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Laura Chapman: Your Tax $$ at Work, Opening Charter Schools

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Our reader and tireless researcher Laura Chapman has unearthed some interesting details about the expensive habits of the U.S. Department of Education, which relies on outside pricey consultants. For what it is worth, when I worked at the Department, there was a press officer but no outside PR form. Maybe that was the secret of Duncan’s success.


Chapman writes:


“The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ work is made possible through the generous support of the following organizations:

Laura and John Arnold Foundation,
Doris and Donald Fisher Fund,
The Kern Family Foundation,
Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation,
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,
William E. Simon Foundation


And ….drumroll…


The National Charter School Resource Center sponsored by the US Department of Education (USDE), complete with logo. Take a look at the website that serves as a publicity machine for the charter industry, paid for with your tax dollars and mine.


“The publicity for USDE’s charter school promotions is managed by Safel Partners.
Safel Partners. Is “a management consulting firm enabling education reform nationally and locally.”


“USDE is a “client” of Safel Partners. Among Safel clients are these:


“Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Safel Partners analyzed the national financial-aid landscape to inform the foundation’s portfolio strategy.


“Laura and John Arnold Foundation: Safel Partners analyzed teacher-effectiveness investments in four urban districts.


“Education Pioneers: Safel Partners helped the organization scale by redesigning operational processes.


“George W. Bush Institute: Safel Partners created a strategic principal-training plan.
Teach for America Houston: Safel Partners developed regional a strategic plan for the organization.


“USDE has employed many PR and “consulting” firms to market policies. I do not know when that practice began but WE have paid Safal Partners, Inc. $9,644,514.78
“to obtain technical assistance for the U.S. Department of Education Charter Schools Program for a range of activities, including online assistance, meetings, reports, studies, and assistance in a variety of focus areas, that could include human capital resources, facilities, authorizing, accountability, students with disabilities, English learners, military-connected children, and others.”


“Notice that this contract seems to allow Safel Partners to subcontract in order to obtain technical assistance…meaning that is probably does not have in-house talent for the job.


“If you are interested in tracking other USDE programs and their costs, you can download this spreadsheet, and do key word searches. Many of these contracts extend beyond the end of the Obama administration.…/contracts/…”;

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