This is an excerpt from the article on this website "Who Is Eli Broad and why is he trying to destroy public education?" published on February 24, 2013.
The other part of the Broad Center for the Management of School Systems is the Broad Superintendents Academy, begun in 2002. It trains eight to twenty-five candidates per year in six intensive four-day sessions spread over 10 months. According to the 2011-2012 Annual Report (Page 24), from 2002 through 2011 there have been 144 Broad superintendent graduates.
A key part of corporate education reform is to reshape public schooling on the market model that involves remaking administrator preparation for education like the corporate model. Of the Superintendents, about half come from education, the other half come from business and the military. The Broad Foundation frequently pays cash-strapped school districts part of the new superintendent’s salary if the districts select a Broad Superintendent Graduate.
Looking at the toolkit of resources for trainees on their website, you find such things as their 2009 "School Closure Guide: Closing Schools as a Means for Addressing Budgetary Challenges". This 83 page Guide gives a detailed breakdown and timelines of how to manage school closures and community opposition to the closing of community schools. A favored tactic in various cities has been to announce a proposal for closing a large number of schools; hold community meetings to give the appearance of democracy, but actually for the purpose of using the information gained to hone their tactics for carrying out a list of community schools to be closed despite community opposition. Then they take a few schools off the closing list to give the appearance that they are listening to the community. This is a form of the common practice in labor negotiations where management proposes some draconian cuts, and then, when a compromise is reached with the union leaders, the rank-and-file is relieved that the cuts are not as drastic as first proposed and votes to accept the contract even though it is less than they deserve and need. The difference with school closures is that there is no relief for the majority of communities where schools will be closed if just a few schools are taken off the closure list. This school closure method has been used in New York, Chicago, and Detroit, where large numbers of community schools have already been closed. The closings are done in phases to transform large numbers of public schools into a private system run by charter management companies over a period of years.
The criteria for the selection of schools to be closed is a mystery to the community that is trying to find what must be done to the keep their community school open so their children do not have to walk or travel long distances to school. Parents are told their schools are not cost effective because of under enrollment (which are largely due to student transfers to charters), the building is too old, or they are given no clear reason for the community school being closed. At some point in the process, charter schools are offered as an option to distressed parents.
In cities where this process has begun, vacant closed schools are blight in already impoverished communities, or they are turned over to charters, or they are sold to real estate interests at bargain basement prices. This is the script being followed by graduates of the Broad Superintendents Academy all over the country.
You will not find the word "charter" in the "School Closure Guide". For that you must look at other guides and toolkits which have been created by and “for school districts and charter management organizations with support from The Broad Foundation to help with some of the most pressing and complicated issues facing school systems.” Most were written in 2009 and 2010.
These include Administrative Career Path and Performance Evaluation Guide:“This guide will help charter management organizations (CMOs) and school districts – and their human resources staff and line managers in particular – that are looking to develop a systematic approach to evaluating and promoting employees.”, Rubrics for Charter Evaluations, "Bain Chicago charter school involvement summary: 2007-2009", and more.
In 2011, Parents Across America described the management method of Broad Superintendents like this:
“Broad and his foundation believe that public schools should be run like a business. One of the tenets of his philosophy is to produce system change by “investing in disruptive force”. Continual reorganizations, firings of staff, and experimentation to create chaos or “churn” is believed to be productive and beneficial, as it weakens the ability of communities to resist change.”
Many of their Superintendents last only a few years in their highly paid positions until communities that want to be rid of them give them six figure buyouts which the Broad candidates are careful to have written into their initial contract. Frequently, other graduates of the Broad Superintendents Academy replace them. The Broad Foundation does not see the termination of a contract as a defeat for its overall objective of privatization of public schools, but part of “churn.”
True to the Broad Superintendent Academies undemocratic nature, the Broad Superintendents prefer to operate in secrecy and stealth. Candidates' graduation from the uncertified Broad Superintendents Academy is not listed on resumes. Usually only an inner circle of politicians and school administrators know of their promotion of the Broad agenda. In Philadelphia, for example, Dr. Arlene Ackerman sat on the board of directors of the Broad Foundation while she was Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia from 2008-2011. Ackerman had been appointed head of the Broad Superintendents Academy in 2007. Her affiliation with the Broad Foundation was not known to the general public and only came out after she came into conflict with local politicians over the disputed selection of a charter operator for Martin Luther King High School. Having poured money into charters and Renaissance Schools while starving public schools, she left the District with a $1 billion deficit over the next five years. On August 25th, 2011, she was given a $1 million buyout of her contract after threatening to reveal “secrets”. Her replacement, Dr. William Hite (Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2005) took office in September 5th, 2012. (For more details about Ackerman's conflict with the Nutter Administration, see "More about Broad in Philadelphia" on this website.)
During the year long interim between Ackerman and Hite’s administration, private philanthropies hired the Boston Consulting Group to develop the plans for the reorganization of the School District. On July 18th, 2012, the School Reform Commission, the state agency that has run the School District for ten years, allocated $139 million for 5,416 new "seats" in existing charters. On December 12th, 2012, Hite announced the proposed closing of 37 schools due to “under enrollment” at a “savings” of $28 million.
On February 19, 2013 this school closing list was revised taking off ten schools, and adding two more which means 29 schools are now slated for closure. However, it was announced a few days later that nine schools, including two schools that had just been taken off of the closing list, will be “transformed” into Renaissance charter schools, three to be run by outside charter management companies.
In it's 2009-2010 Annual Report (Page 5) the Broad Foundation said this:
Not all of our education investments have panned out the way we hoped or expected. One of our biggest disappointments was in principal training. Over the course of eight years, we invested $45 million to train principals in reform-minded districts across the country. We expected that intensive training would lead to notable and measurable student achievement gains in those principals' schools. It didn't in many cases, and we're not sure why.
The Broad Foundation has gone on to set up The SUPES Academy in many urban districts which specifically target principals to find compliant principals who will carry out its attack on public school teachers.