Ralph Canty, a member of the Sumter School District Board of Trustees, addressed teacher morale in a “thank you” letter printed in The Item on Sunday, Dec. 2. I found many of his ideas interesting. He stated, “These times are indeed demanding and there are many vicissitudes which we must still subdue. Among them is the issue of teacher morale. I suspect that it is easier to find areas where teacher morale is problem than to find places where it is not a problem.” He then gives information to support his “thesis”: “In scanning the archives of some of the major daily newspapers (New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, Los Angeles, and Chicago) I found articles on the issue in every one of them.”
Randolph Bynum, superintendent of Sumter School District, is a 2007 “graduate” of the Broad Superintendents Academy. Created in 2002 by billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad, the Broad Superintendents Academy has come under fire by critics who say that it is hostile to teachers. The Broad Superintendents Academy is not certified, has no state approvals, and is not subject to any outside monitoring, yet it “trains” people who then take leadership roles in school districts. Let’s take a look of some of its other “graduates” and the districts where they served. Jean-Claude Brizard (class of 2007) was CEO of Chicago Public Schools from 2011-2012. He recently resigned. Brizard previously served in Rochester, New York. His tenure there was mired in controversy. Shael Polakow-Suransky (class of 2008) is the Chief Academic Officer and Senior Deputy Chancellor in New York City Public Schools. Joel Klein (Broad Foundation’s Board of Directors) was the former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education. John Deasy (class of 2006) is the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Alberto Carvalho (class of 2004) is the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Miami-Dade even won the “prestigious” Broad Prize. Finally, Eli Broad was a major contributor to Students First, former Washington D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s organization that advocates for charters and vouchers. Rhee also serves on the Broad Foundation’s Board of Directors.
I would like to share a theory of my own: Decreased teacher morale can be directly correlated with the top down, punitive leadership style of Broad superintendents. I only hope that our local school board will read beyond the headlines, do some research, and began to understand the Broad Foundation’s role in corporate education reform schemes that are wreaking havoc on our nation’s schools, teachers and children. For more detailed information, go the following link: http://parentsacrossamerica.org/a-guide-to-the-broad-foundations-training-programs-and-policies/