"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Broad Foundation and the Portland (OR) Public Schools

Below are two brief excerpts from an article written by Steve Rawley, editor of the website PPSEquity and a father of two children in the Portland Public Schools. For a little background, current Gates Education head, Vicki Phillips, spent a few years wreaking havoc on our already-fragile school system, but her ill-conceived and poorly implemented plans exacerbated inequities. Now, as we attempt to clean up the mess left by The Hurricane, it's becoming abundantly clear that the folks running our school district are in complete denial about the undue influence of the Broad/Gates Foundations. From "PPS and the philanthro-capitalists":
District: No Broad Influence on Policy
Despite the Broad Foundation’s overt ideological thrust, [Broad Resident Sara] Allan insists that Broad is not trying to push it on PPS. “It’s really not just ‘bring corporate America to the schools’ at all. It’s really very much a nuanced thing.”

Second-term school board member David Wynde agrees. He and his school board colleagues attended a Broad-sponsored retreat for in Los Angeles in 2003, in which Eli Broad addressed the attendees.

“There was no advocacy about policy content,” said Wynde. “They weren’t pushing a particular policy agenda. What they were pushing was [school] boards learning how to govern and what it meant to be an effective board, which is a good thing.”

...

"In Portland, one teacher, who prefers to remain anonymous, says she overheard former Broad Resident Sarah Singer joke that being “education free” was a major qualification for leading education system redesign."
Be sure to read the entire article, which also includes some juicy details about the wholesale lack of accountability for central office staff, including the Broad genius behind the K-8 fiasco in the district's poorest, high-minority neighborhoods. The discrepancy in educational opportunities was highlighted recently in an article by Willamette Week writer Beth Slovic, one of the few good journalists in our city (the rest tend to gobble up the diarrhea spewed by Duncan and his crew). Thanks, Eli and Bill, for your wonderful "donations" to Portland. Seems like the only ones benefitting are your employees and the wealthy communities of the city.

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