Thursday, July 12, 2007

P & C Discovers the Broad Foundation!

Only three months after my posting on the Eli Broad Education Foundation and its production of urban superintendents Abelardo Saavedra (for Corpus Christi), Maria Goodloe-Johnson (for Corpus Christi and then Charleston), and Nancy McGinley [see my post of April 5 on "Roving Opportunists"], the P & C broke the news last Monday that the foundation has provided "substantial" resources to CCSD!

Clearly the editors need to pay more attention to this blog. Perhaps their attention was raised when CCSD appointed its THIRD graduate of the Broad Foundation's fellows program for urban educators, Randy Bynum, Sr., who was in its Class of 2007.

The Broad Foundation is active in many other cities, too, including Portland, Oregon. An on-line weekly newspaper,, identifies its goals: "to create competition by starting publicly funded, privately run charter schools, to enforce accountability by linking teacher pay to student test scores, and to limit teachers' say in curriculum and transfer decisions." Whether true or not, this list sets up some interesting queries for CCSD. Portland parents are mainly unhappy about the closing of neighborhood schools in the name of progress.

Googling into the efforts of Broad-trained personnel will certainly turn up some disgruntled, in fact, ranting, opponents of the foundation, especially after it joined forces with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. No doubt many, if not all, of these unhappy districts (such as the one in Christina, Delaware), like CCSD, had many problems waiting to be solved when these supers arrived. But Broad's philosophy (and follow-through) should raise some yellow flags (notice I didn't say "red").

To assist them in succeeding, Broad-trained fellows have resources available to them that support their training, and Goodloe-Johnson took full advantage of them. According to Courrege's article, the "foundation has spent more than $100,000 in the district." Thus,

"--The foundation will provide McGinley with a strategic support team of superintendents and leaders who will come to Charleston periodically and work with her on any issue she picks.
"--The foundation paid for an outside expert to come in and look at the district's communications department to see what could be better, and it will do the same for the district's information technology department.
"--The foundation has paid for Jim Huger, an independent consultant, to lead school board workshops.
"--The foundation covered expenses associated with executive coaches for Goodloe-Johnson in her first years as superintendent and McGinley, just beginning her tenure.
"--Brenda Nelson, the school district's new director of community outreach, will apply for the Broad Residency in Urban Education program, which involves two years of management training.
"--The foundation, with the Council of the Great City Schools, gave an $18,500 grant to the district to review operational or instructional processes and capacities for change."

Board members Hillery Douglas and Nancy Cook and training-participant board member Ray Toler are quite satisfied that the foundation's support "has done a good job" in helping schools.

But I'm wondering about the outside consultants. One aspect of Broad Education Foundation training encourages participants to explore the expertise of other national organizations to address specific problems in a district--for example, the New Teacher Project (or Teach Charleston) to recruit teachers for hard-to-fill positions and Community Education Partners to run Murray Hill Academy. No doubt there are other nonprofits either under consideration or in effect. So far the jury is out on whether the money spent on these consultants will reap rewards.

In addition, what are the qualifications of Randy Bynum, Sr., to be chief academic officer, other than being a Broad Fellow?

Try Googling "Randy Bynum."


Anonymous said...

I did google him and I'm not impressed. He uses the same fuzzy vocabulary as G-J and displays some of the same annoying pet peeves.

What the hell is Broad anyway? It looks like a chief organizer of some sort of Education Industrial Complex. Is Broad doing to American education what Haliburton has done military defense? Some things shouldn't be out-sourced.

Anonymous said...

Eli Broad is the "B" side of KB Homes, the super rich real estate developer who built a subdivision in Texas on a military bombing range. More than a few landscaping projects there resulted in setting off explosions. The Broad Foundation also gave a site for a super modern new high school in downtown Los Angeles that turned out to be a contaminated hazardous waste site. It was found to be so bad it came under the Superfund regulations. The land might have been free but the cleanup expense to the LA school system was over $100 million. That was the cost to LA taxpayers to clean up the site before construction of the school could begin.

Anonymous said...

The Broad Institute is also responsible for the Palmer and Cay boondoogle for salary increases. Of course they supported high increases for all leadership positions because they want to load us up with their graduates

downtown parent said...

Check out the new Academic Chief's e-mails on the internet as he chewed out some students and a teacher when he was principal of Pebblebrook HS in May 2005. He shut them down all because the high school newspaper that didn't print enough happy news. Then, as if to show them who's boss, he canceled the school's journalism class. A couple of weeks later he got promoted (?) to area superintendent. His replacement just received an award given by the Georgia Press Association for restoring the school paper and her support for responsible leadership in education. And we get the person who created the mess in the first place. Welcome to Charleston Mr. Randy Bynum.

Anonymous said...

Broad is starting to look like a placement office for a halfway house or rehab clinic for dysfunctional administrators.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of CCSD's top administrators were appointed in order to kick them upstairs. If pushing kids who fail on the the next level is social promotion what is this called when incompetent administrators are promoted and given even more responsibility?

Anonymous said...

Didn't the Palmer and Cay report recommend keeping the line workers (custodians, electricians and other non-teaching positions) on a relatively low pay scale? By treating line workers as unimportant and keeping their saleries at below market levels it looks like the report was trying to make outsourcing a preferred option. I'd like to know what companies like First Student and the facilities maintenance contractors think of organizations like Broad.

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