Sunday, September 16, 2007

Broad Jumping

There are lots of warning signs in this post. Even if the governance law in NYC is changed to allow for more oversight, it is clear the takeover artists who have captured so many urban public school systems and put them under what is in essence private management (Broad, Gates, et al decide public ed policy) will never allow their poster boy in NYC to fall from their grasp. So watch the money pour in to assure a continuation of BloomKlein (with new surrogates) in perpetuity.

BloomKlein gang at Tweed are suffering rotator cuff fatigue from patting themselves on the back for their expected victory for the Broad [pronounced Brood] prize, which will be announced Tuesday, Sept. 18 at high noon in Washington DC. Some people are saying they do not deserve the prize. But if you follow Broad's anti-union, simplistic business model of education, it is clear that BloomKlein and Broad are perfect together. Want to have some fun? Watch the UFT dance around this one. Broad is a major benefactor of UFT partner Green Dot charters. And they also received $1 million from Broad for their own charter school. And, oh yes, Broad is a lifelong Democrat. Emphasis on the large D. I've posted a whole bunch of Broadisms on the Norm's Notes blog.

Here are some more resources sent by John Lawhead culled from Susan Ohanian.

Gary Stager's "Bill Gates and Eli Broad Go Gangsta" makes for some great reading.

You may have heard by now that bad boy billionaires, Bill Gates and Eli Broad, are kicking it together. They invested $60 million (lunch money) in the Strong American Schools Project, also known as ED in ’08. They hope that this charitable non-profit organization “will catapult the need for improved public education to the top of the 2008 presidential candidates’ agendas.”(Heszenhorn, 2007) One can hardly criticize an effort to get presidential candidates discussing critical education issues, but it is unclear if Gates and Broad should be steering the agenda.

It is disingenuous that Gates and Broad are investing $60 million just to inspire spirited debate.
“One complication, however, is that ED in 08, isn't just pushing candidates to have some real education agenda; it also wants them to support a specific trio of policies: more learning time for students, common academic standards across states, and tying teacher pay to things like subject specialty, performance, and working in high-poverty schools.” (Education_Sector, 2007)
Read the full article (with videos)

Also check out:

An 2004 article from San Diego on Eli Broad's impact on the San Diego schools. Guess who was instrumental in running them? Our old friend and former chancellor Anthony Alvarado (playing the role of Diana Lam to Superintendent Alan Bersin's Joel Klein). He had a Leadership Academy which was Klein's model and installed his then girlfriend (and now wife) Elaine Fink as the head (at a cool $250 grand a year). Those numbers ought to warm Eli Broad's cockles as a sign of the efficient management he loves so much.

The article shows how even when there is public school board oversight, the Broad forces will go to no end to gain contol over the schools by pumping lots of money into school baord elections while trying to hide that this is what they are doing.

Here is an excerpt:

A champion of public school "reform," Democrat Broad, a longtime Bersin ally, has a history of hiding his financial support of the superintendent's efforts to retool the school district.

Broad's involvement in San Diego school politics dates back to summer and fall 2000, when Padres owner John Moores (along with Moores's partner, downtown real estate mogul Malin Burnham) and Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs spent more than $720,000 on a campaign of television spots attacking Democratic board incumbent Frances Zimmerman and her opposition to Bersin's policies.

More than two years later, after the foundations filed 2000 tax returns, it became clear that Eli Broad had used his own nonprofit, tax-exempt foundation to funnel his contributions to the two eastern charities that had given the money to the anti-Zimmerman advertising campaign.

A May 2001 tax return showed that in 2000, the Broad Foundation contributed $110,000 to Essential Information, according to a letter signed by Broad himself. "I am pleased to inform you that the Broad Foundation has approved your recent grant request to support Essential Information's efforts to encourage citizens to become active in public education issues in their communities.

LA Weekly had a great article in July 2006 on how Broad operates, in this case vis a vis LA Mayor Villaraigosa's attempt to gain control of the LA school system in an attempt to mimic Bloomberg. But there's a very different dynamic in LA with a reform teachers union putting up a bit more resistance than the UFT in NYC. Plus the fact that the Mayor's old job was not a billionaire entremanure, but a union organizer.

Here are a few excerpts:

Broad, who made his fortune developing the outer sprawl of Southern California, has long fancied himself something of a policy maven on public schools, telling anyone else who would listen that the mayor needs control over the school district’s budget, its curriculum and — most importantly — its salary talks with the powerful teachers union.

With all that behind-the-scenes advocacy, it wasn’t a surprise that Broad sounded a bit betrayed in his June 30 letter to Villaraigosa in which he admonished the mayor for playing footsie with the unions and reaching a compromise that allows the elected school board to keep a few duties, including contract negotiations. Read more at:

Broad is all over the place – at least where he can steal an urban school system. Here's one more from Willamette Week in Portland, Or. Why doesn't he take a shot at Scarsdale? Oh, right, those schools work -and they spend 20 grand per schild with low class sizes - not in Broad's lexicon.

While Portland Public Schools loudly debates closing some schools and reconfiguring others, teachers and parents are worried about a much quieter but significant long-term development for local education.

They're troubled by how entrenched billionaire Eli Broad's Los Angeles foundation, which is devoted to making schools more businesslike, has become in Portland schools.

They're raising red flags about the private Broad Foundation's payment for all seven Portland School Board members to take weeklong training sessions in Utah and its help with funding two key district positions.

But it's not just the teachers union that's alarmed by the foundation's influence.

Parents like Anne Trudeau of the Neighborhood Schools Alliance, a grassroots parents group, see a right-wing tilt to Broad's ideas that she considers a poor fit for progressive Portland.

"I don't think our school board are puppets of Broad," Trudeau says, "but I think the influence is insidious."

[Broad] Foundation spokeswoman Karen Denne rejects any charge that the foundation is right wing, noting that Broad is a "lifelong Democrat."

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