Monday, August 31, 2009

Outside Operators Eye 250 L.A. Unified School District Schools

The views expressed in the following post come from guest blogger Rob Crawford, CEO of The Life Development Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Los Angeles City Board of Education's vote to allow outside private school providers help turn around the district's education system looks like an opening for those entities willing to do the proverbial "dance with the devil", as this move represents a complete 180 degree turn in how children will be educated in the nation's second largest school district.

This could mean several things, among them: more public financing for privately held companies offering educational services to school districts, as well as a surge of interest in VC and private equity funding of ancillary products and services to education in the public realm.

Bidding for contracts could begin as soon as January 2010. With as many as 250 schools or nearly one third of the district's almost 700,000 students impacted by this decision, the ensuing chaos will create at minimum, short term disruption and displacement.

There are great story lines in this drama- a powerful and connected political bureaucracy, the lure of "school choice", as well as a strong entrenched teacher's union. Popular opinion against political establishment with kids/parents in the middle- a juicy story....stay tuned!

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