Houghton Mifflin Harcourt released a statement last week intended to attract investors by touting how much business they were going to be getting with their Common Core products. This Business Week story focused on what Broward Schools in Florida had purchased:
Florida’s Broward County Public Schools, one of the largest public school systems in the country, recently partnered with HMH to support the District’s innovative Digital 5: Pathways to Personalized Learning (D5) initiative. The program expands the use of technology and digital curriculum through the implementation of HMH’s comprehensive Common Core-aligned reading and math programs, Journeys and GO Math!, delivered via Kno’s cutting-edge delivery platform on personal, district-issued laptops.
When the deal was announced in October, Broward superintendent Robert Runcie sounded ecstatic:
“The Digital 5 initiative is very exciting for us. Essentially we are creating the classroom of the future, and we are doing it today, to ensure students are college and career ready in the 21st Century,” said Superintendent Robert Runcie. “The winning combination of Kno’s interactive learning technology and [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s] high-quality content gives our students and teachers the resources they need to maximize student learning and grow as citizens in an increasingly digital world.”
Runcie, who previously worked with Chicago DPS, has a business background and is a graduate of the controversial Broad Superintendents Academy. According to his Broad bio, Runcie’s background is as “president and founder of a management consulting and technology service company specializing in project management, large-scale systems implementations and organizational strategy.”
Perhaps it will turn out that Runcie’s digital learning focus proves to “maximize student learning and grow as citizens in an increasingly digital world,” but his quote sounds as if it came from a salesman. He’s no longer a “consultant for a technological service company.” Runcie’s a public servant who needs to lead schools and spend taxpayer money wisely. He’ll need to be correct. And Common Core and it’s testing regime will have to be fully implemented in Florida to keep Runcie from looking bad.
The hardcore Chamber of Commerce support for Common Core and Rick Scott is supportive of the “intention to create national markets for book publishers, technology companies, testing corporations, and other vendors.” Runcie’s quotes in support of the purchase he made with taxpayer money is boilerplate ed reform techno gibberish that ought to be coming from the guy who sold it, not the guy who bought it.
The nation still has no way of knowing whether or not Common Core is even the right way to go, but big money has already been spent on them. Runcie, Scott and the Chamber of Commerce are on the side which seeks to protect the investment – and at any cost.