How Many MBAs Does It Take To Improve CPS?

What a fun, strange mix of people were at  last night's Broad Center/Chicago Public Education Fund event high above downtown in a meeting room at the ominous-sounding Citadel Capital Group. 

It was like the Golden Globes for school reform in Chicago.  Well, sorta.

In fact, most of the faces there were new and unfamiliar -- a notably diverse group of current and recently-graduated MBA types curious about what it's like being a Broad Fellow and working at the Board or for KIPP or NLNS instead of for McKinsey or Kraft or Boston Consulting.

What they learned from people like Broad alum and CPS jack-of-all-trades Melissa Magliola is that there's a fair amount of culture shock going from the private sector to CPS -- and a lot of hard work to be done.  "If this was easy, someone would have figured it out by now," warned Melissa.

What I learned, sitting there, is that -- thanks to business-oriented fellowships and recruitment programs from Broad and CPEF -- there is a whole new wave of little David Vitales headed into CPS and other urban districts.  (Think of it as a small-scale version of what happened 10 years ago when 100 staffers supposedly came with Chico and Vallas to help take over the Board, only with MBAs instead of lawyers.)

And -- hold on, now, all you old hands and educators -- it's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm just not sure that they're going to be running a district as soon as they think.

More about this later, time permitting.  Thanks to NTN founder and current Area 15 reading goddess Lisa Vahey for telling me about the event, and to CPEF (hi, Veenay!) and Broad for letting me attend.

Filed under: Foundation Follies

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