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Have You Heard: The Rise of the *Portfolio* Model for Schools

The portfolio model of school district management—it sounds technocratic, even a little bit weedy and yet it’s arguably one of the hottest button topics in our great education debate today. You may have heard the ‘p’ word mentioned in the context of recent teachers strikes in LA and Denver, and if you haven’t, well, you’ll likely be hearing it soon. That’s because there’s big money lining up to bring the portfolio model to a school district near you. A new organization backed by two billionaires—that would be Reed Hastings of Netflix fame and hedge funder John Arnold—will be pushing aggressively and expensively to expand the portfolio model across the country. But what is it exactly? In the latest episode of Have You Heard, Jennifer and Jack are joined by Katrina Bulkley, author of Between Public and Private: Politics, Governance and the New Portfolio Models for Urban Education Reform. Bulkley walks us through the central tenets of portfolio-ism and also sheds some lights on why districts that have embraced the portfolio push seem to be, well, on fire.

You can read a full transcript of the episode here. And if you’re a fan of Have You Heard, please consider becoming a supporter on Patreon.

 

 

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Jennifer Berkshire

Jennifer Berkshire is a freelance journalist and public education advocate. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baffler, Salon, Alternate, the Progressive, and Bloomberg EDU.

Jack Schneider

Jack Schneider is an Assistant Professor of Leadership in Education at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the author of three books, the latest of which is Beyond Test Scores: A Better Way to Measure School Quality. He co-hosts the education policy podcast Have You Heard.

Katrina Bulkley

Katrina Bulkley is Professor of Educational Leadership at Montclair State University. Her research examines the intersection of policy and leadership in efforts to increase market-linked ideas in education and enhance accountability and data-driven change. She studies issues around the increasing use of new governance structures and non-public actors to improve...