Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Conspiracy, or not? You decide.

Remember Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top? That’s the program he picked Joanne Weiss to develop and run which requires states to revise their education laws according to the Broad/Gates template, after which, if the states have gone far enough, they can become eligible to enter the contest for possibly getting some money from Duncan’s pot.

Weiss, by the way, is a businesswoman and the former COO of the NewSchools Venture Fund, an investment vehicle which funnels philanthropic dollars into charter school start-ups. Lots of Eli Broad connections there.

With states being so desperate to get any amount of money, many rushed to change their laws and then applied to RTTT. But, to their disappointment, most states were rejected. Only two states “won” in the first round, Delaware and Tennessee.

In my letter to the editor published in the Oakland Tribune last fall (11/20/2009), I tried to communicate that the massive fundamental bureaucratic alterations this “race” was requiring would mean that a lot of the money would be going to administrative positions rather than to kids and classrooms. In California, State Senator Gloria Romero from LA, who is backed by Eli Broad and pals and is a candidate for State Superintendent, was behind the push for the federally-accommodating laws.

Now we learn that Tennessee, which received $500 million, will be spending at least $46 million for data programs, while bus drivers and custodians are either having their wages cut, or are being laid off. This will make some ed data software business out there happy.

Not only that, but now that many state education laws have been changed, the amount of potential federal prize money has been reduced!

So, after spending of millions of dollars on writing new laws and completing elaborate RTTT applications, which were scored by anonymous judges (!), several states felt bewildered and betrayed, and are now rethinking their interest.

PS: Hope y’all are aware of what’s going on in other places.

In Florida, the profession of teaching is about to be destroyed. Russo posted a sort-of entertaining cartoon about it. Funny, ha, ha.

And in Detroit, former Oakland City Manager Bob Bobb, who went to DC and eventually graduated from the Broad Superintendents Academy, is aggressively closing schools and charterizing Detroit’s public school system. His approach resembles Randy Ward’s (Oakland's Broad Supe #1) on steroids. Bobb’s official salary is $280,000, but he gets an additional $145,000 in private foundation money; the only philanthropic donor publicly identified is the Broad Foundation. Talk about a conflict of interest!

Learn lots more at The Broad Report.

People often dismiss those of us who are concerned about the way in which public education is being dismantled as nutty conspiracy theorists.

Conspire (American Heritage Dictionary): 1. To plan together secretly to commit an illegal or wrongful act or accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action. 2. To join or act together; combine: factors that conspired to delay the project. [Middle English conspiren, from Old French, from Latin cōnspīrāre : com-, com- + spīrāre, to breathe.]

Yes, I do think certain wrongful acts have secretly been generated in the offices, and at social gatherings, of a very small number of wealthy, unelected people who, because of their wealth, have exceptional access to politicians, and who stay TOTALLY-TOTALLY-TOTALLY inaccessible to public questioning or confrontation. They meddle in, and essentially are in control of, public education at very high levels, but keep themselves isolated from the public and seem to be accountable to no one. People like Duncan and Obama are permitting this to happen. I do know that the reforms didn't come from parents, they didn't come from teachers, they didn't come from academia, and they always have strong elements of a move towards privatization.

It’s happening all over, and rapidly now. In March 2009, just after the presidential election, Tom Vander Ark, one of the ed deformers’ favorite PR men, wrote a piece for The Huffington Post entitled, “Eli Finally Won.” It pretty much sums things up. The bold is mine.

Eli Broad paved the way for radical moderates. He was a New Democrat before Clinton. He was a Democrat for Education Reform before there was a DFER.

He figured out long ago that there was a talent gap in education and began investing in human capital. In addition to a great superintendent program, Eli formed a residency to bring MBAs into district cabinets and a training program for school board members. Eli also invested in Teach for America, New Leaders for New Schools, New Teacher Project, and Education Pioneers.

Eli saw the potential for quality at scale in charter schools. He invested in New School Venture Fund. Eli brought KIPP to LA. In post-Katrina New Orleans, Eli saw the potential to rebuild a different and better system and he invested in talent and charter networks.

When I brought the Stand Up advocacy campaign to Eli in 2006, he signed up but was frustrated that it wasn't edgier. He partnered with the Gates Foundation on Strong American Schools and was still frustrated that it didn't push harder in the resulting 'Ed in 08' campaign which tried too hard to build a big tent. And then education was pushed off the agenda by Iraq and the recession.

But yesterday, Eli won. Obama's speech sounded like Eli wrote it. It was about choice and charter schools, human capital and performance pay. It was right on message from pre-school to college. We've never had a Republican president that so clearly articulated a Republican strategy. Only it's the new New Democrat strategy. It's Eli's strategy. He finally won.

You will notice that Eli Broad (rhymes with toad) stays perpetually hidden from public view. He crawls out from under his rock just enough to meet with his puppets and henchmen, and to testify on behalf of his 20-count felony-charged friends.

A 1996 New York Time article, "Wealthy Helped by Wall St., Find New Ways Escape Tax on Profits" reveals Eli Broad's pleasure at winning by pressing as close as possible to the legal edge. A recent New York Times article about Broad describes him as "A billionaire philanthropist whose beneficence comes with not just strings but with ropes that could moor an ocean liner." In that same article,
Roland Fryer, one of Broad's education project collaborators explains that, "...Eli will crush you." Incidentally, that project is now on course to become a failure.

Just so you can imagine the locus of the scheme, the Broad Foundation’s offices are located near UCLA in the Westwood district, at 10900 Wilshire Boulevard Twelfth Floor Los Angeles, California 90024 (at the corner of Wilshire and Westwood).


Tom Hoffman said...

I would say the actual scoring of the RttT applications has been the fairest and most reasonable aspect of the process. At least based on reading the RI scoring comments and various other commentary.

The gnashing and teeth and consternation from "reform" stalwarts like the New Teacher Project over scoring is genuine.

Also, it was pretty clear from the beginning that giant piles of money would be going into data systems as a result of RttT.

So I would say the scoring was fair, but the main impact was getting states to change laws and policy without giving them any money in the first round. That was the real trick. Limiting the money each state gets in the second round will allow them to unruffle feathers by giving money to a larger number of states.

The Perimeter Primate said...

Direct Hit
April 7, 2010 9:34 AM IP: (mail.broadfoundation.org) Unknown OS
Los Angeles, CA, United States Unknown Browser

Direct Hit
April 7, 2010 9:34 AM IP: (mail.broadfoundation.org) Windows XP Windows XP
Los Angeles, CA, United States Internet Explorer 7.0 Internet Explorer 7.0

The Perimeter Primate said...

Direct Hit
April 7, 2010 6:38 PM IP: (mail.broadfoundation.org) Unknown OS
Los Angeles, CA, United States Unknown Browser

Direct Hit
April 7, 2010 6:38 PM IP: (mail.broadfoundation.org) Windows XP Windows XP
Los Angeles, CA, United States Firefox 3.5.9 Firefox 3.5.9

James said...

"People often dismiss those of us . . ."

Maybe people dismiss you because you write crass, over-the-top things like the following: "In Florida, the profession of teaching is about to be destroyed."

nikto said...

I actually heard an ad for THIS Broad adjunct on NPR yesterday afternoon:


It may be a conspiracy; It is definitely a PLAN.

nikto said...


You were ripe for justified dismissal as soon as you touched your keyboard to write your crass little message.

You are just another knee-jerk cipher in the night.

Buh bye.

The Perimeter Primate said...

Roland Fryer and Broad's pay the kids for grades experiment is officially a bust.

Harvard-based pay-for-study experiment shows students incentivized to actions, not results

BY Meredith Kolodner

Friday, April 9th 2010, 4:00 AM

A program that paid city students if they got higher test scores earned an F, a new study shows.

The Harvard-based study led by former city Education Department consultant Roland Fryer examined the program he spearheaded, which poured $6.3 million in private funds into 261 schools in four cities.

This was the best comment:

"These 21st Century billionaire robber baron corporatist philanthropists just can't imagine that human beings exist that money can't buy."

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2010/04/09/2010-04-09_payforstudy_experiment_flunks.html#ixzz0kcGPdbyX

nikto said...

Here's another heartfelt Ed post by Democratic Underground's Madfloridian:


The Perimeter Primate said...


"Bribery Strikes Out: It isn’t lack of opportunity that keeps poor people poor." Heather Mac Donald, 4/8/2010

"...the last hope for turning around underclass behavior may be to convert every inner-city school into a KIPP-type academy with minute-by-minute structure and explicit, nonnegotiable rules and expectations."