In a day and age of bargain shopping, EBay, Craigslist, FB resell pages, Dirt Cheap, an ever expanding Goodwill and many more well known money saving outlets, it seems almost inconceivable that our tax dollars would fund the extremely high end educational vendors and consultants that we are well known for paying without a thought. We hear constantly the battle cries from both sides of the education funding issue, but it seems to me that no one really wants solutions. People are more focused on placing blame than solving the problem, otherwise, professional development would have been discussed by now. Let’s take a look at this area………OUTRAGEOUSLY HIGH PAID EDUCATIONAL CONSULTING GROUPS, the biggest scam in education today!
Read the following scenario and see what you think.
Let’s say that John, Sally, Rick, Scott and Jane have worked in education in classroom, administrative and higher positions in our state. They all decide to quit their jobs and go to work for an educational consulting group, providing services to the very schools and districts that they had already been working for. The only difference here is that they are making a LOT more money working for the educational company because Mississippi doesn’t employ educational consultants as regular staff. John, Sally, Rick, Scott and Jane each make between $500-$750/day working with schools in our districts. The company that they work for actually charges the school district $1600/day, making a profit of $850-$1100/day for the education group. So here is the question. Why would we pay that kind of money to the education group when those same consultants were already working in our state previously? Why would the state Department of Education not have their own department that employed these people but as state employees, making the same amount that they were for the education group but saving us $850-$1100/consultant that we employ. Imagine where those tax dollars could be spent if not going to some high paid educational vendor.
Several years ago, DCS paid an educational group $355,000 for a year of test training for SPED teachers. One person, basically, provided technical assistance as needed and occasionally in the school. (Please note: I am keeping the details here simple to give you the general idea). The person employed by the education group who came to do the work in our district was a former employee of the New Albany Schools and district. If we had paid that individual $500/day, we would have saved $255,000. Imagine where that money could have gone. This same company is used by school districts statewide and every one of their employees comes from within the Mississippi educational system. Think about that! Why would the state not hire these individuals directly or have their own educational training and development division so we don’t have to spend triple the amount of money?! Are there state and federal laws that need to be changed to free school districts from this expense?
There is always a break down between well intentioned legislators and educators as far as educational spending goes. Professional development, continuing education and education consulting on the surface seem to be good things, but as with many things in life, the devil is in the details. There are many unintended consequences that come along with well intentioned actions. Training for educators is important, but I would think that it is more important for educators to be highly trained before entering our schools. Expect more from them educationally before they are hired (if need be), pay them more once in the classroom and eliminate the excessive amount of requirements for professional development which leads to the over spending of our tax dollars in this area. In the end, our districts would save so much more money this way. Once the teachers are in their classrooms, they would have more money for the resources they need to do the jobs that they were hired and trained to do.
When kids don’t succeed, it is rarely because of their teacher not being trained. When schools are failing, professional development is not going to solve that problem. Our state and federal governments dump millions and even hundreds of millions of dollars into this area though and why?! Where did all of the professional development on Common Core, PARCC testing, standards and testing get us?! Where could that money have gone to really help our students and teachers because I can think of a lot of places?!
This is an issue that needs to be addressed. Thought needs to be put into the reevaluation of training, CEUs and professional development for educators. The money we are spending on this is astronomical, and it isn’t helping our kids in the classroom. Educational consultants and professional development providers have become the absolute biggest scam in education today! If you want to save tax dollars and help our schools to have more money and resources, then we need to fix this problem.