Billionaire Eli Broad’s Academy Is All About the Destruction of Public Education

by on September 10, 2019 · 7 comments

in Education

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

In 2002, the billionaire, Eli Broad, established his own education leadership training program. Although he is the only person ever to create two Fortune 500 companies, Broad, who attended public school, has no other experience or training in education.

However he is so rich, he can just institute his opinions such as his belief that education knowledge is not needed to run large urban school systems; consultants can be hired for that knowledge.

Peter Greene, the author of the popular blog Curmudgucation, framed this absurdity in his own snarky fashion:

“But Broad does not believe that schools have an education problem; he believes they have a management problem. School leadership does not need an infusion of educational leadership– they need business guys, leadership guys.

And so Broad launched the Superintendent’s Academy by ignoring completely the usual requirements for Superintendent certification or program accreditation. The Board Superintendent Academy exists by its own force of will. It’s kind of awesome– there is no external governing or certifying board of any sort declaring that the Broad Superintendent’s Academy is a legitimate thing, and yet, it exists and thrives.

“I myself plan to soon open the Curmudgucation Academy of Brain Surgery, or maybe a School Of  Fine Art Production. I have everything I need to make these highly successful, with the possible exception of enough power and money to get people to listen to me whether I know what the hell I’m talking about or not.”

In Pasi Sahlberg’s and William Doyle’s new book Let the Children Play, there are many anecdotes that demonstrate the fallacy of Broad’s education opinions. They describe the growing crisis developing especially in the lower grades and pre-school caused by a lack of play. School leaders frequently have no training in early childhood development leading one teacher to comment, “So often the people who have the most power to affect your teaching have no idea what appropriate, best practice looks like.” Another teacher reported sitting on the floor in a circle and singing “The Farmer in the Dell,” with a group of kindergarteners when the superintendent walked by and said, “You are going to stop singing and start teaching, right?”

School is a much more complex endeavor than running a business. A CEO at Honeywell can successfully transition to running House Hold Finance, but would find running Houston ISD beyond their scope. They wouldn’t even be aware of what they didn’t know.

Broad (rhymes with toad) is one of the billionaires driving a neoliberal agenda focused first and foremost on privatizing public education. Hastings, Arnold, Bloomberg, Walton, Rock, Fisher and Broad are all spending huge money for the cause. In the last LA School Board election, just this group spent more than $5,000,000 to capture the board. They all lavishly support both Teach for America and charter schools.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Rufus September 10, 2019 at 5:59 pm

Since California K-12 schools rank #40 out of 50 states, don’t you think that maybe, just maybe Eli Broad is onto something??

Public education may not need to be destroyed, but it sure needs to be shaken up, reformed, re-envisioned, renovated…something!!!

What we’re doing now ain’t working.

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Avatar Sam September 10, 2019 at 7:04 pm

Totally agree Rufus. Its a disservice to the students and the taxpayers. Nobody is winning in California’s educational system, except maybe the unions and corrupt administrators.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks September 10, 2019 at 9:01 pm

Bill Gates is guilty of this, too. And he’s having a huge negative impact with the private profit schools that are bleeding the shrinking available money for public schools. Just another prep school boy good at one thing, computers, and should keep his greasy hands out of changing public education to suit his ‘opinions’ just like this Broad character. We all certainly know how the KOCH Brothers climate opinions have worked out, don’t we? Same results; disaster!

As is Trumpie’s private school preppie Sec of Education Betsy Prince-DeVoss (doesn’t everybody know she’s the sister of Eric Prince founder of Blackwater Killers?). She’s so ignorant, and condescending, that the rather unflattering nicknames slapped on her are more than a little accurate. I won’t repeat them as unfortunately I don’t find them funny at all. Horrified that she fits them is more like it.

Just because you are wealthy does not mean you have the slightest clue about any other subject. ASK the freaking teachers, they know what is wrong! Education has been de-funded in this country in favor of more war and corporate profits (same thing in essence). It’s been going on for decades. More teachers, less ‘business’ of education, and cancel that stupid teaching to the test which only contributes to other corporate profits-seems to be a theme here somehow…or is it just me? What is it about these freaking billionaires and their power to corrupt and destroy?

I read something recently, don’t remember who wrote this (paraphrased), but it fits.

‘A healthy economy cannot produce billionaires.’ My thought is that we get what they pay for, and have no choice in the matter whatsoever. Isn’t that sad?

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Hopper Moss September 11, 2019 at 9:46 am

Fortunately for America’s children, Eli Broad is a billionaire, because a mere multi-millionaire such as Bill Clinton or Barack Hussein Obama, both of whom sent their children to private schools, could never afford to finance this heroic campaign.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie September 11, 2019 at 11:45 am

It’s “heroic” to want to crush public education??? Wow, talk about bringing up issues to distract – Clinton and Obama.

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Avatar Vern September 11, 2019 at 12:48 pm

Didn’t Eli Broad donate $20 million to a public university, Michigan State, at some point? The same Michigan State that was a land-grant university?
Back to Eli, if memory serves, KB homes were notorious for bad foundations among other things – Kaufman & Broad didn’t like what the 3rd party geotechs had to say, either. Or so the story goes.

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Avatar Jack September 12, 2019 at 7:10 am

Thomas,

During Devos’ confirmation hearings, Eli Broad put out some disinformation, where he feigned outrage over Devos’ nomination, claiming that her nomination must be stopped, since Devos was “out to destroy public education.”

As with many such pronouncements, this is done to trick Progressives into thinking that Broad and his allies were and are pro-public education, spreading the lie that private-sector-managed, unaccountable charter schools are “public” when they ain’t. They’re not accountable to the public, they’re not transparent to the public, and they don’t educate all the public — eschewing those most expensive and challenging to educate (i.e. special ed kids.)

Pronouncements opposing Devos are just part of the the wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing trickery that’s often perpetrated by privatizers, especially the ones out here in L.A. — Board Member Nick Melvoin, Ben Austin, et al.

Please, to anyone out there reading this. Don’t fall for this disinformation. Broad, the Walton family, Bill Gates, Netflix’ Reed Hastings, and all the rest are 100% in lockstep with the extreme right wing in their goals to wipe out public schools and teachers’ unions.

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