PSAT for 4-19-11: Share this critical expose on Broad Academy invasion

A very Broady nation

Now that Rahm Emanuel has presented us with our very own Broadie (pronounced like “toady”) in Jean-Claude Brizard, it’s essential that you understand what the Broad Foundation is trying to do to US public education, and share that information with your networks.

Our great new parent resource, Parents Across America, has posted this “Parents Guide to the Broad Foundation’s Programs and Education Policies.”

Here are some excerpts:

  • The Broad Superintendents’ Academy runs a training program held during six weekends over ten months, after which graduates are placed in large districts as superintendents. Those accepted into the program (“Broad Fellows”) are not required to have a background in-education; many come instead from careers in the military, business, or government. Tuition and travel expenses for participants are paid for by the Broad Center, which also sometimes covers a share of the graduates’ salaries when they are appointed into district leadership positions. The foundation’s website boasts that 43 percent of all large urban superintendent openings were filled by Broad Academy graduates in 2009.
  • The Broad Foundation also supports a broad range of pro-charter school advocacy groups, as well as alternative training programs for non-educators who want to work as teachers and principals (Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools).
  • The foundation provided start-up funding for Parent Revolution (formerly the Los Angeles Parent Union), the group which developed the “Parent Trigger” legislation, designed to encourage the conversion of public schools to charter schools. Broad has also has given large amounts of money to Education Reform Now, a pro-charter school advocacy organization.
  • Eli Broad has made personal campaign contributions to candidates who are favorably disposed to his preferred policies, even down to the local school board level. In this way, he has helped influence the selection of superintendents who are aligned with him ideologically.
  • Broad and his foundation believe that public schools should be run like a business. One of the tenets of his philosophy is to produce system change by “investing in a disruptive force.” Continual reorganizations, firings of staff, and experimentation to create chaos or “churn” is believed to be productive and beneficial, as it weakens the ability of communities to resist change.
  • A hallmark of the Broad-style leadership is closing existing schools rather than attempting to improve them, increasing class size, opening charter schools, imposing high-stakes test-based accountability systems on teachers and students, and implementing of pay for performance schemes. The brusque and often punitive management style of Broad-trained leaders has frequently alienated parents and teachers and sparked protests.

That last point just about sums up what we have heard about Rahm’s pick for CPS CEO.

For Public Schools Action Tuesday (PSAT) today, please read and share the full report here and download the pdf fact sheet to print and share. Also, check out the Tribune’s Eric Zorn’s annotated webiography of Brizard here.

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.