Tuesday, July 09, 2013

@TCFKSM: National Council on Teacher Quality teams up with SearchSoft Solutions, Inc. to boost profits

First published on TCFKSM on July 9, 2013.

"The education industry represents, in our opinion, the final frontier of a number of sectors once under public control... represents the largest market opportunity... the K-12 market is the Big Enchilada." — Montgomery Securities prospectus quoted in Jonathan Kozol

National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ)'s dubious reputation for manufacturing "research" beneficial to the neoliberal education reform project is well earned. Professor Ravitch's introduction to Dr. Mercedes Schneider's latest piece tersely sums up the astrotank* that is NCTQ:

NCTQ is not a research organization. It is not a think tank. It is not a professional organization. It is an advocacy group and few of its board members have ever taught or have any direct knowledge of teaching or teacher preparation.

A little more on NCTQ's funding sources and board members before getting started:

NCTQ of course, is funded by the usual suspects. Prominent corporate education reform pushers the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Edythe and Eli Broad Foundation are front and center, as are fringe right benefactors like the Searle Freedom Trust. NCTQ's Board of Directors and staff are pretty scary, but the real eye opener is their Advisory Board chock full of reactionaries, profiteers, neoliberal darlings, and corporate education reform luminaries. Just a few names should suffice: fringe right American Enterprise Institute's Rick Hess, billionaire Bloomberg's former hatchet man and New York City pariah Joel Klein, discredited and disgraced leader of the District of Columbia's "erasuregate" scandal Michelle Rhee, reactionary The Hoover Institution's Eric Hanushek, and so many more. Although there are one or two nominally liberal organizations thrown in for good measure, these advisors are by and large right wing think tanks, companies and individuals that make money off of education, anti-union advocacy groups, and a few foundation representatives like Stefanie Sanford of the, you guessed it, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Around a year ago Professor Horn wrote about all the emails he receives from online diploma mills. I get those too, and I also get press releases from just about every nefarious privatization group around, including The Broad Foundation, The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Center for American Progress, and others. Today's subject line of note in my inbox?

Press Release: NCTQ and SearchSoft Provide Important New Tool for School Districts to Recruit Best Trained New Teachers

July 9, 2013 (Washington, DC) – The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), which recently released the first edition of the Teacher Prep Review, an annual study rating the quality of teacher prep programs, and SearchSoft, a leading provider of web-based hiring and evaluation systems for the K-12 market, have teamed up to help school districts use the ratings to screen teacher applicants.

The ratings, currently available on both the NCTQ and U.S. News & World Report websiteswill be integrated into SearchSoft hiring systems, providing HR officials in school districts with detailed information on the quality of training that aspiring elementary and secondary teachers receive at 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. The Review determines if programs are covering the fundamentals of teacher preparation, from admissions requirements to the quality of the student teaching experience, including preparation in teachers’ content areas, early reading instruction (for elementary teachers), and classroom management.

SearchSoft’s Applicant Tracking System is a recruiting and hiring system employed by thousands of schools across the country. This new partnership will allow HR staff in schools to view program ratings for each job applicant’s undergraduate or graduate teacher prep program. This data set gives principals and other hiring managers an important tool to screen teaching candidates, saving time and money and delivering the best-prepared candidates to the classroom.

“Every school leader should be equipped to build a dream team,” said Kate Walsh, president of NCTQ. “When making hiring decisions, it's imperative that school leaders have every measure of a candidate available--and what kind of training a candidate received is no small measure. Our partnership withU.S. News & World Report ensures that aspiring teachers will have ready access to program quality; this partnership with SearchSoft ensures that school districts also have easy access.”

“Understanding the quality of different prep programs is of vital importance for our customers,” said Mark Strickland, SearchSoft’s chairman. “NCTQ has been a leader in the work to better understand this issue in great detail. We are excited to be their partner in delivering this research directly to the people who choose teachers for our nation’s classrooms. We look forward to working with NCTQ to make a lasting contribution to public education.”

For more information about the Teacher Prep Review, see: 

For more information on SearchSoft’s products and services, see www.searchsoft.net

Laura Johnson                                                                       Mark VanHooser
Director of Communications                                               Vice President of Sales and Marketing
National Council on Teacher Quality                                 SearchSoft Solutions, Inc.
202-393-0020 x117                                                               317-488-5240 x1114      
ljohnson@nctq.org                                                               mvanhooser@searchsoft.net    

About NCTQ
The National Council on Teacher Quality advocates for reforms in a broad range of teacher policies at the federal, state and local levels in order to increase the number of effective teachers. We are committed to lending transparency and increasing public awareness about the four sets of institutions that have the greatest impact on teacher quality: states, teacher preparation programs, school districts and teachers unions.

How noble of the NCTQ to partner up with a privately held, for profit firm whose market share is on the up and up as more and more Broad Academy and Teach for America (TFA) Alumni run more and more school district administrations. There's not a ton of information readily available about SearchSoft Solutions, Inc. However, Boston-based venture capital firm Schoolhouse Partners has invested in SearchSoft Solutions, Inc., and Manta's website lists the following about them:

Searchsoft Solutions in Indianapolis, IN is a private company categorized under Computer Software Development and Applications. Our records show it was established in 1998 and incorporated in Indiana. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $2.5 to 5 million and employs a staff of approximately 10 to 19.

NCTQ's latest tie-in of their policy advocacy to a profitable business venture reminds us that the "K-12 market" really "is the Big Enchilada."

* Astrotank: portmanteau of astroturf and think tank. The rationale behind coining this new word should be fairly self explanatory.


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