OLR Research Report


October 2, 2013

 

2013-R-0356

STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION CONSULTANTS

By: John Moran, Principal Analyst

You asked for information about education consultants either currently or recently under contract with (1) the state Education Department (SDE) or (2) another entity on behalf of SDE. You also asked for a description of the consultants' contractual duties.

Table 1 provides, in roughly chronological order, brief descriptions of the consultants and their duties. Some consultant fee information was not immediately available, and we will update this report when it is.

As Table 1 shows, there are three different avenues through which SDE engages consultants: (1) contracts with SDE, some of which also have the State Education Resource Center (SERC) as a party to the contract; (2) contracts granted by third parties that SDE chooses to be the contracting agent on SDE's behalf; and (3) programmatic involvement when SDE and the State Board of Education approve an application for a commissioner's network school or a new charter school that involves a consultant.

Table 1: Education Consultants and Their Work for SDE

Consultant

Description & Website

Work or Services for SDE

Fee

Education First, Inc., Seattle, WA

“We are mission-driven strategy and policy consulting firm with unique and deep expertise in education improvement and reform issues.”

http://www.education-first.com/

Assisted the state in developing and implementing the new teacher evaluation system

Helped facilitate the activities of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC), the group charged with developing a new teacher evaluation system

Met with teacher evaluation stakeholders, including teachers unions

Helped draft human capital legislation that builds on the new evaluation system; (evaluation development, stakeholders meetings, and legislation drafting done working closely with Leeds Global)

Contract period: December 2011 to January 2012, although work went beyond this period (SERC was also a party to this contract)*

$93,891*

Leeds Global Partners, New York City

“Educational services and advisory firm that delivers sustainable policy and programmatic solutions to improve organizational effectiveness and raise student achievement.”

http://www.leedsequity.com/

Assisted with the launch of the new education commissioner's administration during his initial period

Assisted with efforts to reorganize the State Department of Education (SDE)

Provided strategic planning, and policy research, development, and planning

Assisted with development of legislative strategy and package, including engaging key stakeholders

Provided recommendations on innovative collective bargaining agreements to be used in low-performing schools and districts

Period: January 12, 1012 to March 31,2012 (SERC was also a party to this contract)

195,000*

DSA Capital, New Jersey

“Offers business owners several financial solutions to help with funding and increasing sales and profits while keeping expenditures at a minimum.”

http://www.dsacapitalgroup.com/

Assisted SDE in reviewing qualifications and experience of other consultants (including Leeds and Education First) before SDE selected them. SDE did not have a contract with DSA, but it is included on this table because DAS provided SDE with services for a fee paid for by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)**

Period: December 2011-January 2012

60,000 paid for by CCSSO**

New Leaders,***

New York City

New Leaders develops talented educators into transformational leaders who can drive great teaching and high academic achievement across whole schools.”

http://www.newleaders.org/

Assisted the state in developing and implementing the new administrator evaluation system

Period: January to June 2012

50,000

Ranjana Reddy

Former charter school teacher in New Jersey and recent Yale University law school graduate

Prepared the state's application to the federal Department of Education for a waiver of the No Child Left Behind Act requirements

Prepared new performance accountability measures the state agreed to meet in order to be granted the waiver

Period: January 2012 – August 2012 (SERC was also a party to this contract)

41,461

My Learning Plan, Great River, NY

“Leading provider of web-based educator evaluation and professional learning data management solutions used by K-12 school districts throughout the United States and around the world.”

http://www.mylearningplan.com/

Data management system for teacher evaluation pilot program, contract awarded through EastCONN on behalf of SDE

Period: 2012-13 school year

300,000

Bloomboard, Palo Alto, CA

“Using technology to take the principles of differentiated instruction for students and applying them to teacher” evaluation, development and support.

http://www.bloomboard.com/

Data management system for teacher evaluation

Provides teachers, for a fee, with access to professional learning and development directly tied to evaluation results

contract awarded through Connecticut Association of Schools on behalf of SDE

Period: 2013-14 school year and access to the data system will be ongoing beyond this school year

1.2 million

New Leaders,***

New York City

Center for Collaborative Change, Newark, N.J.

See above

A Newark, N.J. focused community agency that “connects people, ideas, and resources to Newark's most pressing needs.”

http://newarkchange.org/

These two consultants are currently collaborating on developing a leadership development program with UConn Neag School of Education and the Connecticut Association of Schools

Period: The consultants are collaborating on the project for 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years

Fee amounts not available

Education Trust, Washington, DC

“Promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels. . . . Our goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign far too many young people . . . to lives on the margins of the American mainstream.”

http://www.edtrust.org/

Providing leader identification system for principals and other leaders

Fee amount not available

Our Piece of the Pie, Inc. Hartford

Hartford-based youth development agency with experience working with Hartford and Bloomfield school districts

http://www.opp.org/index.html

Assisting in a program focused on helping over-age, under-credited students 18-24 in Briggs High School in Norwalk graduate college-and-career ready from high school; the effort will be funded through the commissioner's network of schools (starting with 2013-14 school year and ongoing after that)

Starting a new charter school, Path Academy, in Windham for over-aged and under credited students (granted approval as charter management organization in spring 2013; school to open in 2014)

Funding through the commissioner's network for Norwalk and through the state's existing charter school grants for Windham

*Education First and Leeds each have unresolved claims pending with the Claims Commissioner seeking additional payments from SDE for their services. An earlier dispute over payments between SDE and Education First, Leeds, and New Leaders was resolved through a stipulated agreement dated April 3, 2013.

**The Council of Chief State School Officers is an association of education department heads that provides various services to its members, including assistance with new commissioners beginning their tenure. It receives state and federal funding.

***New Leaders appears twice in the table because it performed services under two different agreements.

JM:ts