Friday, April 15, 2016

Eli Broad, Disruptor of Public Ed: His Ties to Hillary Clinton

Aren't you sick and tired of seeing students, teachers, and their schools bashed by billionaires who spend their money to attack public education?  Of all the deformer villains, Eli Broad belongs at the top of the list as one who purposefully plans and executes the destruction of public schools.  He brags of investing over $600 million in a "disruptive force" in schools that consists of reorganizations, firings, and other experimentation.  Broad superintendents and principals are trained to create chaos and subsequent "churn," attacking and firing teachers and their supervisors so they can be replaced with lower-paid and less qualified Teach For America interns or nonunion teachers, and inserting Broad-trained administrators who have aligned themselves with Broad's objectives. Those objectives include national one-size-fits all standards, deprofessionalization of teachers, the growth of for-profit charters that invasively weaken and take over public schools (with no financial accountability), and teacher accountability (i.e. designed-to-fail high-stakes tests). The result across America has been the firing of teachers, a narrowed Common Core testing curriculum, weakened schools (with some going into bankruptcy), closed schools, and destabilized communities.  

Broad's end game is the same as that of other deformers: Privatization of public education and advancement of neoliberal education policies that will benefit the 1%. His reach is extensive, with Broad followers "currently running dozens of state departments of education, large urban school districts, charter management organizations, and state-led education systems" (Broad Foundation 2013/2014 Report).  Former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan served on Broad's Education Division Board of Directors until February 2009.  

After Obama was elected, the Broad Foundation Report of 2009/2010 crowed that the election "marked the pinnacle of hope for our work in education reform.  In many ways, we feel the stars have finally aligned...with an agenda that echoes our decade of investments -- charter schools, performance pay for teachers, accountability, expanded learning time, and national standards -- the Obama administration is poised to cultivate and bring to fruition the seeds we and other reformers have planted." The same report also claimed that Duncan had no less than five Broad alumni working with him in the U.S. Department of Education.

Broad's program includes the Broad Superintendents Academy, which is not accredited, and has no printed curriculum or public description of the policies that are taught.  Fellows are trained in Broad's theories of management, and given access to published guides that help them to orchestrate school closings and removal of teachers.  Broad fellows, known as "Broadies" or "Toadies" to school activists, have wreaked havoc across the nation.

Recently, Broad made a move to enroll half of Los Angeles Unified School District students into charter schools over an eight-year period. Widespread criticism coming from the community and teacher unions convinced him to tone down his aspirations and his contributions. Now the plan is to provide seed money, not only for new charters, but also for "good" public school districts as well.

Broad does not hesitate to use his money to line the pockets of politicians, nor does he resist the temptation to use his enormous wealth to promote the candidate he believes would be most helpful to his agenda. His ties to the Clintons are especially troubling. The Clintons have been "great friends" with the Broads since 1983.  Broad was co-founder of the "Ready for Hillary 2016" Super PAC that has now dissolved.  He also endorsed Hillary in 2008, and he has donated over a million dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

In 2007 the Clinton Foundation website lauded Broad's charter schools agenda, stating it would have a "far-reaching impact" in Los Angeles and would create "a tipping point" to "improve the educational opportunities for all children."

In November 2015 Clinton appeared to have a change of heart regarding the charter schools she had always favored.  During an interview while campaigning in SC, she stated that "most charter schools, they don't take the hardest-to-teach kids, or, if they do, they don't keep them." The swat-down from Broad came fast and furious when he rejected a request for a donation to the Clinton Super PAC Correct the Record. Hillary's media people quickly pumped out press releases that softened the remark, while Bill Clinton and campaign manager John Podesta contacted Broad. Whatever was promised, Broad came out of the discussions reassured that Hillary would support the expansion of charter schools and test-based teacher evaluations. The  Broad cash spigot once more began to flow Hillary's way. Broad's direct quote was, "I think when push comes to shove, she'll be more like Bill Clinton and perhaps Arne Duncan than we think right now." 

Hillary has ties to others who use their money to reform education and push charter schools while weakening public schools and teacher unions. Bill and Melinda Gates are the Clinton Foundation's largest donors and also have contributed heavily to Hillary's presidential campaigns. She was also on the Walmart Board of Directors, and was somehow able to ignore the fact that Walmart employees are paid subsistence wages that are so low they must supplement their income with food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing. The Waltons have also pushed their voucher plans and charter takeovers across the nation, but most forcefully in Arkansas. The Walton family gives copious donations to both the Clinton Foundation and Hillary's political campaigns.  

In today's pay to play political environment, Mrs. Clinton and her foundation have been paid generously by education deformers. Hillary seems to be playing both sides and where she finally lands may just be up for grabs to the highest bidder.


  1. The Clintons involvement with Eli Broad started in 1983 and was a big part of Bill Clinton's promoting corporate education reform while he was president.
    Elit Broad and the Clintons

  2. Clinton: we “need” to “experiment” with “boarding schools”?
    Segregate “poor” children in boarding schools, “if we can do it right”?

  3. Thanks for your work on this Ken. Inspirational. Together we can bring this into the light.

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