Monday, April 06, 2015
Joplin R-8 paying $100,000+ for educational consultant
Paul Bloomberg and the Core Collaborative have been visible in the school district since September, working with teachers, not only on Common Core, but also on "visible learning" a concept which fits the administration's push to have students take charge of their own learning, with teachers acting as facilitators rather than teachers.
The district's dealings with the Core Collaborative were approved by the Board of Education at its August 19, 2014, meeting as part of the consent agenda. As with many things the board has approved as part of the consent agenda, it turned out to cost far more than what it said in the original document.
The document said "a discounted cost for the Core Collaborative to provide 12 days of training is $31,260, which includes all travel costs (airfare, hotel, rental car, and meals). We are being billed for 10 days of consultant training and are getting two days training free."
The proposal was submitted by Curriculum Director Sarah Stevens and initialed by Superintendent C. J. Huff and Executive Director of Elementary Education Jennifer Doshier.
Apparently, the curriculum director and her colleagues were so impressed with Bloomberg and company they just had to bring him here and pull teachers out of their classrooms so he could train them.
Not only did they bring the training to Joplin, but they have also ordered Common Core materials from Corwin Press, which is connected with Bloomberg and visible learning.
At the December 16 board meeting, another request came from Stevens, again initialed by Huff and Doshier, asking for another $64,680 for Bloomberg and the Core Collaborative. This was on the board's consent agenda.
In the documentation for the request, Stevens explains it in this fashion:
Dr. Bloomberg's work this far has been well received and certain areas are asking for more time to collaborate with him. The work will focus on the "formative process" outlined in the professional development plan as well as Visible Learning work around self-regulated learning.
While the request stipulates that the amount will not exceed $64,680, the cost has already exceeded the total of that amount and the earlier $31,260, with three more months to go.
Teachers who have talked to the Turner Report said that if "certain areas are asking for more time to collaborate" with Bloomberg, it has not been them. Stevens has been acting as a cheerleader for the consultant since the Core Collaborative started and has, in fact, been promoting the program heavily to other area school districts.
It does seem strange that a school district that has a curriculum director, just hired an assistant for that director, and has teaching/learning coaches in every school, needs to pay more than $100,000 for a consulting firm.