Sunday, January 13, 2008

Broad Foundation and Merit Pay

From Marjorie Stamberg to ICE-mail:

Teachers have asked for information on the Eli Broad Foundation and its connection to NYC schools.

Here are some information points, with references.

The "School Wide Bonus Pay" is being funded by private funds. The major contributor is the Eli Broad Foundation. He is a California billionaire real estate mogul whose agenda, along with others on the "Business Roundtable" is the charterization, privatization of public schools, and for teacher pay linked to student tests scores.

A press release from Mayor Bloomberg (17 October 2007) announcing the school wide bonus plan says the first year there will be about $20 million in bonuses. "These money are being raised privately, and so far, commitments have been made by The Eli and Edythe Broad foundation, the Robertson Foundation and the Partnership for New York City."

Why is private money being used the first year, to be followed with "public funds" later? According to the influential financial weekly, 'The Economist", (November 10, 2007):

"Mr. Klein says that this private source of funds was crucial in paying for experiments that might have involved huge political battles if they had been paid for out of public funds. The hope is that in the future, such reforms might be widely supported."

Mr Bloomberg "has avoided inflammatory political terms --'merit pay' and 'vouchers' are red rags to teachers' unions." Instead, "by using the carrot of pay rises to extract performance concessions from principals and teachers, and by persuading philanthropists such as Bill Gates to pay for innovations that might be hard to sell to the public" he is putting his agenda in place.

--Eli Broad is a California billionaire and real estate and life insurance mogul. With assets valued at $5.8 billion, Broad is the 42nd richest person on the planet, according to "Forbes" magazine. Broad believes "the best way to fix troubled urban school districts is to employ the classic American business model in which a powerful chief executive runs roughshod over a weak governing board." (East Bay Express [California], 10 October 2007. The East Bay Express goes to on say:

"Many Broad Foundation watchers around the country say the real purpose of this group is to diminish the power of school boards for an incremental and eventual takeover of public education by the corporate sector. There are concerns that Broad is carrying out the goals and education agenda of the Business Roundtable, made up of the CEO's of the nation's biggest companies, one of which Eli Broad headed. [Bloomberg is a member of ths Business Roundtable, which has called to privatize all NYC schools and to cut off public education at the 10th grade (!)]

An article in a Oregon community paper ("Willamette Week" 3 May 2006) was titled "L.A. Foundation's Role in Portland Schools Alarms Teachers, Some Parents." The articles states:

"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...."

Eli Broad says "urban public schools are failing and must adopt methods from business to succeed, such as competition, accountability based on 'measurables' and unhampered management authority--all focusing on the bottom line of student achievement, as measured by standardized tests."

"Broad wants to create competition by starting publicly funded, privately run charter schools, to enforce accountability by linking teacher pay to student test scores, and to limit teachers' say in curriculum and transfer decisions."

"In Portland, the foundation has flown all seven school board members since 2003 to Park City, Utah for weeklong all-expense-paid training."

[Note; at our UFT/NYCDOE informational meetings on "school wide bonus pay," the representative from Tweed tried to downplay the contribution of Eli Broad to the fund for performance pay. However, an NYCODE statement (12/18/07 states that "The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Robertson Foundation have each committed "$5 million to the City's school-wide bonus program. This is the largest amount that the Broad Foundation has contributed to teacher performance pay initiative."]

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