The Manchurian Candidate
On Monday, I wrote a story with a quote that included a reference to a group of billionaires who embrace with missionary zeal the destruction of public schools in order to hive off as much public tax money as possible and capture it for private operators. One of the perps fingered in the quote was Eli Broad, who, as so many billionaires do, visits some of his largess on an eponymous foundation, The Broad Foundation.
It’s always touching when wealthy people give away money quietly, like the biblical widow in the temple did! But the widow probably didn’t have an agenda. Eli does.
One of the “missions” of The Broad Foundation is to “transform urban K-12 education.” That is just sloganeering, of course. But one of the things it did, um, do is set up a “private academy” for aspiring school superintendents. Because, you see, in all of America, there was no place that such an aspirant could go to get the proper entrepreneurial training.
One of the other things Broad did was write the playbook — and I am not kidding here — on how to close public schools by fear, guile and subterfuge.
But back to the superintendent academy. Broad’s idea was to send his acolyte graduates out across the land to preach the good news of public school destruction.
And you will never guess in a million years where one of them landed.
St. Paul, you say? Wow, you’re really good.
Valeria Silva is a Broad superintendent; there is a photo of her in a Christian Science Monitor article on the subject of the academy. The article includes this quote:
[Detractors] say Broad-trained superintendents use corporate-management techniques to consolidate power, weaken teachers’ job protections, cut parents out of decisionmaking, and introduce unproven reform measures.
And there is this from the same article:
[Sharon Higgins] contends in her blog that Broad superintendents are trained to aim for “maximum disruption” when they come to a district, without regard for parent and teacher concerns.
I will let parents in St. Paul decide if that rings true in the district. I think it might.
It does seem that the administration has the sloganeering part down pretty well.
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