Thursday, December 17, 2009

Education For Change?

Education for Change is an Oakland charter management organization which was started under Randy Ward, OUSD’s first Broad-trained state administrator. EFC was given two traditional public school sites to takeover: Cox Elementary in East Oakland and Hawthorn Elementary in the Fruitvale district. EFC has one school at the old Cox site (Cox Academy) and two schools at the old Hawthorn site, World Academy (K-3), and Achieve Academy (4-5).

This is the total enrollment for the three schools:

  • 0405 = 879
  • 0506 = 1282
  • 0607 = 1317
  • 0708 = 1234
  • 0809 = 1222

Charter management organizations are structured much like school districts. Controlling the schools are top managers and a non-elected board of directors, with sometimes an advisory board. EFC, with only three elementary schools so far, is like a “mini-district.” The CEO holds a position similar to OUSD’s superintendent.

Salaries and benefits (from EFC's available 990s, EIN 20-2204424, from NCCS). The other expenses our tax dollars are paying for (legal fees, computer support, architects, etc.) are listed in the 990s.


  • 2005 – $174,586
  • 2006 – $189,437
  • 2007 – $194, 850

VP/Chief Operating Officer

  • 2005 – $148,398
  • 2006 – $147,317
  • 2007 – na

Chief Academic Officer

  • 2005 – $120,000
  • 2006 – $137,478
  • 2007 – $140,725


  • 2005 – na
  • 2006 – $109,124
  • 2007 – $128,981

Site Director

  • 2005 – $110,000
  • 2006 – $124,487
  • 2007 – $127,735

Top principal (one of three)

  • 2005 – $107,198
  • 2006 – $110,956
  • 2007 – $113,663

In lieu of an elected school board, like OUSD's current Directors Yee, Dobbins, London, Kakishiba, Gallo, Spearman, & Hodge), Education for Change has a Board of Directors. Here are the four members:

1. Desten Broach, President of the Board, a group product manager at Sun Microsystems. He is responsible for the complete life cycle and business success of several Sun software products. Prior to joining Sun, he held similar positions at America Online, Netscape Communications, and Intuit, Inc.

2. Joanne Weiss, Vice President of the Board, Partner and Chief Operating Officer at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she oversees the organization's operations, as well as investment strategy and management assistance for many of NewSchools' ventures nationally and on the West Coast. As part of this work, she serves on the boards. Prior to joining NewSchools Venture Fund, Joanne was CEO of Claria Corporation, an e-services recruiting firm that helped emerging-growth companies build their teams quickly and well.

Of course, last May Arne Duncan appointed Joanne Weiss as Director of Race To The Top so she may be on a hiatus from her position at EFC.

3. Jonathan Garfinkel, member, Vice President at Texas Pacific Group, a private investment fund with $15 billion under management. Prior to joining Texas Pacific Group, he worked as a financial analyst at Newbridge Latin America and at Lehman Brothers. Mr. Garfinkel has also worked at NewSchools Venture Fund.

4. Harold Jones, member, the Deputy Director of External Affairs for the Port of Oakland. Prior to his appointment, he served as Manager of Government Affairs for the Port.

Below is EFC’s current management team. Keep in mind that this is the district level administration which oversees only three schools (= 1222 students). What a piece of cake!

1. Kevin Wooldridge, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, was most recently an Executive Director in the Oakland Unified School District supervising 13 elementary schools. He has been a bilingual educator for 26 years, working in three Bay Area school districts at school sites, including 12 years as a site administrator and several years as a senior central office administrator

2. Jessica Evans, Chief Academic Officer, was formerly the Director of Elementary Education for the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD).

3. Fabiola Harvey, Director of Finance & Operations, came to EFC after serving as the Area Financial Manager for the Las Vegas Cluster of Edison Schools. She led start-up and business operations for 7 schools with over 6000 students and 500 employees in Clark County School District. This was the first time that the district awarded a cluster of schools to be managed by one Charter Management Organization.

NOTE: EFC's former COO is James Willcox. Willcox is now the Chief Executive Officer of Aspire Public Schools (headquarters are in Oakland with schools in the Bay Area, Central Valley, and LA region). Prior to his appointment as CEO, Mr. Willcox was Aspire’s Chief Operating Officer. Willcox follows Founder Don Shalvey as Aspire’s second Chief Executive Officer. When Shalvey went to work for the Gates Foundation last spring, the Foundation gave Aspire $2.9 million.

"Mr. Willcox has also served as a Principal at NewSchools Venture Fund, where his work focused on the evaluation of investment opportunities, the on-going support of management teams within the investment portfolio, and the design and implementation of NewSchools’ charter school facility investment strategy. Prior to NewSchools Mr. Willcox was a nonprofit consultant with the Bridgespan Group, and served as a U.S. Army officer for over seven years."

As you can see, all of the players are in a very cozy and connected group.

FYI, this is a typical profile of the CMO/EMO model which is busy establishing charter schools that are steadily squeezing out the traditional American public schools (those overseen by public school districts and elected school boards), but only in the school districts in urban areas that are largely inhabited by low-income, brown-skinned kids. Also, none of the teachers, classified staff, or service workers of the replacing charter schools are members of unions.

The whole point of lifting the charter school cap is to make it inevitable for charter schools to claim a bigger and bigger share of the schools in any given area.


Anonymous said...

Are we supposed to be scandalized by these salaries? They are in the same range as district salaries, less in some cases. And about the "cozy" unelected board, you neglect to mention they have a documented history of competence, unlike our local elected board members, who have the opposite.

nikto said...

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortinez seems very much out of his league as he takes ELI BROAD'S bait, and becomes a mere pawn in BROAD'S strategy.

Broad is eating Cortines's (and The Public's) lunch right now.

It's reminiscent of "There Will Be Blood's" Daniel Plainview (i.e.Broad) drinking everybody else's milkshake.,0,298804.story

And there ain't nothin' you
can do about it.

The Perimeter Primate said...


With a CEO, a CAO, Controller, a Site Director, and a principal for each school -- for only 1220 students in three schools -- EFC strikes me as a bit top heavy. I wonder if the VP/COO position will be filled.

In OUSD, Woolridge supervised 13 elementary schools.

Ted said...

School boards have never been paragons of governmental competence, though if your standard is the state legislature or Congress they are doing just fine. Even Mark Twain wrote about the dismal state of school governance in the 19th century. However, school boards are an crucial entry point for non-billionaires who want to serve in government. If we do away with school boards we will be admitting that government only belongs to those who can buy in and not to those who work their way up.
The OUSD board might have done some things better in recent years, but they are still a hecka lot more competent than those Bible Belt school boards that forbid the teaching of evolution. Rhetorical question: Why isn't the business class taking over districts in Kansas?

Ender said...

Okay I realize this is off topic here but I just want to ask someone like you what I should do about this issue. To give you a bit of background information about and why I have to fight for some sortof change... I was twice exceptional (asperger's, mild dyslexia, and a few other special needs, with a 135+ IQ (being aspie it never gets tested the same twice lol) and extremely gifted in mathmatics). I was educated before charter schools were common, and in an area that even today has few of them if any. Yet, my education sucked. Teachers either didn't know enough or didn't care. Admittedly I was educated a little bit before information about some of these disorders were common place but their was more then enough knowledge about some disorders (ADHD and dyslexia especcially) but the teachers were ignorant.

I have worked with many kids like I was now, and most of them complain about the same problems and the same issues. Even today they have the same problem with teachers not knowing, not caring, or both. They comply with the IEP (far more then I got back in the 90s and beginning of this decade) but do nothing above and beyond it and many times fight it to the bitter end. And even sometimes run into legal troubles when the school doesn't listen and their kid is made to suffer for it (gets violent or similiar issues), branding their child for the rest of their educational life.

Right now there are charter and private schools everywhere that are designed to serve these kids, some of them are in the very same Bay Area as described in this article. The problem is twofold A) there are not enough free public schools, and B) the private schools are far too expensive. Those that send their kids there seem to love them, and their kids seem to do much better (even when you just think about it logically they should, Maslow's Hierachy works out a lot better without abusive teachers and classmates, and its far easier to teach them their way, when far more of their classmates learn their way.)

Now I will readily admit that not all charters are like this, most might not even be, and that the system is being abused. But how do I rectify this with knowing that there is a need for schools that will serve students that the public school doesn't give an adequate education to. I don't trust public schools enough to admit that they are not giving the student an adequate education (especcially not when it will cost them a pretty penny to admit that). I don't trust the charter system in general to clean up its act. I don't trust public schools to actually give everyone an adequate education, considering they didn't before charter schools were around (its like trusting insurance companies to me, there is just no incentive to reform). So what would you do in my shoes?

nikto said...


You leave only one true solution for yourself---Save up lots of money for a good charter school.

You said yourself you don't trust Public Schools to do the job.
Fair enough, IMO.

Neither does the Obama administration nor our Corporate

So Public Schools are largely on their way out.
Perhaps not fast enough for you?

Sorry, but, as a Public School teacher, I must admit,

Soon, you will be free to

This is entirely a market-based solution, and WILL WORK.
You must see this is true.
Am I right?

Charters are pretty much what you have left.

The Free-Market will take care
of you. America certainly
thought so,
and as a result, "Public" gives way to "for-profit Charters".

Just be sure you have the money.

End of discussion.

Deal with it.

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

Good luck in all your efforts.

Ender said...

That was a bit uncalled for. Because I don't trust the same type of teachers that abused me and, let me be abused at school, for the better of 12 years; I must want entirely for profit education. I know from observation that I am not the only one. When I was in school, public schools were my only option, there wasn't a charter within 500 miles through most it. Now honestly, why would public schools be any different now?

torreynewton said...

This is a recession. So let's lay this out in terms of the money because the money talks. School money is measured by number of students. You lose students when you lose what makes a school great. The creation of disaster will bring a unforgiving investigation of those responsible and an accounting for those decisions that created it. No job is sacred . Even those of the witless administrators.
Torrey Newton

Anonymous said...

EFC is a non-profit charter. They pay their employees more than OUSD, and some other local school districts, because they expect more from them and compensate them accordingly. Charter schools are not the answer for all neighborhoods or schools, but when they are working, public schools should take notice and try to replicate the successful strategies that are being utilized. Just as charter schools should look to successful public schools for guidance.
As a former employee of OUSD, a former OEA union rep alternative, and now an employee of a charter school, the main difference between the two systems is organizational leadership and the singular vision of all stake holders.
Unfortunately, OEA leadership and their dysfunctional relationship with the school board is a hinderance to educational success in Oakland.

office administrator said...

I agree with nikto.

Ender said...

OA, okay then, what's your solution for kids like Alex Barton (which isn't as rare as it may seem at first)? Do you want to make them either fork up the dough or suffer in public schools?

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, neither teachers nor principals were told of board meetings at Education for Change, therefore they were not able to make public comments. Principal and teachers were told that the school was constantly on a "budget freeze." Some parents requested to review the CEO's salary after hearing the CEO's salary was in the many hundreds of thousands, but the parents never were granted their request to review the budget. Are the board meeting minutes available for all years? Are the salaries posted the actual salaries reported on the school's financial documents?