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A few days ago, I posted Nancy Bailey’s critique of McKinsey & Company’s report claiming that it’s time for schools to get tough on students. As Bailey points out, when I worked in the Department of Education, the White House was crawling with McKinsey consultants, smart young things who knew everything about education but were seldom old enough to have been in the classroom for long.
Our faithful reader and meticulous researcher Laura Chapman (a retired arts educator) responded to Nancy’s post as follows, describing the mastermind of the McKinsey report:
Nancy Bailey probably knows that the author of the McKinsey report, Jimmy Sarakatsannis jumped straight to McKinsey as an expert in everything about K-12 and teacher education from his job as a science teacher for three years at Sousa Middle School, a charter school with “scholars” in DC.
Sarakatsannis has held exactly one job in education and there is every reason to believe that he left Sousa Middle School in 2008, in the midst of a major meltdown at that charter school. A tyrannical principal created chaos there. http://thewashingtonteacher.blogspot.com/2010/07/tyranny-of-dcs-sousa-middle-school.html
ABOUT JIMMY FROM THE REPORT’S WEBSITE: “Jimmy is a partner in McKinsey’s Washington, DC office and a leader in our Education and Private Equity Practices.
Jimmy’s work in education straddles the public, private, and non-profit sectors, and spans every stage from pre-K-12 education to higher education and workforce development. He serves school systems, educational services providers, technology companies, and educational non-profits, as well as private-equity firms and philanthropic foundations that invest in education.
Much of Jimmy’s work focuses on how technology can be used to transform teaching and learning both within and beyond formal education. He also has deep expertise in the improvement of human capital within education systems, investment in education, and the development of successful organizational and business models for companies working across the public and private sectors.
Among his recent client projects, Jimmy has:
• advised an online learning company on developing a strategy to raise its student success rates
• supported professional development for teachers in some 20 US school districts
• helped a major technology company define a strategy to enter education, including product development, team building, and a go-to-market strategy for the new business
• led our support of a new non-profit in K-12 education, helping to design and set up the organization with an independent sales force and operations team
• worked with a national system of technical and vocational colleges to create online and hybrid programs to expand access and provide better educational experiences, reaching more than 50,000 students to date
Before joining McKinsey, Jimmy taught middle school science in the District of Columbia Public Schools. He is the author of a number of papers on educational topics and a regular contributor to our knowledge building in this field.”
That is a perfect example of corporate gibberish too easily sold to school districts.
I looked up Jimmy’s publications in Google Scholar. In those five entries he is never a solo author. All publications are from McKinsey, including COVID-19 and Student Learning in the United States – The hurt could last a lifetime.
Do not believe hype about the wisdom of McKinsey, least of all in education. Arne Duncan was a friend of McKinsey and by 2008 had engaged USDE with an “uplift” education campaign conjured by McKinsey. The project, was called R.E.S.P.E.C.T. an the acronym for “Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching.”
The project was nothing more than another scheme to make pay-for-performance the norm, get rid of collective bargaining, set up tiers of qualifications for teachers. Each teaching tier was offered an initial contract. In order to get a continuing contract you had produce more than a year’s worth of gains in test scores year-to-year for multiple years.
There are still records about this scheme. It was reportedly inspired by a 2010 McKinsey report: Closing the Talent Gap: Attracting and Retaining Top-Third Graduates to Careers in Teaching: An International and Market Research-Based Perspective. That report called for recruiting the “best and brightest talent” into teaching because they could produce the highest test scores and those high tests scores could predict economic outcomes (with Chetty and others treated as experts). I wrote about some of these schemes on Diane’s blog back, in May of 2016. Diane has also devoted some blogs to the McKinsey’s corporate follies.