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NCLB Outrages

Texas District Wins Prize for Schools

Ohanian Comment:
So what choice did Broad have when a vast majority of the nation’s largest urban districts, including three of the four runners-up for this year’s Broad prize, also failed to meet NCLB’s annual targets? They look at "other indicators". Hmmm. Some people have been advocating this all along.

It is worthwhile to take a look at just some of the ties that bind the education luminaries (wink wink) on this year's selection jury:

Henry Cisneros: Chairman and CEO, CityView America; former mayor of San Antonio; former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; former board member of the Rockefeller Foundation; also on the Broad Foundation Board of Governors and on Broad/Gates funded Strong American Schools Board of Trustees; Broad Inc., whose names have been, variously. Kaufman & Broad Building, Sun America, and KB Home, formed a joint venture -- American CityVista -- with Cisneros to develop homes in inner-city communities.

John Engler: President and Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Manufacturers; former governor of Michigan; co-founder of The Broad Center for the Management of School System; known as "market-based education policy" pioneer; on Broad/Gates funded Strong American Schools’ steering committee.

Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.: Chairman, The Carlyle Group; member of Board of Directors The Broad Center; Retired Chairman and CEO, International Business Machines Corporation; co-founder of Achieve, etc. etc. Gerstner held Gov. Clinton's hand to engineer America 2000, the forerunner of NCLB. AGHHHHH. For the low-down on Gerstner, read Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?; also on the Broad Foundation Board of Governors and the Broad/Gates funded Strong American Schools’ steering committee.

Susan Hockfield: President MIT and a noted neuroscientist; In June 2008, a Roundtable Discussion participant with Obama, along with Eli Broad, the CEO of General Motors, and others; Broad Foundation funded The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT with $400 million.

Former governor North Carolina; participant 2002 Broad Foundation Strategic Planning Retreat, where Broad solicited guidance on how best to scale-up current Foundation investments and develop new high-impact policy initiatives; former vice-chair of board of Achieve; former chair National Education Goals panel; on Broad/Gates funded Strong American Schools Board of Trustees.

Shirley Ann Jackson: President Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; former chair US Nuclear Regulatory Commission; she and Eli Broad are among the "nine citizens to serve on the Smithsonian Institutions Board of Regents.

Rod Paige: Chair, Chartwell Education Group, LLC; former U. S. Secretary of Education; received the Harold W, McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education; also on the Broad Foundation Board of Governors and on Broad/Gates funded Strong American Schools Board of Trustees.

Richard Riley: Partner Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP; former governor South Carolina; former U. S. Secretary of Education.

Andrew Stern: International President, Service Employees International Union. For the dope on Stern, read Substance. Among other things, Stern personally prevented a resolution from SEIU Local 509 for the direct election of the president from even coming to the convention floor. Also on the Broad Foundation Board of Governors. In 2005, the New York Times reported that philanthropist Eli Broad, who is talking with Stern about ideas to reform Los Angeles schools.

Lawrence Summers: Professor, Harvard University; member Board of Directors The Broad Center; former president Harvard University; political economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers; former Secretary of Treasury; also on the Broad Foundation Board of Governors.

The following were recused from or were unable to participate in this year's selection process:

Kenneth Chenault: Chairman and CEO American Express
Richard Parsons: Chairman and CEO Time Warner Inc.
Donna Shalala: President University of Miami; former U. S. Secretary of Health and Human Services
Mark Warner: Honorary Chair, Forward Together; former governor Virginia.

By Sam Dillon

The Brownsville Independent School District in Texas won what may be
the nation’s most important prize for excellence in urban education on
Tuesday, the same day that Texas authorities announced that the district
had failed to meet achievement targets for two years under the federal
No Child Left Behind law.

Erica Lepping, a spokeswoman for the foundation that administers the $1
million Broad Prize for Urban Education, said the 10-member prize jury,
which included two former secretaries of education, was aware that
Brownsville had missed its testing targets under the federal law last
year but had considered many other academic quality indicators in making
its choice.

A vast majority of the nation’s largest urban districts, including three
of the four runners-up for this year’s Broad prize, also failed to meet
the federal law’s annual targets, Ms. Lepping said.

The Brownsville district, with about 50 schools and 50,000 students, won
partly because its students outperformed those in other Texas districts
with similar student populations on reading and math tests. The district
is 98 percent Hispanic, and 95 percent of students are needy.

“I attribute this to the hard work of our staff,” said Hector Gonzales,
the Brownsville superintendent, who came to New York with the Board of
Education and several aides to receive the award. “Our teachers know all
students can learn and accept no excuses.”

“The spirit of No Child Left Behind is good, the intent is great, we
just need to look at how it labels schools and how we fund it,” Mr.
Gonzales said.

The $1 million award will finance college scholarships for many of
Brownsville’s 2,800 graduating seniors, he said.

Four finalist districts will each receive $250,000 awards: Aldine, north
of Houston; Broward County and Miami-Dade County in Florida; and Long
Beach, Calif.

— Sam Dillon
New York Times


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