Before the current school board and Fagen took over our school district, DCSD attracted outstanding administrative talent from across the state. However, the current climate they have created for students and employees has led to nationwide advertisements for new principals from outside Colorado.
They have now decided to train their own principals “in-house.”
The Denver Post reports that DCSD is working with Argosy University to train their own principals. Of course, DCSD claims that they are so different from other districts that it’s necessary for them to have their own program. According to assistant superintendent Dan McMinimee, “having a district-specific program was important because the district does things differently than others around the state, including their teacher evaluation system and site-based planning.”
It is questionable how well they will train administrative students, given their apparent lack of ability to train their current principals on CITE (see below for a report by Teaching and Learning Solutions, commissioned by DCSD):
Like themselves, DCSD’s new partner in education, Argosy University, is no stranger to lawsuits. According to a Channel 7 News story from December, Deputy Attorney General Jan Zavislan said “’Our investigation revealed a pattern of Argosy recklessly launching doctoral degree programs without substantiating or supporting that they led to the advertised outcomes . . . That is illegal under Colorado law and why we are holding Argosy accountable.’”
“In one particular case, ‘Many students withdrew from the EdD-CP program saddled with debt and to date, no Argosy-Denver EdD-CP student has become licensed as a psychologist in Colorado or any other state.’”
Argosy is managed by EDMC (Education Management Corporation). According to an article in The Washington Post, “For-profit or ‘career’ colleges have grown in enrollment from 365,000 students to nearly two million over the past several years.”
EDMC was under investigation by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2010 for reports of recruiters of Argosy University in Chicago misleading students about tuition and the quality of the program. The website, GetEducated.com has an article explaining the charges in detail, as well as links to the U.S. GAO’s report.
According to an article from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, EDMC’s stock price has dropped in recent years after the high of $20.05 in February 2011. Currently the stock is selling for $4.47 a share, continuing to lose value following an investigation by the SEC in March, 2013.
The President of Argosy in Denver is Richard Boorom, PhD. He owns the Subway restaurant at Santa Fe and Florida in Denver. He is also the owner/operator of Boorom Consulting–however there is no readily available information about Boorom Consulting.
Knowing the background of Argosy and EDMC, it’s not terribly surprising to learn that DCSD’s upper administration will be teaching classes for this program.
From the Denver Post article: “What also makes the district’s program unique is that the majority of the adjunct professors are district staff or administrators, including district superintendent Elizabeth Celania-Fagen and district system performance officer Syna Morgan, and courses on law and human resources being taught by the district’s lawyer and chief of human relations, respectively.”
Keep in mind, DCSD often hires outside attorneys for litigation. Additionally, DCSD’s HR Department came up with the infamous salary bands as well as most recently attempting to force regular-status teachers into resigning their positions from the district.
Further, Dr. Fagen–with only a few years of experience as a Superintendent and fewer still as a school principal–would hardly seem to be an expert in the field of effective school leadership. Does #firefagen look familiar to those of you who follow Twitter?
Seems that there is a great deal of money to be made in for-profit higher education, and because for-profit colleges have different accreditation requirements than non-profit colleges, it should come as no surprise that DCSD upper administration and their BoE would want an opportunity to benefit from that profit and lack of accountability. Another step towards the privatization of public education?