School districts get managerial expertise from Broad Education Foundation “residents” with MBAs, JDs or MPPs (masters in public policy) and at least four years of work experience. The residents, who spend two years at urban school districts, get an education in “the shocking subculture of education bureaucracy,” writes Naomi Schaefer Riley in an LA Times commentary.
Michelle Boyers, who had worked as a private equity associate and attended Harvard Business School before joining the Boston Public Schools’ human resources department, says she has been most surprised by the “resistance to change” at all levels of the school system. Boston schools, for example, do all hiring on paper — candidates must submit three copies of a 1-inch thick application. Teachers who apply in January often don’t know if they’re hired until August. Putting the system online would snare good candidates who are now drifting to other districts. This no-brainer fix would have taken about two months in the private sector, she estimates. She figures it will take the district from nine to 12 months.
Others are shocked by the absence of accountability.
. . . the biggest shock (is) that public school systems pretend they don’t have to operate like other companies and organizations, that they can get the best people without giving them incentives, that their funding comes from heaven, that being a public employee charged with doing nice things for children means never having to answer to shareholders — in this case, taxpayers.
After two years, when the $80,000 Broad salary ends, most residents stay in public education.