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.