Thomas Ultican: The New Broad Center At Yale
Education disruptor Eli Broad believed that schools had a business problem, not an education problem, and he set up a school leadership program (complete with fake degrees). Just a years or two ago, he bought himself some legitimacy for his school by getting Yale to take it on. Thomas Ultican takes a look at how that’s going. Reposted with permission.
December 5, 2019, the LA Times reported “Broad Center to move from L.A. to Yale along with $100-million gift.” On that occasion, the well known blogger Mercedes Schneider described the Los Angeles-based “Broad Center,” which includes the “Broad Academy” and “Broad Residency” as a “pseudo-credentialing mechanism for would-be leaders espousing market-based ed reform…” The new Ivy League center has adopted Eli Broad’s philosophy while giving it a sheen of academic respectability.
On July 1, 2019, Kerwin K. Charles was selected as dean of the Yale School of Management (SOM). Evidently, while looking around for a way to secure his Broad Center legacy, Eli Broad found the new leadership at Yale SOM a comfortable fit.
Blogger Jan Resseger says the $100 million gift means “that mega philanthropist, Eli Broad is buying a prestigious institutional home for a training program he alone devised.” The development of the Broad program was quite stunning. A billionaire with no education training or experience just decided he would start an education management training program. Broad’s only qualification was his immense wealth derived from business.
Continues Anti-Public School Ideology
In January, The Broad Center at Yale SOM hosted a virtual forum for The Broad Center (TBC) alumni. Their report paraphrased Professor Charles as saying, “The 2021 gathering … exemplified how Yale SOM will draw on the expertise of TBC alumni as it applies its approach to education leadership.”
The inaugural Executive Director of the new Broad Center is Hanseul Kang. She comes to New Haven from her post as Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia. At the forum she stated,
“We will continue to draw inspiration and strength from what The Broad Center has been historically. Our engagement with all of you in the alumni network is going to continue.”
Kang was a member of the Broad Residency class of 2012-2014. At that time, she was serving as Chief of Staff for the Tennessee Department of Education while her fellow Broadie, Chris Barbic, was setting up the doomed to fail Tennessee Achievement School District.
Last month, the Broad Center at Yale SOM posted,
“We are thrilled to share the news that Katina Grays … will be joining The Broad Center at Yale SOM as our new Deputy Director for Partnerships!”
“As a Broad alum herself, Katina has developed strong relationships with transformative leaders across the TBC network. Katina has led high-impact work and complex initiatives in senior leadership roles at KIPP NYC and at the Tennessee Department of Education, and previously worked at the Connecticut Department of Education.”
At the January forum, one of the key presenters was Pedro Martinez (Broad Academy 2009), Superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District.
The post “Big Spending on Privatizing Public Schools in San Antonio” shares,
“Martinez is not an educator. He has never run a classroom or studied pedagogy. However, he does have a Masters in Business Administration from DePaul University and got his start in education working for Arne Duncan at the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).”
Yale’s Inaugural Fellowship for Public Education Leadership
The new Broad Center’s original seventeen trainees are comprised of 6-people from charter management organizations and 11-people from public education organizations. Naturally, the six charter school people are there to advance their careers supporting the privatization of public schools. Likewise, the 11-public school employees appear to be there to advance their own careers but not necessarily to advocate for privatizing public schools. There are two public school people that do appear to be angling for the billionaire financed privatization track.
Melissa Kim is Deputy Chancellor, District of Columbia Public Schools which has a reputation for facilitating public education privatization. She certainly had a working relationship with Broad Center Director Hanseul Kang in DC and is now in the first cohort training at The Broad Center Yale SOM.
Antonio Burt is Chief Academic Officer, Shelby County Schools, Tennessee. He appears to be on the fast track to a school privatization career. He is a board member of the new non-profit First-8-Memphis. It was launched in 2019 as the fiscal agent to oversee public and private funding for early education initiatives. Burt joins a board made up predominately of local financial institution leaders. First-8 praises Burt as an education “reformer” who has led schools to success:
“One of those schools, Ford Road Elementary, was named a “Reward School” (performing in the top 5%) by the state of Tennessee after having been performing in the bottom 5% of all schools in the state of Tennessee. Ford Road achieved this honor two consecutive years (2012-2014).”
This is not totally a lie; just mostly. Their misleading framing has to do with the “Reward School” definition. The reality is that Ford Road Elementary which serves a high poverty community does not test well and has never escaped Tennessee’s bottom 5% of schools based on testing results. The last evaluation report for the school in 2019 listed it as targeted for support and improvement.
The former US Assistant Secretary of Education, Diane Ravitch, recently wrote about the merger of the National Superintendents Roundtable and the Schlechty Center noting, “If your school board is looking for a new superintendent who believes in public schools, these are the go-to sources.” This contrasts to Broad trained Superintendents who have a history of bloated staffs, financial problems and are notorious for top down management that alienates teachers and parents. If your district hires a Broadie, it has become a target for disruption and privatization.
Significantly, Eli Broad chose a business institute instead of an education school to continue his training program. The Broad Center at Yale SOM appears to be in complete fidelity with the late Eli Broad’s privatize the commons ideology.