News 2 asked Charleston County high school principals why they were spending $1,200 a day on consultant Sandy Brossard. Other than stressing that this woman is paid for through state or federal tax dollars, not local tax dollars (um, last we checked it was all still coming out of our pocket), we still have no idea exactly what we’re paying for.

Stall principal Dan Conner: “She has been in on us doing our reform on Stall High School.  Whether it be curriculum change, instructional changes as far as how we teach, our assessment strategies, Sandy has come in and led our charge to move this school forward, which our data will show, we are inching forward.”

“Her networking there is no amount of money you can put on how valuable that has been for us. She’s worth ten times the money that we pay her because of her night and day, 24-7 information from her.  She’s the best tool that I have had to use to help our kids in this school.”

Wando High School Principal Lucy Beckham: “Anyone should want educators to get continuous training.  Our goal is continuous improvement as a school.  It doesn’t matter where the money comes from.  A doesn’t matter if I raise it from the vending machine, state money, federal money, whatever kind of money, that’s not the issue.  The issue is are our high schools getting better, are we putting together the right amount of support to take them to the next level.”

Louis Martin, associate superintendent for high schools for Charleston County School District: “The money that’s being spent is all directed towards improving student achievement.”

Principal Dan Conner: “She’s the gift that keeps on giving.  I have no money for it, but I still talk to her three or four times a week or communicate via email or phone call.”

We get queasy at this idea that she’s helping in every way. Is she giving pep talks? Is she evaluating teachers? Is she using shock therapy? And what tools have been put in place so that progress at these schools can be attributed to her work?

UPDATE: The district’s spokesman Elliot Smalley got back to me very quickly with his take on the News 2 piece.

“She’s one of the best high school consultants in the country, and she’s had a tremendous impact on our students,” he says. “That’s not ‘news’ — that’s a good investment, and one that progressive, high-performing districts all around the country are doing.”

They challenge just about every number in the story, but the important thing is what these consultants actually do. The district provided a “long list” of services the consultant provides on camera, but News 2 didn’t include that footage, Smalley says.

We’ll repost next week once we get that list.

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