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

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Eli Broad's Robert Bobb Pleads in Court to Hold On to Bonuses

Wherever big privatization moves are happening in America's urban schools, you will find the hand, or the underhand, of the BBC (Billionaire Boys' Club). Case in point, Detroit, and the Broad Foundation, which runs its own superintendents' indoctrination academy that teaches the corporate junk yard dog style of ed leadership.  

In Detroit, the puppet in charge is Robert  Bobb (Broad Class of '09), who continues defending his case in court to hold on to the $145,000 in sweetener that he collects from Broad and the infamous Kellogg Foundation, whose eugenicist namesake, John Harvey Kellogg, was co-founder of the Race Betterment Foundation and an early proponent of clitoral mutilation using carbolic acid.  One other oligarch providing Bobb's bag bonus money remains unnamed. 

Surely Bobb was not to be influenced to follow the wishes of his patrons when he came up with Detroit's segregation/containment/cognitive sterilization school plan to increase class sizes in Detroit by shutting down 55 schools and to shoving out all the experienced teachers and cutting the pay and benefits of those remaining. Nah, no judge would make that connection.  From the Detroit News:

TOM GREENWOOD
The Detroit News Detroit -- Wayne Circuit Court Judge Susan Borman indicated today Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb is entitled to receive part of his pay from private foundations.

The issue -- challenged by the district's school board, a civil rights group and a coalition of teachers who oppose charter schools -- was whether Bobb was in conflict of interest for accepting $89,000 of his salary from a foundation that supports private and charter schools. Bobb receives $280,000 in salary and $145,000 in supplemental income from foundations for fixing the school district's finances.

"There's no evidence Mr. Bobb has any interest in these foundations," Borman said.

Arguing on behalf of the Board of Education was attorney George Washington, who said the constitution trumps the statute allowing Bobb to collect pay from foundations.

"The precedent would be the same as if you had the British Petroleum Foundation paying one-third the salary of oil inspectors," Washington said. "One-third of that salary is being paid by people who want to deconstruct the schools. They believe charter schools and private schools can do better. It's OK to believe that, but it's not OK to pay Bobb's salary.

"This has never been done before in Michigan. Because we don't sell public officials," Washington added. "As far as I'm concerned, this is one step removed from accepting money in a paper bag."

Under his one-year contract extension approved in March by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Bobb receives $56,000 from the Los Angeles-based Broad Foundation. The Broad Foundation paid Bobb $28,000 last year. The sources of the remaining $89,000 in this year's contract were not identified. But the W.K. Kellogg Foundation said this week it's chipping in $39,000 to retain Bobb in Detroit, compared to $56,000 it gave him last year. It is unclear who else is paying the remaining $50,000. The governor's office has yet to release the names of the other donors.

Borman is expected to issue a ruling next week.

tgreenwood@detnews.com">tgreenwood@detnews.com (313) 222-2023 Detroit News Staff Writer Marisa Schultz contributed

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