Monday, July 12, 2010

Randolph Ward, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2003

NOTE: Randolph Ward is omitted from the alumni pages of the Broad Superintendents Academy Web site.*

In 2003, Ward began his year of training with the Broad Superintendents Academy. During that time he was chosen to be the state administrator of the Oakland Unified School District, where he worked for three years. This was arranged by Jack O'Connell, the State Superintendent, and Jerry Brown, who was Oakland's mayor at the time.

According to an Oakland Tribune article which is posted on the Broad Foundation’s Web site, “…[The Broad] Center was called in by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell to recommend an administrator to run the Oakland schools following a state takeover. Brown and Broad are longtime allies, and O'Connell is a major recipient of Broad campaign contributions…”

Ward’s arrival was accompanied by another Broad graduate, Arnold “Woody” Carter (BSA 2002), who served as his Chief of Staff for two years. Carter was embroiled in scandal several years later when he was superintendent of the Capistrano Unified School District. In addition to Carter, a bevy of Broad Residents was provided to Ward to serve him in various important central office positions.

Randolph Ward left Oakland in the summer of 2006 and became the San Diego County Superintendent of Schools. His successor, Kimberly Statham (BSA 2003), only stayed one year. Her successor, Vincent Matthews (BSA 2006), left OUSD in 2010 when the district regained its local control.

The final word about all those years of Broad graduates at the helm:
The Alameda County civil grand jury, in its 2007-08 report, found that "the district was hampered by continuous staff turnover, particularly in the area of finance, numerous reorganizations and a succession of state administrators. "... After nearly five years of state management, OUSD's budget remains unbalanced and the district's future is unclear."…
The Center for Education Reform publication, National Model or Temporary Opportunity? The Oakland Education Reform Story” (written by none other than Joe Williams, now of DFER) describes how this all came down.

OAKLAND -- School chief Randolph Ward's plan to close several campuses in neighborhoods with declining enrollment met heavy resistance from hundreds of parents, teachers and students Thursday.

Protesters crowded a public hearing at the school district's 2nd Avenue headquarters, blasting the plan and asking Ward to spare their campuses.

It was the most large-scale public opposition Ward has faced since he was appointed to run the Oakland schools seven months ago, when the state took over the district for massive financial failures.

Ward also heard criticism from members of the school board and the Oakland City Council.

Parents and teachers at schools up for closure said their campuses are integral parts of the community -- not just buildings on a corner -- and argued closing schools would be a harsh disruption for students…

School board member Dan Siegel said the district should take students from crowded schools such as Cox Elementary, and transfer them to under-enrolled schools such as Burbank Elementary. Ward said that plan would not work, because parents would not want to send their kids to school in another neighborhood… [although he did feel that an expansion of charter schools to which they would have to travel would be perfectly okay]

One girl attending Golden Gate Elementary told Ward "I will not let this school go out of my heart or my friends' hearts, because it is a lovely school."

At Santa Fe Elementary, teachers pointed out they have high scores on standardized tests, and have worked hard to create important programs and build a baseball field.

Oakland police barred dozens of other people from the building, including at least one journalist and a woman who asked to be let in to find her young daughter.

The crowd chanted, banged on windows and rang fire alarms, which could be heard from inside the meeting room. About 18 police officers and a few school security guards were stationed in the entryway of the building...

...Although financial problems triggered the Oakland school district's takeover, the state administration appeared to be more focused on redesigning schools and overhauling central office services than on stabilizing the district's finances.

None of the three state-appointed administrators [all Broad Superintendents Academy graduates: Randolph Ward (Class of 2003), Kimberly Statham (Class of 2003), and Vincent Mathews (Class of 2006)] had strong financial backgrounds, and the district has had three chief financial officers since 2007.

For years, auditors with the state controller's office have issued "inconclusive" findings on the state of the school district's finances. The auditors reported last summer that the agency's bottom line was unclear because key records dating to the time of the takeover were missing or inconsistent.

It wasn't until 2008 that the district hired a private auditing firm to address the problem and "disentangle" the old financial records. The firm had grim news this spring: They had $5.6 million less than previously thought. Auditors found other problems, totaling $9 million, bringing the size of the shortfall to nearly $15 million.

The Alameda County civil grand jury, in its 2007-08 report, found that "the district was hampered by continuous staff turnover, particularly in the area of finance, numerous reorganizations and a succession of state administrators. "... After nearly five years of state management, OUSD's budget remains unbalanced and the district's future is unclear."…

WARD MAY BE MAKING AN EXIT, June 28, 2006, Oakland Tribune
…“Some of his projects have been poorly received by certain local school observers and the powerful Oakland teachers union. Further straining his relationship with Oakland teachers, Ward and the union engaged in a two-year contract fight that ended in April on the brink of a strike. 

At a teacher picnic to celebrate the tentative contract agreement, a small group of teachers mobbed Ward, and one spit on the ground as he walked away. 

Due to safety concerns, a bodyguard from the California Highway Patrol shadows the state administrator at all times.”




    21 Referring URL:
    July 13, 2010 2:20 PM IP: ( Windows XP Windows XP
    Beverly Hills, CA, United States Internet Explorer 7.0 Internet Explorer 7.0


  2. I'd like to see some news here about our own bad experience in Minneapolis. Just discovered your site and this whole scam.

    Minneapolis, of course, has been one of the cities 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 ... with some oversight. In the small print in the local 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?

  3. I am writing this on June 8, 2011.
    May I be placed in direct contact with Robert Schiller and/or Eli Broad? I have very valuable information to share on academic performance metrics and their proper applications.
    I am well acquainted with North Carolina and Wake County (NC)practices and proclaimed achievements, as well as with the reality of those achievements and their comparisons to national performance.
    William T. Lynch, PhD,, (919)772-0696