Saturday, March 28, 2015

Money people and management competence

So, a charter school group serves 11,000 students. One of the members of the management group is a hedge fund billionaire. High employee turnover is a strong sign of poor management and this group has so much of it and other problems that the remaining employees want to form a union.

Sears is run by a hedge fund billionaire and may be entering a death spiral.

The 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital, not a hedge fund, but a private equity firm. Pretty similar though, in that the position meant he made lots and lots of money sitting at a desk. He served one term as Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, but by 2012, was so unpopular in that state that he lost MA to Obama 61% to 38%.

It's not that being a businessman who makes bucket-loads of money hand over fist necessarily means you're incompetent, it's just that making lots of money doesn't necessarily make you a good manager.

Will the charter school group teachers be successful in forming a union? We sure hope so for the sake of both the teachers and the students, but the hedge fund billionaire and others are probably going to fight a union tooth and nail. If the current managers really cared about the teachers and students, they would have recognized that their group was doing a poor job and reforms would have been instituted. No, the managers and the billionaire are in the charter school business to make money and a union would cut into their stakes in the group.

So, when Teachout, an organization of teachers and students in New York City, says that hedge fund and Wall Street billionaires are exerting pressure to force schools to accept standardized test scores as a means of evaluating teachers, I think we'd best give the teachers and students the benefit of the doubt and say that depending on standardized test scores is probably not a great idea.

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