Ruby Payne. Robert Marzano. Richard duFour. Douglas Reeves. Harry and Rosemary Wong. If you haven’t heard these names, you are not a teacher or a principal. You probably aren’t a school board member. But you might be an education journalist.
School districts spend millions on consultants like these, who specialize in everything from formative assessment to understanding poor kids to how to greet your students on the first day of class. Some educators find their speeches and books and numerous other products inspiring and helpful; some think they are wastes of time and money. So much journalistic focus right now is on funds the U.S. Department of Education is giving out, but if you want to follow dollars, you should look, too, at the money your school districts pour into educational consultants and related professional development, and how—if!—officials determine whether it’s worth it.