Why can’t you just give us a list of schools?
How many times do we get this question? A LOT. When I first joined our national organization, IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Assocation), I asked one consultant, “so…what are the best schools for kid with learning differences?” I had no idea at that time that I was out of line.
The real issue is that when people ask that question, they don’t really understand the “value” of an educational consultant. Our real value is that we go and see schools, and then, we 1.) spend a great deal of time trying to understand the students in an in depth way, 2.) understand the culture and unique offerings of a school, and then 3.) matching the students to the school.
A favorite story I heard in my first year of consulting is what we call the “bat story”. A woman had bats in her house, and called an exterminator. When he made the house call, he charged a great deal of money which he required her to pay up front. He then checked (the bats were not there at that time) and he put a small screen over a hole in the roof. When the woman complained about the expensive price and the very little time the man had spent fixing the problem, the pest exterminator remarked: lady, you didn’t pay me for my time or the fix I did to keep the bats out of your house. You paid me for knowing exactly what to do and where to do it.
Our time with students actually starts once a family spends a day in our office. We put together the personal “puzzle” of transcripts, teacher evaluations, psychological evaluations, interview notes, achievement tests, and character references. Once we learn the developmental history and unique personality traits of the student, we then start the process of compiling a student profile, calling schools, and sending information. A secondary but equally important job we do is visiting schools—“feet on the ground”. Like the “bat man”, you pay us for our knowledge of schools, our in depth understanding of our students, and the ability to create a customized list of schools.
Why can’t you just give me a list of schools? Similarly, would you ask a doctor to give you a list of prescriptions to choose from? Or a mechanic a list of parts to buy? Why would you ask an educational consultant for a list of schools? Professionals are paid not just for their knowledge of individual parts, whether they are bat screening, medicines, auto parts or school options! How important is it to get the right school or program for your child? So, the answer is no. No, we can’t just give you a list of schools. But, we’d really love to work with you and your child to find the right school.