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A Letter to Phi Delta Kappan

This letter was written in protest of the lack of transparency of the author's connection to the subject of four articles in the April issue of Phi Delta Kappan--the Broad Prize in Urban Education. We made no attempt to address the troubling content of the articles, only asked that PDK be clear about who the author is and why he might be interested in writing a love letter to the Broad Foundation.

Joan Richardson, Editor-in-Chief
David Ruetschlin, Managing Editor
Phi Delta Kappan
480 N. Union St.
Bloomington, IN 47405-3800

April 16, 2004

Dear Joan and David,

As subscribers to Phi Delta Kappan, we the undersigned find it disturbing that the close ties between Ledyard McFadden, the author of four articles in the April issue, and the Broad Prize for Urban Education which he loads with overweening praises, are not revealed.
SchoolWorks, of which McFadden is founder and president, is identified in PDK as "an education consulting company." The Broad Foundation tells us more: "SchoolWorks has partnered with The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation on The Broad Prize for Urban Education to conduct the site visits of the five finalist urban school districts and provide analysis of the best education practices of these districts."
--Broad Foundation Expert

Directory Listing
Broad describes McFadden as "available for media interviews and speaking engagements about The Broad Prize." According to its tax return of 2007, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation paid SchoolWorks $203,480 for "school district analysis."

Surely, PDK readers should be informed that McFadden’s company was paid by Broad to choose the district policies for which he expresses such enthusiasm. There isn't a hint of this relationship in the article. In his second paragraph McFadden writes, "Yet those school districts have all been recognized by the Broad Prize for Urban Education. . . ." According to material on the SchoolWorks website, working for the Broad Foundation with the goal of choosing a winner of the Broad Prize, SchoolWorks:

  • developed a unique protocol

  • applied a research-based framework

  • collected evidence

  • made observations

  • distilled and synthesized information.

    The fact that many respected educators and scholars dispute the research framework, the evidence, the curriculum, and the "nonnegotiable expectations" puffed in the articles is a separate matter. Here, we just ask that Phi Delta Kappan make sure its readers are aware of any work-for-hire relationships between writers and their subjects.


    Jean Anyon, CUNY Graduate Center
    Marc Barlow, California teacher/school psychologist
    Marion Brady, Florida retired educator
    William Cala, New York former superintendent, President Joining Hearts & Hands
    Brett Dillingham, Alaska educator
    Richard Gibboney, University of Pennsylvania
    Sid Glassner, Vermont Society for the Study of Education
    Steven Gross, Temple University
    Susan Harman, Ed.D., CalCARE
    Tom Keating, Georgia educator
    Sue King, Pennsylvania concerned citizen
    Cindy Lutenbacher, Morehouse College, parent
    David Marshak, emeritus, Seattle University
    Deborah Meier, New York University
    Mindy Nathan, Michigan administrator
    Susan Ohanian, Vermont retired teacher
    Elaine M. Schmidt, Texas principal
    George Schmidt, Chicago Editor/publisher Substance
    Elaine K. B. Siegel, Esq.
    Gail Tutino, Texas teacher
    Mickey VanDerwerker, Virginia former special ed teacher, parent
    James Venable, California teacher

    — multiple authors
    Phi Delta Kappan




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