What You Should Know About “Pay for Success” as Testing Season Approaches
From this week’s newsfeed:
- Chicago schools may end classes three weeks early due to lack of funding.
- Several dozen Detroit schools close temporarily due to a “boil water” advisory.
- Some Boston schools anticipate 20%+ cuts to already meager budgets.
- Philadelphia teachers crowd-fund a billboard explaining they’ve been working without a contract or raises for nearly five years.
Against this backdrop we enter another high-stakes testing season where teachers and students are expected to relinquish their classrooms to the demands of big data, praying they score high enough to avoid the turnaround list. Each year this becomes more difficult as schools are deprived of even the most-basic levels of public support. Test scores are used to punitively grade schools and rate teachers even as the most important human aspects of education, the ones that cannot be uploaded to data dashboards, are carelessly dismissed. It makes no sense until you realize that data, rigorous assessment and ranking systems are demanded to accomplish the true goal of transforming public education into a vast market for private investment. Tim Scott offers a detailed analysis in his piece “Social Impact Bonds: The Titans of Finance as the Altruistic Merchants of Schooling and the Common Good.”
Pay for Success (PFS) is an investment model where public institutions seek infusions of private capital to finance programs that would otherwise remain unfunded. Returns are paid if programs demonstrate they’ve met predetermined metrics for “success” as outlined in the Social Impact Bond (SIB) deal. Deal brokers determine the metrics without input from the What You Should Know About “Pay for Success” as Testing Season Approaches – Wrench in the Gears: