this consulting firm doing that the district's own HR couldn't?

The district cried poor all the time. But they had money for this consultant. Over $13,000 spent on taking staff around to look at international high schools (not a back thing but as the Strategic Plan says, "first things first". Where is this laser focus for Dr. Goodloe-Johnson?

It seems to me when the district wants something done, THEY find the money.

Melissa Westbrook said...

whoops - "not a bad thing"

sloppy writing on my part

Sahila said...

Melissa - according to Sally Soriano, the Board did not know about MGJs Broad affiliation when they hired her...

I got this information recently from the person Sally said this to... we were both at a meeting with a Board Director, discussing Broad influence in the district... well the meeting was also about other matters and the Broad stuff came up at the end...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I came to the interviews and Googled her and it was very apparent that she had those connections. People did get incensed that some of the public would even dare to Google someone but my thought was, why didn't the Board do this?

I know and respect Sally so if she didn't know, I believe her. But it was easy enough information to come by.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I came to the interviews and Googled her and it was very apparent that she had those connections. People did get incensed that some of the public would even dare to Google someone but my thought was, why didn't the Board do this?

I know and respect Sally so if she didn't know, I believe her. But it was easy enough information to come by.

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