Monday, May 16, 2011

"Back to school for the billionaires"

On another post Anonymous wrote:

BROAD __ Back to School for the Billionaires

“The setbacks had to be a humbling experience for titans accustomed to outsize success.

Broad entered the education-reform arena with riches amassed at two Fortune 500 companies.

Thinking his billions might make a difference, as he did in the Los Angeles arts and cultural community, Broad embarked on a yearlong investigation of education. “It was clear to me that if we wanted to have an impact, we could look at what others had done and then what we could do,” he told NEWSWEEK. “There weren’t many positive results that we could identify with. There was always pushback from powerful interests.”

Undaunted, Broad plowed ahead—investing in attempts to upgrade school governance and management, charters, and experiments to pay teachers for their performance instead of their length of time on the job. “We said we were not going to just write checks,” Broad said. “We were going to make investments.”

School boards seemed an especially ripe target. Broad began training efforts to get them away from what he saw as mind-numbing minutiae, like choosing paint colors for buildings or fixing stadium lights. The effort proved frustrating. Board members themselves, as he saw it, were often problematic; too many were well-meaning but not especially savvy parents, micromanagers, or excessively political.
Broad moved on to the front lines: superintendents, principals, and school-district management, ultimately spending $116 million on training people to work in schools and district offices, and another $71 million on central-office reforms and teacher evaluation, preparation, and pay schemes.

“Our role is to take risks that government is not willing to do ... People question my motivation,” Broad said. Not least is a growing unease with the prominent role of private foundation money that doesn’t have the accountability constraints of public tax dollars. “The fact that I don’t concern myself about criticism or pushback helps,” Broad said.
He’s had to take some lumps. Several principal-training programs, to the tune of $45 million, were a bang-for-the-buck disappointment; student test scores under most of the principal graduates did not meet his expectations.

He pulled the plug . . ."


Questioner said...

The artcle discusses how in some cases Broad involvement actually made conditions worse. Discussing Broad involvement in Oackland CA:

" Enrollment at many schools shrank, and the district is still plagued by a 40 percent high-school dropout rate. In lower grades, better-performing students are fleeing: a third of the kids who are deemed academically proficient by sixth grade are defecting to private, suburban, or charter schools. And at least seven of the 49 new, smaller schools funded by Gates have closed; others are hanging on by a thread....

The reform era also left its own financial mess. The officials imported during the salad days left Smith a $25 million deficit, including nearly $6 million in state fines for audit failings."

Anonymous said...

Are they leaving Pittsburgh too?

Anonymous said...

Not anytime soon ____ but we can hope that it won't take too long for our Board and Administration to 'see the light.'

Unfortunately, the majority of PPS has been 'trained' in the Broad way and Board members have been blinded by the PR, so it is going to take someTIME and EFFORT to disabuse them of the notion that Broad and Gates are the answer.

Anonymous said...

Let's OUTSOURCE Broad & Billionares
and just maybe that is one way to get rid of them once and for all so
that PPS might have a chance to survive or else there will not be any students left to go to charter
and private schools.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see if the major cuts PPS faces will have an effect on the Broadies and other positions that are "PR Fluff"

I thought of a very easy fix for a partial quick save. Slash the "Talent Management" department, they are not able to hire anyone so why not keep a minimal human resources department.

If it stays status quo, we know where Lane's priority lie and it certainly is not with the kids if she keeps central admin top heavy and redundant.

Questioner said...


This Broad release claims that under Mark Roosevelt student achievement was improved faster than in other districts in the state:

- As shown elsewhere on PURE's website, PPS achievement changes very closely mirror changes in overall PA public school performance; little if any progress was made in closing the gap between PPS performance and state of PA performance.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:17

The really funny part is that Human Resources actually had a job posted for human resources just a couple days ago!!!

Take the thought a step further: almost every school district in the commonwealth is laying off teachers this coming school year: why in heavens name do we need teachers academies to hire and train teachers when there will be a surplus of trained, available folk whose only sin was being less senior?