Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Costs of Turnaround

Ed Week has an article out worth a read: "Private Sector Competes for Share of Stimulus Pie."
It talks about consulting firms and "turnaround experts" that are now working with school districts for Race to the Top.

I guess I'm just skeptical about spending money on outsiders who don't know local conditions. I'm also skeptical because as far as I know, there's a serious lack of research on effective turnarounds.

Some of the firm's names Ed Week listed rang a bell.

The one that jumped out at me most was Alvarez & Marsal, who are making quite a buck dismantling Lehman Brothers when they're not saving schools. These are the same folks that were down in New Orleans, hired just before Katrina struck, actually. They've also worked in St. Louis and NYC. For a lot of these groups, the results seemed at best, mixed (for a pretty high price tag). Especially considering a lot of these firms get no-bid contracts with questionable "expertise."

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