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Foundation seen to promote privatization

Ohanian Comment: The Good News part of this is that a newspaper would "out" Broad this way. Kudos.

What a hoot. The Broad Foundation replied. Consider the source. Enter "Broad Foundation" on this site and you will get 385 hits.

Erica Lepping · Senior Communications Director at The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
CORRECTION: This story contains numerous inaccuracies. Here are the facts (provided to the reporter but omitted from the story):

The Broad Residency for Urban Education, and The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, exist to help school systems strengthen public schools by creating environments that enable good teachers to do great work and students of all backgrounds to learn. These organizations in no way, shape or form support the privatization of public schools.

The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems connects school systems, upon their request, with talented professionals who are passionate about public education, have educational expertise and have experience ensuring organizations run successfully.

Over the last decade, these individuals have benefitted students, teachers and communities nationwide by achieving outcomes such as:

⢠Developed a high school after-school program in Chicago for the highest risk ninth graders, who achieved a 23 percent higher English pass-rate and 18 percent fewer absences than students not participating in the program. The result: 91 percent of participants went on to 10th grade, versus 86 percent district-wide.
⢠Achieved a 50 percent increase in the number of high school seniors in Long Beach completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), besting other similar U.S. Department of Education-funded pilot projects nationwide. The result: Long Beach students received 25 percent more college scholarships district-wide that year, a record $40 million total.
⢠Created a data-driven approach in Fresno to identify the root causes of student behaviors leading to suspensions and expulsions, which allowed school staff to preemptively intervene when necessary. The result: suspension incidents were reduced 10 percent that year.
⢠Reduced the deficit in Boston by $3.2 million by tightening food ordering processes, putting checks and controls in place to limit equipment purchases and repairs and persuading area nonprofits to provide support at no cost.
⢠Designed a principal vacancy forecasting model in Chicago which predicted vacancies with 97 percent accuracy. The result: by proactively recruiting more than 300 high-quality individuals to fill predicted vacancies, the district was able to fill slots with quality leaders without gaps in leadership.
⢠Saved millions in Miami-Dade by benchmarking transportation, food service and school administration operations against other large districts and adopting more efficient delivery systems.
⢠Lowered amount of time principals spent on administrative tasks in New York City from 43 percent to 30 percent by reducing unnecessary central office reporting requirements. The result: principals had far more time to spend in the classroom, helping students and teachers succeed.
⢠Saved Denver more than $2 million through contract negotiations, decreased interest rates on borrowed capital, and increased vendor competition.
⢠Improved teacher quality and diversity in Boston by securing 100 percent more ready-to-hire teachers in critical areas (math, reading, science); 58 percent more licensed black teacher applicants; and 30 percent more licensed Hispanic teacher applicants.
⢠Secured $32 million in grants in Long Beach and achieved a 65 percent increase in the number of students in AP courses.

We encourage everyone interested in strengthening our public schools to stay focused on what matters: how to create the conditions that help students and teachers succeed.

by Kevin C. Shelly

Broad Residency fellows such as Bing Howell and Rochelle Sinclair are chosen, trained, paid and placed by the Broad Foundationâs decade-old educational transformation initiative.

Broad has placed them with the New Jersey Department of Education, which has three high-level leaders, including acting Commissioner Christopher Cerf, with ties to Broad.

Howell and Sinclair are young middle-level employees with MBAs, but relatively little experience in education. Despite that, they serve important roles central to the future of the Camden school district.

Howell serves as a liaison to Camden for the creation of four Urban Hope Act charter schools. Howell reports directly to the deputy commissioner of education.

Sinclair is assigned to the office of school improvement, which will oversee the creation of a regional achievement center, or RAC, in Camden. The RAC is meant to turnaround 23 of the districtâs failing schools.

Sinclair reports to Penny MacCormack, the chief academic officer and assistant commissioner of academics for the Department of Education. Like Cerf, MacCormack is a graduate of a Broad Foundation training program for superintendents.

The Los Angeles-based Broad Foundation was created in 2001 by Eli and Edythe Broad (pronounced like road) with the fortune Eli Broad made by creating, running and selling two Fortune 500 companies, Kaufman and Broad Home Corporation and SunAmerica.

In addition to educational reform initiatives, the foundation funds medical research and art programs with its $2.5 billion endowment.

Eli Broad, who began his working life as an accountant, demands measurable results in return for his giving. He is known for "aggressive philanthropy" that has "earned him a reputation as both a genius and a despot," according to a February 2010 New York Times story.

The story, which was about Broad's support of the arts, explained: "A billionaire philanthropist whose beneficence comes with not just strings but with ropes that could moor an ocean liner, he is known to pull his support, resign from a board or, in some cases, decline to fulfill his financial promises when a project comes together in a way he does not like."

Criticism of the Broad Foundation isn't limited to the art world.

One of Broad's most substantial critics is Diane Ravitch, who was assistant secretary of education in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. She has questioned the "education venture philanthropy" practiced by the foundation.

Last week in an email she said that "Broad graduates are known for their predilection for closing down public education and handing it over to private agencies."

Ravitch, now an education historian at New York University, was quoted in the Education Week story.

"What I see happening is that they colonize districts. Once there's a Broad superintendent, he surrounds himself with Broad fellows, and they have a preference towards privatization. It happens so often, it makes me wonder what they're teaching them."

The colonization Ravitch spoke about, the placement of Broad superintendents and resident fellows where there are already Broad alumnus, is known as pipelining, which appears to be happening at the DOE.

Broad's expanding numbers and placements across the country explain critic's concerns.

Hundreds of Broad residents have been placed in districts and charter school organizations since 2001.

Residency candidates must have four years of work in a business environment. An advanced degree is required. The majority are MBAs. Most are in their late 20s or early 30s.

The foundation's website explains the goal of the residency program:

"Working from inside the system, Residents are well-positioned to identify, catalyze and lead the transformation required to ensure that every American child receives a world-class education."

In addition to the residency program, the foundation also trains and helps place graduates of its Superintendents Academy, a program with ongoing job placement support.

Cerf, New Jersey's acting commissioner of education, attended the academy in 2004. MacCormack, his chief academic officer and assistant commissioner of academics, is a 2011 graduate of the Superintendents Academy. Peter Shulman, Cerf's chief talent officer and the assistant commissioner of teacher and leader effectiveness, is a 2007 academy graduate.

Across the country, some Broad superintendents clearly have succeeded, while others have been fired, resigned, suspended, been the subject of lawsuits or had their credentials and financial dealings questioned.

The goal of the superintendents program, according to the foundationâs website, is to train "leaders from various backgrounds to become successful superintendents in urban districts -- superintendents who will transform our public schools into exceptional institutions that improve the lives of children for generations to come."

In addition to the hiring of Broad-trained personnel, the DOE is using a $60,000 grant from the foundation to pay for a consulting contract with a man who has taught at Broad.

The three-month contract is with William Cox's DSA Capital. Cox has taught at Broad's academy for superintendents. DSA's review is expected to suggest restructuring plans for the DOE.

DOE spokesman Alan Guenther said at a recent Assemby Budget Committee hearing that it is common practice for the Broad Foundation to support its graduates, such as Cerf.

But the committee's chairman, Louis D. Greenwald, D-Camden, questioned awarding the contract to Coxâs firm without a public bidding process; no bidding was done because Broad picked up the tab for the DSA contract. Greenwald did not respond to a request for comment last week.

The makeup of the foundation's education board and their connections adds grist to criticsâ comments.

⢠The chairman is Joel Klein. He was chancellor of the New York City Board of Education under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He is now an executive vice president of News Corporation, Rupert Murdochâs media company.

⢠The vice chair is Barry Munitz, a trustee professor at California State University, Los Angeles. He is the former leader of the Getty Trust, the largest philanthropic organization. He was recently appointed to the board of KB Home, successor to one of the businesses than made Eli Broad a billionaire.

⢠Dan Katzir is secretary/treasurer. He once ran the Broad Foundation and still serves as an advisor to Broad. An MBA, he is a former regional director for Sylvan Learning Systems, which provides educational coaching.

⢠Richard Barth is the Chief Executive Officer of KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Foundation. KIPP is the largest operator of charter schools in America.

⢠Wendy Kopp, who is married to Barth, is CEO and founder of Teach for America, which recruits students for teaching positions in urban and rural districts. The couple met when he worked for Kopp at Teach For America.

⢠Jean-Claude Brizard is a 2007 graduate of the Broad superintendent program. He was a controversial leader of the Rochester, N.Y., school district, where teachers subjected him to a vote of no confidence. He is now in charge of Chicago schools.

⢠Harold Ford Jr. is a former congressman from Tennessee who lost a bid to become a senator in New York. He is now a managing director of Morgan Stanley.

⢠Louis Gerstner Jr. is the former chairman of IBM, credited with turning that company around.

⢠Michelle Rhee is the founder and CEO of StudentsFirst, which advocates transforming education. She is the former chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools, where she clashed with unions and was criticized for not working with parents.

⢠Margaret Spelling is president and CEO of Margaret Spellings and Company, an educational consulting firm. She was one of the proponents of the No Child Left Behind Act.

⢠Kenneth Zeff is the chief operating officer of Green Dot Public Schools, a charter organization in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the Broad Residency program.

⢠Mortimer Zuckerman is chairman and editor-in-chief, U.S. News & World Report and the publisher of the New York Daily News.

Reach Kevin C. Shelly at atkshelly@gannett.comor

— Kevin C. Shelly
Courier Post





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