This is Julian Vasquez Heilig’s continuing series called the Teat, in which he follows the money behind corporate reform. This one focuses on the so-called parent trigger. Previous installments have looked at TFA and KIPP.
I posted Gary Cohn’s excellent analysis of the funding behind Parent Revolution, the group created by charter advocates to trick parents into turning their public school over to charter corporations.
The name of the organization is the first hoax: Apparently the Walton family, the Broad family, and the Gates family want to start a “revolution.”
What kind of revolution would billionaires foment?
When I went to Austin for the Save Texas Schools rally, I also participated in a panel discussion about school reform at the LBJ School of Public Policy at the University of Texas. There I met Carla Ranger, a member of the Dallas school board.
As I listened to her speak, I was overwhelmed with admiration for this independent, smart, wise, courageous, and principled supporter of public education and children. At some point in the discussion, I said out loud, “Carla Ranger, I just met you and I love you..”
Dallas has a Broad-trained superintendent, who put a young TFA alum in charge of human resources. The superintendent is ex-military and is big on setting goals and giving orders. Carla has her hands full.
Today I add her to our honor roll. Please visit her website.
Just in case you have been wondering what is the best way to shut down your local public schools, the Broad Foundation has thoughtfully provided a guide to help you.
It has assembled all sorts of useful information about how to deal with community opposition, how to engage stakeholders, how to make your case, how to get the right leadership, and how to pack up and move out.
Some well-known school districts–perhaps yours?–contributed to the writing of the guide.
Presumably some of the many superintendents who were trained in the unaccredited Broad Superintendents Academy have this guide in their desk.
Read it and be forewarned. Your own public school may be next.
For the past several years, three billionaires have foisted untested, unreliable, metrics-driven, in humane teacher evaluation policies onto our nation’s teachers.
In this misguided effort to find a yardstick to reduce teacher quality to a number, no one has been more energetic than Bill Gates.
As the anti-high-stakes testing movement grows, and as the wreckage piles up (see Atlanta, El Paso, and DC, for example), the metrics movement looks more ineffectual and more harmful.
Anthony Cody says it is time to hold the authors of this debacle accountable.
He has designed a rubric to hold Bill Gates accountable.
Can you think of things to add to his rubric?
A suggestion for Anthony Cody: how about designing an accountability scorecard for Eli Broad and the Waltons?
What happens in Louisiana is definitely different from what happens anywhere else.
It is not Louisiana culture, which is definitely unique. It seems to be something about John White, who is not a native. With the support of Governor Jindal and the state board of education controlled by Jindal, John White answers to no one.
When there are no checks or balances, as we have learned again and again, strange things happen.
Read here about the deputy who came and went in five months. I hope we learn more about the back story.
This article shows how the Broad Foundation has shifted gears. It used to train school boards to its way of thinking (it trained the Atlanta school board, for example, to believe that metrics and data matter more than anything les).
Now it send school boards on tours to selected sites.
The Syracuse superintendent, a product of the unaccredited Broad Superintendents Academy, leads her school board to meetings around the nation to learn about the Broad style. In this case, they are in New Orleans, the Mecca of privatization. You can be sure that no one will tell them that at least two-thirds of the New Orleans charters are academically unacceptable, even in the reports of their supporters at the Cowen Institute at Tulane.
This commentary, written two years ago, connects the dots.
The Atlanta school board was trained by the Broad Foundation.
Key officials were trained by Broad. Beverly Hall was not a graduate of Broad’s unaccredited training academy but she was sufficiently in step to speak at Broad training conferences, get Broad funding, and Broad-trained helpers. And she absorbed the Broad message that tests scores=performance, and nothing else matters.
The Broad philosophy, as best it can be deciphered from afar, is management by targets. Goal-setting. It is a business plan, not an educational vision for children. As Eli Broad once said, “I know nothing about curriculum and teaching, but I know management.”
With Broadies running many urban districts and placed strategically in key leadership positions, the Broad approach shows its flaws. It has nothing to do with understanding the needs of children, families, and communities. It has nothing to do with learning and knowledge. It is all about reaching the targets. Reach the targets and you get a bonus. Fail to reach your target and be fired or see your school closed.
Now schools across the nation are closing because they did not meet their targets. That too is part of Broad’s philosophy. If they don’t succeed, close them.
Who will hold Eli Broad accountable for the destruction of urban public education in the United States?
Michigan created an “Educational Achievement Authority” in which it clustered the state’s lowest performing schools. Of course, it is corporate reform-speak to identify the schools with the lowest test scores and say they are part of an “achievement” district. But, hey, it is only words.
Seems the EAA needed an infusion of cash, so the Broad Foundation plunked down $10 million to keep it going. This makes sense because all of the schools in the EAA are controlled by John Covington, who “graduated” from Broad’s unaccredited superintendent’s academy in 2008. Covington previously was superintendent of the Kansas City schools, where he closed half the city’s schools before resigning abruptly for a bigger salary and unchecked power in Michigan.
There are certainly advantages to being part of Eli Broad’s network.
We will see what it does for the kids. They are waiting to hear something more than grandiose promises and test prep.
There will be a demonstration at the U.S. Department of Education from April 4-7.
One of the speakers will be Mark Naison, who teaches African-American studies at Fordham University.
Here he explains why he will be there:
I am coming to Washington because our public education system is being systematically dismantled by people whose power derives solely from the unprecedented concentration of wealth in a small number of hands. Without the Gates, the Broads, the Waltons, the Bloombergs and the hedge fund executives, the three bulwarks of current Education Reform policy- privatization, universal testing and school closings- would have never gained traction because they are unsupported by research and are abhorred by most educators.. What we are facing is not onlythe degradation of the teaching profession and the transformation of the nation’s classrooms into zones of child abuse, but an attack on what little democracy we have left in this country. Therefore, I am not only coming to Washington defend the integrity of the profession I have dedicated my life to, but to join a movement which is one of the most important fronts of resistance to Plutocratic Rule
I also come to Washington, as a scholar of African American History, and a long time community activist, to strip the false facade of “Civil Rights” legitimacy from policies which promote increased segregation, push teachers of color out of the profession, open our schools to profiteering by test companies,and promote narrow workforce preparation as a substitute for the creation of active citizens who can change the world. So I will not only be calling out the billionaires and those who are directly on their payroll, but those who call themselves “progressive- who give aid and comfort to those policies, either because of the hope of political gain or a deficit of courage.. ,
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry tore into New York City Mayor Bloomberg for his latest tactic: blaming teen pregnancy for causing poverty.
Harris-Perry knows that poverty is caused by the economic structure of society, by a society that allows one man–like Michael Bloomberg or Bill Gates or Eli Broad–to accumulate many billions of dollars while millions are trapped in miserable living conditions with low wages or no jobs.
Harris-Perry knows that the 1% blame the poor for their poverty.
They also blame teachers and public schools for causing poverty.
Thanks, Melissa, for nailing it.