Archives for category: Los Angeles

As reported before, billionaire Eli Broad plans to bundle $490 million to open 260 new charter schools for half the public school students in Los Angeles.

But according to the usually pro-charter LA School Report, Broad’s current charter schools have a mixed record.

“The Broad plan points to three of LA Unified’s largest charter operators that have received Broad largess — Green Dot Public Schools, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools and KIPP Public Charter Schools — and says, “These organizations have turned our investments into significant academic gains for students.”
In some cases, the gains are clear, but in others they are not. One category shows a regression in test scores, and others that demonstrate only marginal gains….

“Over five years, proficiency rates for Green Dot students in English language arts actually decreased by 3 percent, while math rates at Alliance middle schools improved a total of 1 percent and English rates at the Alliance middle schools improved a total of 5 percent over five years.
Other areas are impressive — a 20 percent gain in English proficiency for KIPP schools over four years and a 13 percent increase in math for Green Dot schools, but the report does not discuss or examine the negative and minimal gains.

“The recent Smarter Balanced statewide tests, which this year replaced the STAR exams after two years without any statewide tests, also show impressive results for the three organizations, but they also raised questions. (The Broad report did not include any analysis of the Smarter Balanced tests.)

“Key in any analysis is the number of English learners and low-income students — two groups that have proven to be among the most challenging to educate — and these numbers never match up quite evenly between charters and traditional schools.

“An analysis by LA School Report shows Alliance schools had 45.4 percent of its students meeting or exceeding the English standards on the Smarter Balanced tests, compared with 33 percent at LA Unified’s schools.
However, Alliance has far fewer English learners. According to its website data, 18.83 percent of its students are English learners, compared with 26 percent for LA Unified. And Alliance students actually scored worse in math, with 23.5 percent meeting or exceeding standards compared with 25 percent for the district. In fairness to Alliance, its schools have 93 percent of its students qualifying for free or reduced price lunch, compared with 77 percent for the district.”

Karen Wolfe is a public school parent in Los Angeles. a friend of hers received what sounds like a “push poll.” A push poll is a telephone call that begins by asking innocent questions but then turns into advocacy for an issue or a candidate. You assume it is a poll, but it is actually an effort to shape your opinion.

Wolfe writes:

“Are pollsters calling Los Angeles residents to shape opinion about Eli Broad’s Privatization Plan?

“It sounds that way. One teacher, I’ll call her Ms. R, asked yesterday in a facebook group, “Did anyone else in the LA County area get that ‘research gathering’ call about charter schools?”

“Ms. R gave me permission to share the details of the call.

“She was asked which of 12 issues was most pressing to her.

Ms. R answered ‘infrastructure’ because, she said “I live downtown and the roads need a lot of work. Then BOOM, a question about my opinion of Eli Broad.”

Then about the union.

She then listened to several misleading statements like, “Charter schools with donors like Eli Broad will be able to raise money for charter schools so students have more access to arts programs which are being cut from public schools,” and was asked, “After listening to these opinions about charter schools, are you more likely or less likely to support the increase of charter schools in LA County?”

“I actually told the lady these questions offended me. But it was designed to get me to say I would be more likely to support the charter school increase. ‘I think they are info gathering in order to justify the push.’”

“At least 5 statements, I was so pissed I said something about it out loud to the woman. There was one point where she typed why I was against charters word for word. She read it back to me and kept messing up where I had to correct her a few times to make it make sense.”

Ms R finished,“AND I was told the session may be recorded for quality purposes.”

Whose quality?”

Cynthia Liu, blogging for the Progressive, reviews the Eli Broad plan to put half the students in Los Angeles into privately managed charter schools.

She describes Eli Broad as a master of “philanthrocapitalism,” gifts that benefit the giver.

Eli Broad is the city’s chief benefactor for numerous charities; his wealth comes from decades of real estate developments in the Midwest, Southern California, and from the insurance industry. He has particular interests in expanding charter schools in Los Angeles and nationwide. He appears to invest a lot in the city of Los Angeles but when you look more closely, his giving defunds the public sector and Broad ends up with the better part of the deal. For example: originally, Broad wanted to lease the expensive downtown Los Angeles parcel the Museum sits on for $1 a year over 99 years. Said one county supervisor, “Instead of a project that generates sales and property taxes, we’ll now have an art museum that generates no property or sales taxes and Mr. Broad will get the land for free.” It’s now leased for $7.7 million a year for 99 years, and the 501c3 Broad Foundation housed inside the museum still doesn’t put much by way of revenue back into the city ….

She points out that Eli Broad selected John Deasy as superintendent, then paid the salaries of his top aides. Why were they not on the public payroll? Whose interests were they serving?

Not only public education is at risk, but so is our democracy. Do billionaires really have the right to privatize half of an entire large urban school district? When do the people get to vote? Who will hold accountable the hundreds of charters that get public money without public oversight? It is time for the public to rally against this corporate assault on public education.

– See more at:

Billionaire Eli Broad has proposed a plan to privatize the schooling of 50% of the students in Los Angeles. He plans to pool $490 million from fellow billionaires to achieve his goal. If he succeeds, the remaining 50% of the children in LAUSD will have fewer resources, fewer teachers, larger classes. This is a short-sighted approach, to say the least. Surely, Eli doesn’t want his legacy to be: HE DESTROYED PUBLIC EDUCATION IN AMERICA.

Here is a genuine crisis that he could easily address. LAUSD cannot afford arts education in every school. It currently spends $25 million a year on arts education. It needs $75 million a year to supply the teachers of the arts to every school. Eli Broad just opened a fine new arts museum, which cost him $200 million. The children in LAUSD will not be able to visit the Broad Museum because there is no money for field trips.

Some schools have arts resources but no arts teachers. Some have neither arts resources nor arts teachers.

Instead of funding a parallel privatized system to compete with the public schools, further impoverishing public schools, Eli Broad could build a model public education system, where every child has a full education in the arts.

Mr. Broad, what do you say? If you care about children, if you care about the arts, will you supply the $50 million needed to enable every child to act, paint, sing and participate in all the arts?

Eli Broad intends to raise $490 million to build 260 new charter schools for half the students in Los Angeles. Being a billionaire and moving in a world of billionaires, this will not be difficult for him. It’s true that he knows nothing about education; he has said so himself. But that should be no impediment since many charters are founded and run by people with no education experience.

The Los Angeles Times has an article about the test scores of charters, public magnet schools, and regular public schools in that city. The assumption, I suppose, is that whoever has the highest scorese is best.

But the test scores are beside the point. The really important question is why a billionaire should be allowed to buy half of a public institution. If Eli Broad didn’t like policing in Los Angeles, could he buy half the police force? If he thought the public parks were not well run, could he buy half of them?

Why should he be allowed to buy half the children in LAUSD?

It is widely believed that Eli Broad picked John Deasy as L.A.’s last superintendent. Deasy was a disaster, having cost the district at least $200 million for his failed plan to buy iPads at an inflated price for everyone in the district. The FBI is investigating the iPad mess. Deasy now works for Broad.

Many of the superintendents trained in Broad’s unaccredited superintendents academy have been fired because of their autocratic, top-down style. I happen to be in Dallas, which pushed out its Broadie, Mike Miles, after three tumultuous years, marked by a large exodus if teachers and principals and flat scores. I met with several superintendents, who said Miles had created constant disruption, my-way-or-out, and a “culture of fear.”

Eli Broad should not be allowed to take over half the children in Los Angekes.

Letting this deal go through would be the beginning of the end for public education, not only in Los Angeles but in many other cities as well.

Eli Broad’s power grab is an offense to our democracy. It is wrong. It is illegitimate. The elected board must not let it happen. They were elected to safeguard and improve the city’s public schools, not to privatize them.

Parent activist Karen Wolfe reported that public magnet schools far outperformed privtately managed charter on the recent state tests.

The report released by Cortines said:

““While overall results indicate that independent charter schools scored higher on these tests than traditional LAUSD schools, it also highlights the stellar performance of our magnet schools, which out-performed charter schools at all grade levels,” Cortines wrote.

“In English Language Arts, 65% of magnets scored higher than the state average compared with 34% of independent charters. On the Math assessment, 56% of magnets scored higher than the state average, more than twice what the charters scored.

“This report proves what many public education advocates have always known: the diversity of our public schools is an asset, not something to avoid.

“Charter school parents often choose charters because class sizes are smaller and the school community is similar to their own. But this report turns that choice on its head.

“The performance of our magnets demonstrates how academic innovation can serve minority students and those from underserved communities who are seeking a nontraditional education. While the primary function of our magnets is to ensure ethnic diversity at schools districtwide, the 198 magnet programs and schools also provide a community of learning for students at all economic levels.” Cortines said.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that the school board of Los Angeles is split over Eli Broad’s ambitious and undemocratic plan to create privately managed charters for half the students in the city’s schools at a cost of $490 million.

Newly elected board member Scott Schmerelson expressed his revulsion for the Broad plan:

“The concept amazes and angers me,” said board member Scott Schmerelson. “Far from being in the best interest of children, it is an insult to teaching and administrative professionals, an attack on democratic, transparent and inclusive public school governance and negates accountability to taxpayers.”

Other board members were equally disturbed by Broad’s proposed takeover:

Board President Steve Zimmer also had a strongly negative response, saying that the financial impact would be devastating for the students who remain in traditional schools.

“Everyone understands 250,000 kids will not be part of this,” said Zimmer, who has criticized the rapid growth of charters. “There is collateral damage: We won’t be able to lower class size or provide comprehensive support our kids need.”

The private money, he said, “could ensure every child living in poverty in L.A. County … could have access to high-quality early education.”

Board member George McKenna, along with Monica Ratliff, said he wanted foundation money “directed toward the public schools that are already established and need all the private support that we can get.”

Ratliff also said that the charter plan underscores the need to hire a new superintendent who will promote L.A. Unified’s own successes. The district has launched a search to replace schools Supt. Ramon Cortines who has said he wants to leave by year’s end.

“It’s important that a superintendent publicizes that LAUSD schools are extremely competitive” with the best charter schools, Ratliff said.

It is almost unimaginable that people elected to oversee the public schools would support a call to privatize them, but charter founder Ref Rodriguez and charter cheerleader Monica Garcia applauded the Broad plan for privatization. Do they think they were elected to destroy public education? Weren’t they elected to improve public schools? Were they honest with voters when they campaigned? Would they have been elected if they had been honest in saying they wanted to join the board to hand their children over to Eli Broad and strip resources from the ones Eli doesn’t want?

Is Los Angeles prepared to abandon public education? Do the people of the city really want their children to be a “proof point” for privatization of public education? Do half the children serve the will of an egotistical billionaire?

Eli Broad was educated in the public schools of Michigan. Why doesn’t he work to improve the public schools of Los Angeles so that children in his adopted city have the same opportunity he had? Please, Eli, take the eighth grade Common Core tests and publish your scores so we can compare them to the children in the public schools that you treat with such contempt.

Peter Greene is a master of close reading. In this post, he deconstructs Eli Broad’s audacious plan to take over half the students in Los Angeles and put them in charter schools.

Peter read the 44-page report, which reads like an investors’prospectus. It turns the stomach to see these very rich men destroying a democratic institution.

Here are a few wonderful excerpts:

“But the dream is not just to tap into the huge market of students trapped in failing blah blah blah waiting for their chance for high-quality seats (and, man, I would love to see one of these seats, sit in one of these seats, visit the High Quality Seat Factory and see how these seats are made) blah blah blah.”

And best of all:

“I am absolutely bowled over at the magnitude of this power grab. Imagine if Broad and his friends said, “We’re not happy with the LAPD, so we’re going to hire and train our own police force, answerable to nobody but us, to cover some parts of the city. Also, the taxpayers have to foot the bill.” Or if they decided to get their own army? Or their own mayor?

“Who does this? Who says, “We can’t get enough control over the elected officials in this branch of government, so we will just shove them out of the way and replace them with our own guys, who won’t bug us by answering to Those People.”

“This is not just about educational quality (or lack thereof), or just about how to turn education into a cash cow for a few high rollers– this is about a hamhanded effort to circumvent democracy in a major American city. There’s nothing in this plan about listening to the parents or community- only about what is going to be done to them by men with power and money. This just sucks a lot.”

It was said that Mussolini made the trains run on time. All the Italian people had to do was accept fascism. Are the people of Los Angeles prepared to hand their children over to autocrats and billionaires?

Howard Blume of the Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of Eli Broad’s plan to build charter schools for half the students in Los Angeles.

The plan projects that it will cost $490 million and take eight years to build 260 new charter schools. Here is the 44-page document.

This would, of course, decimate the remaining public schools by draining them of students and resources.

And the city would run a dual school-system, both supported by public funds. But only the charters would be free to reject students they don’t want, and they would have ample resources from their friends in philanthropy and hedge funds.

Who elected Eli Broad, a man who has said publicly that he knows nothing about education, to redesign the public schools that belong to the people, not to him?

Will anyone stand up to this billionaire who thinks he can buy anything and anyone?

A grou of “civic leaders” met with Los Angeles school board president Steve Zimmer to ask him to put them in charge of screening candidates for the new superintendent.

Some of these groups are funded by the Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation, the Billionaire Boys Club. They supported Former superintendent John Deasy, whose autocratic style antagonized teachers and whose legally dubious iPad plan is under FBI investigation.

Of I recall correctly, some of these individuals helped build the multi-million war chest to defeat Steve Zimmer for re-election.

Oh, dear. How shocking it would be if the LAUSD board picked a leader who didn’t buckle to the pro-privatization gang? What if it were an educator who was unafraid of Eli Broad? He has admitted he knows nothing about education, but he can’t stop trying to control it with his billions.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 158,779 other followers