Posts Tagged ‘Broad Foundation’

Can we have him?

Friday, April 20th, 2012

If we had an elected school board in Chicago, I’m pretty sure they would choose someone like this guy,

Montgomery schools superintendent Joshua Starr congratulated the school board Tuesday on standing firm against some of the turbulent reform efforts being embraced around the country.

He called their political posture, including the past decision not to support the state’s application for a federal Race to the Top Grant, “one of the reasons I was so thrilled to come here.”

The report on Mr. Starr’s comments came in Wednesday’s Washington Post Answer Sheet blog:

Starr critiqued the growth models and rubrics being developed as contradicting research on what motivates teachers. He said Montgomery’s current system, which mentors struggling teachers for a year before decisions about termination are made, is a “hill to die on.”

Until we have that elected school board and can get rid of Broadie toady J.C. Brizard, I will consider Mr. Starr (oh! he’s probably even Dr. Starr! what a concept!) as MY superintendent.

“As No Child Left Behind is dying its slow death, it’s an incredible opportunity to fill that void with what we believe we should do for kids,” he said.


PAA in the news – major charter and Broad Foundation questions

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Two major stories today feature the work of Parents Across America and, in particular, one of our brilliant Oakland  members, Sharon Higgins. Sharon writes and researches three blogs, The Perimeter Primate, Charter School Scandals, and The Broad Report. Sharon provides cutting edge information and exposes scandals in the corporate education reform movement including charter schools and the Broad Foundation (from whose leadership academy our new CEO, JC Brizard, is a graduate).

Sharon’s work is featured in an article posted in today’s Education Week about the proliferation of graduates from the controversial Broad Academy in school superintendent/CEO positions across the US. Ed Week writes,

“Sharon started a website called The Broad Report in 2009 after her school district in Oakland, Calif., had three Broad-trained superintendents in quick succession, each appointed by the state. She said she grew alarmed when she started seeing principals and teachers whom she called ‘high-quality, dedicated people’ forced out. She contends in her blog that Broad superintendents are trained to aim for ‘maximum disruption’ when they come to a district, without regard for parent and teacher concerns.”

Sound familiar, folks? For more details, read PAA’s “Parents Guide to the Broad Foundation” here.

Stealth charter schools

A second news item today comes from a PAA press release, “Stealth charter network linked to Gulen raises concerns.” PAA is concerned that most parents are unaware that the group running the largest number of charter schools in the US is a cult-like Turkish-based movement centered on their leader, Fethullah Gulen.

Clarifying that this is not about the religious or ethnic identity of the charter operators, but about transparency, the PAA release summarizes a number of recent troubling press stories about Gulen schools, including this:

The Philadelphia Inquirer published two articles in March and April revealing that the Gulen schools are under a multi-agency federal investigation (FBI, Department of Labor, and Department of Education) for possible manipulation of immigration laws and misallocation of taxpayer dollars.

Local Gulen school in Rogers Park

The web site for the Gulen school operating in Chicago, Chicago Math and Science Charter School in Rogers Park, calls itself a “Concept Charter School” and makes no mention of Gulen. The site shows a blank page under “History.”

CMSA is perhaps best known for having fired a pregnant teacher in 2010 who was involved in organizing a union at the school, then defending itself against a labor relations board action by claiming it was a private, not a public school. CMSA has been a top charter school in Chicago, according to test scores, though scores have been trending down. The school also claims a 100% graduate college acceptance rate, yet keeps an extremely low profile compared with the public relations blitz carried out by certain other charter schools with much lower school achievement data.

The school also applied for its CPS charter with a board of directors that at least sounded diverse and representative of the local neighborhood, which is international. The blog “Charter School Scandals” lists the following Board members from its first state tax form:

  • Salim Ucan, principal
  • Clarissa Cerda, president
  • Taner Ertekin, secretary
  • Faruk Guder, treasurer
  • Leticia Herrera – member
  • Donald Jones – member
  • Ji Yong Lee – member
  • William C. McGaghie – member

The most recent board list is:

  • Yavuz Burak Canbolat – board president
  • [Dzafer] Jeff Kulenovic – secretary
  • Ali Yurtsever – board member
  • Murat Surucu – board member
  • Edip Bektas – treasurer
  • Hanefi Tiryaki – board member
  • Suleman F. Dizdarevic – board member

Sharon notes that the board made a transition from 3 out of 8 Turkish/Turkic board members in 2003 to 7 out of 7 in 2010. This pattern has been observed at other Gulen charter schools.

CMSA’s student enrollment is 7.7% white, 26.2% black, 58.6% Hispanic, and 7.5% Asian.

More on CMSA here.

Sharon also tells me that Gulen operates a private school in Niles.

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

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

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.