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Eli Broad’s Last Hurrah in Detroit?

Billionaires like Eli Broad seem to be willing to go to any length at this point to usurp their power over others when it comes to transforming public school systems into what they think is best for the rest of us.

Robert Bobb

I have been following Robert Bobb for the last year or so basically due to my amazement at the bravura that he has shown in carrying out the policies of the Broad Foundation. See Bob Bobb, The Sad Saga Continues and Bob Bobb, The Sad Saga Continues, Part 2. It seems that Bob Bobb is willing to go to any length to continue with his benefactor’s agenda to have a charter school in every district and municipality around this country.

Unfortunately, Eli Broad’s desire to reach his goal seems to be verging on the point of fanaticism with the push to get legislation through by way of Governor Snyder that now provides Emergency Financial Managers such as Bob Bobb with the power to ignore union contracts, undo local ordinances and dissolve city councils and school boards.

And as Bob Bobb’s disastrous tenure as Emergency Financial Manager comes to an end, he has decided to close 41 schools and open them all as charter schools or at least as many as possible. This does seem to be Eli Broad’s “Hail Mary pass” before Bobb’s time is up and he is sent to another school district by Broad to basically try to do the same, see Brizard and Chicago, Goodloe-Johnson and Newark, and even Bobb and DC, to get as many charter schools as possible into the Detroit school system. It is to the point now that Bob Bobb is doing all that he can to lure charter franchises, as many as possible, to set up shop in Detroit. The lengths some people will go to for money. If it wasn’t so pathetic, I could almost see some humor in envisioning Bob Bobb putting ads in the Privatization Times begging for corporate privateers to come to Detroit, stating that no start-up money is required and promising all the money one can grab from one of the nation’s most desperate urban centers. I can even imagine Eli Broad offering Bobb a sign-up bonus for every charter school operator that signs on, really.

Eli Broad has stepped over the line this time and for him there is no going back, that’s not his style. It is becoming obvious to many that his idea of reform at any cost is way beyond what even his backers envisioned. Mr. Broad’s ego has gotten the best of him and what might have been a vision for him has turned into a nightmare for others.

With his Broad graduates failing, one after the other, it’s just a matter of time before it all crumbles. Unfortunately by then, between Arne Duncan, Eli Broad and Bill Gates, billions of dollars and much goodwill will have been wasted and we will be back to where we were three years ago just a little bit wiser, far more organized and with a clear shared vision of what our schools should look like.


7 comments on “Eli Broad’s Last Hurrah in Detroit?

  1. help us in Pittsburgh
    April 26, 2011

    The cities that have been victimized byinexperienced incompetant”superintendents” should come together. The destruction in Pittsburgh over 100 hundred millions in failed schemes, the destruction of at least 4 successful schools, it goes on and on. Our broad has been replaced by another broad(the Deputy, and NO search she was appointed) This must be stopped.

  2. Shall remain nameless
    April 26, 2011

    Don’t forget Pittsburgh. Our first Broad super has left (though he’s gone on to try to revive Antioch College, so other districts are safe for now) but his deputy, also Broad has stepped in. We’re already so far into his plans that there’s little chance of stopping it soon.

    Only thing in our favor is that our charter growth had been slow — the school board while hanging on every Broad/Gates promise was at least slow to approve charters. But, more and more have been approved and our district enrollment continues to drop.

  3. seattleducation2011
    April 25, 2011

    Many people are not aware of the scam that has been perpetrated by those who think that the person with the most money must also know the most.

    Once people are made aware of how they have been manipulated, the party’s over.

    I watched it happen in Seattle. People were very upset once they understood that they had been had.


  4. mattp.
    April 25, 2011

    keep up the good work dora!! we must continue 2 inform/educate the people. unfortunately, many of ‘us’ have sat around & believed all the CRAP these so called ‘ed reformers’ have been throwing @ us. our community (rockford, il) is in the beginning stages of recovering from our ‘broad supt’ (sheffield). we’ve got a long road ahead of us!! hopefully our ‘new’ school board has learned the harsh lesson of surviving the dictatorship that broad leadership begins to its schools & community?? what continues to baffle me is these so-cl=alled leaders continue to get jobs in other districts — w/ some hiring broad after broad after broad?? do we really VALUE education — i really have 2 wonder?? bless u!!

  5. seattleducation2011
    April 25, 2011


    That is certainly a colorful way of describing what is happening in our country.

    Broad’s success was based on subterfuge. His and Gates plan was to manufacture consent by developing faux roots organizations and pretending that they had nothing to do with the ed reform “movement” even though they had everything to do with it. Another strategy for Eli Broad was to quietly staff school districts with Broad residents and groom school board members as well as mayors.

    Both individuals have now been daylighted and people do not like what they see. Broad and Gates will not be going much farther because one thing that people don’t like more than anything is being fooled, hoodwinked, conned, gamed, whatever you want to call what they have done to parents, well-meaning individuals and organizations around the country.

    One thing that has been consistent when people find out about the games these two have played is a recognition that they were played. Once that happens, all is questioned and then rejected because the vision that these two had was not based on reality.


  6. Michael Fiorillo
    April 25, 2011

    You write of the destruction of urban public school systems (to soon be followed by increasingly poor, inner-ring suburban schools) by Broad and his minions as a measure of their failure.

    On the contrary it’s a measure of their success, for destruction (Smash-and-Grab) of public education and its replacement with privately-managed schools and infrastructure (with private interests eventually being given the infrastructure in sweetheart deals), along with a transient, ever-churning, at-will workforce, has been the purpose all along.

    It’s a measure of the profound degeneracy (and that word should be taken literally) of this country’s ruling class that they see fit to scapegoat teachers as a means toward destroying and privatizing a priceless (though highly imperfect) public good.

    Then again, they’ve shipped virtually the entire productive capacity of the nation overseas for decades now, often by literally taking the machinery apart and packing it in crates to be reassembled in low-wage countries, so perhaps it’s to be expected that they would now seek to extract as much “value” as they can from what’s left of the public sector. It’s little wonder that private equity characters are looking to sink their fangs into the public schools, since they’ve always been about sucking the life out of “distressed assets.”

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