To follow is testimony that I gave at the school board meeting this evening.
Much of the information provided was reported in the comment section of the Save Seattle Schools’ blog. Between the SSS blog and ours, I don’t think that any stone will remain unturned in our school district.
Regarding the School Board retreat that occurred last weekend, it has come to light that what was to be a retreat to discuss and reflect was actually a class in board governance given by Don McAdams, who leads the Broad Institute for School Boards, a national school board training program sponsored by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.
Mr. McAdams accomplishments in education precede him and are a reflection of the goals and agenda of the Broad Foundation. In the bio provided by the Broad Foundation, “McAdams served for 12 years as a member of the Houston Independent School District Board of Education .…during his tenure, which included two terms as board president, McAdams helped implement school accountability…, established charter schools, outsourced most HISD business functions to private contractors, (and) instituted…an academic core curriculum for high school students.”
In a paper titled New Patterns of School Governance by Ron Renchler, Mr Renchler refers to an article in Education Week “McAdams argues that a system of independently operated schools…would allow school boards to “govern more and manage less.” He believes that if schools were run by “individual nonprofit and for-profit organizations, cooperatives, sole proprietorship, and the like,” boards would be free of the need to focus on the details of how schools are run and instead could “set standards, provide resources, and demand results.”
In other words, simply allow the CEO of these charter franchises to manage themselves.
This sort of governance has led to disastrous effects in failed charter schools around the country.
If you were to take this a step further, in actuality, the Broad doesn’t think that a school board is even necessary. Cut out the middle man and just have the mayor run the school system with the superintendent. That’s the “new pattern” in school board governance that the ed reformers have envisioned.
Who hired McAdams and why? Why does the board need outsiders at their retreats? Common sense would tell me that between the audit and a vote of no-confidence by the Seattle Education Association on the performance of our superintendent, that you would have an agenda that would keep you busy the entire day without outsiders giving you a lecture on governance and particularly by someone with an agenda that is in direct conflict to what your constituents want.
We had Payzant, another Broad guru, guiding the superintendent’s evaluation process
We have McAdams advising our school board on their retreats and even have the directors reading his book.
I don’t think that anyone needs to come in and tell you as board directors what your job is. The Board of Directors Affirmation of Responsibility should be sufficient to provide you with the framework on which to govern, that and a good dose of common sense.