Wednesday, March 10, 2010

“The Broad Effect”: Part One

(These postings originally appeared on The Perimeter Primate. Part One and Part Two.)

“The Broad Effect” is behind the recent events in Rhode Island (the Central Falls firings ), and in Detroit, where the Detroit Public School Board has just unanimously voted to file a second lawsuit against Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, saying the extra $145,000 in private foundation support he receives is an unlawful conflict of interest. Bobb's base salary is $280,000.
The Detroit News reports:
“Bobb's supplemental income from private foundations increased from $84,000 last year to $145,000 this year, under a one-year contract extension signed by the governor and state superintendent this month. The only philanthropic donor publicly identified is the Broad Foundation, whose support of charter schools has stirred controversy among some members of the DPS community.”

Naturally, Robert Bobb (or Bob Bobb, as he was known in Oakland when served as the City Manager under former Mayor Jerry Brown) is a member of the Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2005. 
When the Broad Foundation plants one of its elements in a school district, it is highly likely that another element will be planted along with it, in order to maximize the Effect.

For instance, an element might be:

  • The presence of a Broad-trained superintendent, or even more (the salaries of which might even be covered by the Broad Foundation partially, or in full)
  • The presence of Broad Residents in important central office positions (the salaries of which might even be covered by the Broad Foundation partially, or in full)
  • An "invitation" to participate in a program spawned by the Foundation (such as CRSS's Reform Governance in Action program)
  • An offer from the Broad Foundation to provide the district with a FREE "audit" or "assessment" of some sort (eg. a "Performance Management and Diagnostic and Planning" experience), which issues a report with "recommendations." NOTE: This "diagnostic" is similar to the technique used by unscrupulous auto mechanics to drum up more business.

    The Broad Foundation likes to infiltrate its targets on multiple levels so it can manipulate a wider field and cause the greatest amount of disruption. Venture edu-philanthropists like Gates and Broad proudly call this invasive and destabilizing strategy "investing in a disruptive force."To these billionaires and their henchmen, causing massive disruption for families with school aged children in (disadvantaged) communities (primarily of color) across the nation is no big deal.

    “The Broad Effect” has been playing out in Rhode Island, where State Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist, a 2008 Broad Superintendents Academy graduate, worked in tandem with Frances Gallo, the district’s superintendent, to fire 93 teachers and staff members at Central Falls High School. Learn much more about the whole story here.

    The April 2009 press release announcing Gist’s appointment as the new R.I. Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education stated:
    “We are thrilled that Rhode Island is the first state to attract a Broad Fellow as not only the superintendent of its largest schools system, with Tom Brady in Providence, but also a Broad Fellow as a State Commissioner who can partner in addressing the challenges of transforming the state's educational systems to a position of international leadership."

    As we learn from a March 2005 press release:
    “The Mayor [Cicilline of Providence] today met with the School Board Monday night to discuss a plan that installs Fran Gallo as Transition Superintendent and calls for the formation of a search committee by next week. The plan is informed by counsel from the Broad Foundation (pronounced “brode”), a nationally-recognized consultant for superintendent searches.”

    And as Providence Public School District eventually acquired Thomas M. Brady (Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2004), he was joined by Sharon Contreras (Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2010) as his Chief Academic Officer. Gallo took a position at Central Falls, an impoverished community 5.7 miles north of Providence. Read more about the Broad-in-Rhode-Island synergy here.

    So now do you understand how it all works?


    ANTIOCH, CALIFORNIA: Deborah Sims (BSA 2005) was asked to resign. The previous year, their school board had started in the Reform Governance in Action program via the Center for Reform of School Systems (CRSS) which is very heavily funded by Broad. After Sims' exit, the CRSS terminated its ties with the district. It was , "...a blessing in disguise," as one board member stated. 

    BUFFALO, NEW YORK: This city was targeted early on, now they are land-o-the-charters.
    CAPISTRANO, CALIFORNIA: In March 2009, this school district terminated its superintendent, Arnold Woodrow "Woody" Carter (BSA 2002), for material breach.

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, OHIO: It seems that Bart G. Anderson (BSA 2006), Superintendent of the Franklin County Board of Education was calling himself “Dr. Bart Anderson” years before he earned a legitimate doctorate degree in 2006. He also got mixed up with a diploma mill called St. Regis University, which issued him a bogus doctorate in 2002.

    JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: Joseph Wise (BSA 2003) was given a four-year contract as the superintendent of Duval County Public Schools in the fall of 2005. Twenty-three months later, his spending habits were being questioned. He and the school board parted ways in October 2007, but not before he implemented a controversial reorganization plan. Read local community opinions here. In February 2008, he became the new Chief Education Officer for EdisonLearning. Legal problems persisted even after he left DCPS. Trouble had followed Wise from Delaware, where he had been the superintendent of Christina School District, the largest in Delaware. This is what he's doing now.

    LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: As you would suspect, all sorts of intertwining connections are here. Read this report about Broad taking Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to dinner.

    MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE: More suckers in Memphis (or are the school district officials just sucking up?). As usual, parents are pissed off but have little idea about what has hit them. As usual, New Leaders for New Schools is right in the midst of things.

    OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA: In January 2008, twenty-one allegations of improper behavior were made against John Q. Porter (BSA 2006), who had been serving as the superintendent of OKCPS for only six months (more here). He was suspended and then resigned in March amid accusations of financial mismanagement and poor job performance. Porter's spending habits were questioned during his previous work for Montgomery County Public Schools. I've looked for him online, but he seems to have disappeared. His Wikipedia page was deleted in 2008.

    OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: In the summer of 2003, Jack O'Connell, the State Superintendent of Instruction (the recipient of a large campaign contribution from Eli Broad), assigned Randolph Ward (BSA 2003) as State Administrator of OUSD. Ward appointed Arnold Woodrow "Woody" Carter (BSA 2002) to be his Chief of Staff (see Capistrano above). Ward's slash-and-burn actions produced so much anger from the community, he hired a full-time body guard. Barak Ben-Gal (Broad Resident 2004-2006) implemented a controversial system called Results Based Budgeting in OUSD, then went into the private sector in Silicon Valley. Kimberly Statham (BSA 2003) hopped from job to job for years and is now at the NewSchools Venture Fund. Statham departed after only one year, and arrangements were made for Vincent Matthews (BSA 2006), who used to work for SF's (now failed) Edison school, to fill the State Administrator position. These three Broad Superintendents within five years left the district in a bigger mess, and in considerably more debt, than in which they had found it. The district regained full control in 2009, but since the district is still in debt to the state, Matthews was assigned as State Trustee.

    NEW YORK CITY: Broad Foundation press release states that Broad "played a key role in former U.S. Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein's appointment as New York schools chancellor." And here's Broad schmoozing with another N.Y. billionaire.

    PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MARYLAND: This troubled school district thought it was finally going to get a long-term superintendent when they hired John Deasy (BSA 2006) in May 2006, but by September 2008 he was being investigated for having improperly received his doctorate. He resigned in short order and went to work for the Gates Foundation. Deasy's replacement was William R. Hite Jr. (BSA 2006) who appointed Bonita Coleman-Potter (BSA 2008) as his deputy superintendent.

    ROCHESTER, NEW YORK: Jean-Claude Brizard (BSA 2007) is alienating people there. People are catching on.

    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: This group isn't too pleased with Maria Goodloe-Johnson (BSA 2003).

    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: Arne Duncan invited Broad Residents into his department so they can be in control at the the top.

    WASHINGTON D.C.: Reporting that Michelle Rhee meets with Broad on a regular basis, including making multiple visits to his Fifth Ave. apartment in NYC.

    WILMINGTON, DELAWARE: A 2006 article stated that Broad "plans to virtually take over the Delaware school system in 2007, pending approval from that state's legislature." He backed the winning slate of candidates for the local board of education in 1999 and helped hire the new superintendent. His energy was focused on the Christina School District. Their first Broad superintendent was installed in July 2003 ( see Joseph Wise under Jacksonville above). This is what he's doing now. In April 2006, Wise was succeeded by Lillian Lowery (BSA 2004) who served until May 2009. Lowery walked into her position and shortly discovered a huge district deficit. This is what she's doing now. Her replacement was Marcia Lyles (BSA 2006). This district is home to the incident with six-year old Zachary. His sentence was later reversed.

    Note: Not all Broad Superintendents Academy graduates (called Fellows) are included on the Academy's Web site as "Featured Alumni."

    This map will show you where the Effect has spread, and will link you to its players. More information is available at The Broad Report. Doing a perfect job of keeping track of “The Broad Effect” would be a full-time job!

    I now share with you an excerpt from the Billionaire Boys' Club chapter of Diane Ravitch's book, "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education"(pp. 200-201):

    But the offer of a multimillion-dollar grant by a foundation is enough to cause most superintendents and school boards to drop everything and reorder their priorities.

    And so it happened that the Gates, Walton, and Broad foundations came to exercise vast influence over American education because of ther strategic investments in school reform. As their policy goals converged in the first decade of the twenty-first century, these foundations set the policy agenda not only for school districts, but also for states and even the U.S. Department of Education.
    Before considering the specific goals and activities of these foundations, it is worth reflecting on the wisdom of allowing education policy to be directed or, one might say, captured by private foundations. There is something fundamentally antidemocratic about relinquishing control of the public education policy agenda to private foundations run by society's wealthiest people; when the wealthiest of these foundations are joined in common purpose, they represent an unusually powerful force that is beyond the reach of democratic institutions. These foundations, no matter how worthy and high-minded, are after all, not public agencies. They are not subject to public oversight or review, as a public agency would be. They have taken it upon themselves to reform public education, perhaps in ways that would never survive the scrutiny of voters in any district or state. If voters don't like the foundations' reform agenda, they can't vote them out of office. The foundation demands that public schools and teacher be held accountable for performance, but they themselves are accountable to no one. If their plans fail, no sanctions are levied against them. They are bastions of unaccountable power.

    Read more about Eli Broad, the man behind the Broad Effect. Find out what makes him chuckle. Learn why he is described as a “billionaire philanthropist whose beneficence comes with not just strings but with ropes.” My previous postings with additional information are here.

    (The Broad Foundation regularly monitors this blog, both directly and, more recently, via services provided by BurrellesLuce. When it occurs, I post the confirmation in my comments.)
    And as eighth-grade students have learned at a public middle school here in Oakland, "Jefferson believed in the People. They can make good decisions when given enough information."


    1. Additional information from a contact in Seattle:

      There is a post in a local school blog about the Broad residents that you might find of interest.

      People have found out about the Broad residents in our school administration and are not happy about it but the school board seems OK with it. It must have something to do with the fact that Broad trained Payzant keeps providing them with more "help" and books during their retreats.

    2. From a contact in Duval County:

      "Loved your piece on the Broad Effect.

      You might want to add something to the Duval County summary.

      I am pretty sure John Fryer, former Duval County Florida School (Jacksonville, FL) Supt. before Joe Wise was also a Broad graduate. Fryer was a military guy and former head of the National War College. He brought in America's Choice, the Marc Tucker enterprise, and now works for them.

      Interesting how these supt. from the Broad school wind up working for school privatization groups after they help destroy public schools.

      Recently, we have had an attempted takeover of public education in Jacksonville. Coincidentally (?) a group of powerbrokers announced a new organization as a city council study group was about to recommend a mayoral takeover of schools."

      The PP says:

      An article about all this maneuvering was published in Folio Weekly, a local alternative newspaper for northeast Florida. It was written by by Billie Bussard, but unfortunately, it is not available online. I have obtained the article, will summarize the content and share it with you here in a few weeks.


      JOHN FRYER isn't on my list for being a graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy but is featured in this Broad Foundation document, "Better Leaders for America’s Schools: A Manifesto" WITH PROFILES OF EDUCATION LEADERS AND A SUMMARY OF STATE CERTIFICATION PRACTICES of May 2003

      Here is the other Fryer:


      The Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2006
      Chief Operating Officer
      Prince George's County Public Schools, Md.
      Retired Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps

    4. This plea for help from Detroit was sent to my email:

      From: xxx
      Subject: The Broad loose in Detroit
      Date: Saturday, March 20, 2010, 2:16 PM

      Oh how We need you here to speak to us here in Detroit our city is under attack they are attacking us on all fronts these foundations have all of our elected officials city leaders,Governor,Mayor and religious leaders firmly under their control we need help.

    5. The "Broad Effect" has reached Pittsburgh.

      Two 2003 Broad Graduates, Mark Roosevelt and Linda Lane, are plowing through Pittsburgh in much of the same manner described above.

      Interesting that Gates and Broad are lumped together in some of the commentary written here knowing that Pittsburgh has just sold out it's teachers to get a grant from the Gates Foundation.


    6. Lavonne Sheffield (2002 Broad graduate) is running Rockford Public Schools in Illinois into the ground.

    7. Posted this at another page too--Minneapolis has been hit.

      Minneapolis has been targeted for "reform" by Broad. In 2004, the Minneapolis School Board approved the hire of one of its graduates, Thandiwe Peebles. Disaster ensued and she was finally fired in 2006:

      The Rise and Fall of Thandiwe Peebles

      But it's not over: A temporary local (non-Broad) appointee took over for a few years. Then last year another superintendent was hired, over objections that no competitive candidate interviews were conducted. Though she was not a Broad grad, she apparently was tasked to continue with the plan set in place ... and contract for an "audit" by Broad. In the small print in a neighborhood paper:

      "Coupled with the announcement of her leadership team, Johnson announced she will soon begin an administrative audit guided by Dr. Robert Schiller, consultant to the Broad Superintendent's Academy and former superintendent. He will conduct a thorough examination of the senior and mid-range leadership functions in light of the district’s tight financial resources. He will evaluate the organizational structure in comparison to the best structures and best practices of selected benchmarked districts. Any additional changes will be informed by this analysis."

      How do school districts ever get out from under this?

    8. Our new Minnesota governor just appointed an education commissioner, Brenda Cassellius, who attended Broad in 2007 and left before graduating. What do we know about the folks who drop out?

      At any rate, she's being widely lauded for her experience; however, some of the folks who worked closely with the Minneapolis school district she came from are aghast at her appointment:

      MinnPost: In education circles, Dayton's choice of Cassellius greeted with optimism, skepticism

    9. Help!!In Rockford Illinois we are suffering the "Broad Effect" with Broad Graduate LaVonne Sheffield. Rockford already has the hihest Unemployment in the State and the Highest Poverty level for Children in our District - District 205. Our local newspaper Rockford Register Star has been her ally but thank goodness we have a small paper called Rock River Times that correctly reports the going ons of this destructor of Education. We are in dire need of help.

    10. Wendy is correct....but the truth is starting to come out thanks to the RR Times, WIFR, and a courageous high school teacher who is making a documentary about corporations undermining public education. Look for it this summer (hopefully).

    11. Same story her in Charlotte Mecklenburg School District here in North Carolina. CMS superintendent Peter Gorman sits on the board at Broad and has stacked administration with Broad grads. Numerous schools are set to close, teachers are being laid off while the district spends (literally) millions on outside consultants developing a new set of high stakes tests which they openly plan to use to thin the ranks of experienced teachers to pave the way for Teach for America hires. They have published results for a truly horrible pay for performance model that no one understands, and in public meetings they repeatedly dismiss or evade any questions about it that might shed light on it's glaring flaws (the principal one being that accepting their results would require us to believe that many of our best and most popular schools somehow currently have fewer effective teachers than many of our most troubled and lowest achieving ones.) The PFP plan would ordinarily have to be approved by a majority of teachers under North Carolina law, but Gorman is in the process of pushing a bill through the state legislature that would waive our teachers' right to vote and allow admin to implement the plan from the top down with no recourse for teachers. Teachers have no unions here. We are a "right to work" state and barriers to union organization are enormous. I know of ten excellent experienced teachers who planning to work in the surrounding counties next year to separate themselves from the tragic mess we all see coming.

    12. You need to check out the Kansas City Star website, ,to read about the mess Broad graduate, John Covington, has left the school district in after his abrupt resignation this week.

    13. I am writing for some advice. My child is a junior at a Distict 2 high school in colorado springs colorado. The district is currently under the the dictatorship of Mike Miles a graduate of the "BroadAcademy".
      earlier this week the students and teachers participated in a protest against miles and walked out of school. Teachers are being let go left and right and it is creating chaos for our dedicated educators and our children. I am just a working class single mother reaching out. My child is part of the student body government and they are trying to be heard with little result. My email addy is pink_1975@comcast.netPlease email me with any advice or help. We are ready to fight for our childrens future!!!

    14. Schiller is currently in Martin County and said he was going shark fishing soon.

    15. Heath Morrison (Broad 2009) has been appointed to head Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. He will begin work there July 1, 2012, after less than three years with Washoe County School District in Nevada.

    16. Fulton County Superintendent Robert Avossa in Georgia came from Broad as well. He was working Charlotte Mecklenburg before. Teachers are not happy. See the comments on this blog.


      Please see this. Robert Avossa and Joel Klein doing business together. They are both from Broad.

      What a mess!!!!

    18. I was a teacher in Fulton County for more than 15 years. I left in Dec. I was forced out because I wouldn't be quiet. They could not get me on performance so the disguised it as a complaint from an administrator. I filed grievances which I never heard from. After I email Dr. Avossa about the Broad Foundation I was pushed out. Teachers are afraid to speak out or unite because the process has changed for getting rid of teachers. They have a tribunal of their people with the results already calculated. Data is being manipulated because we know what students are doing. Principals are being let go as well as teachers. Teachers at my school are so afraid because they have to work. If we unite and stand on the truth we could beat him. They don't know how to organize. He has all the power from the boars. Our district is a mess. I have informed as many people as I can. Parents don't know what to do. I wonder when we will usher him out. He was part of the problem in Carolina before he came here and tore up our district. What a mess we have. We need help.