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A road map for addressing the Broad Foundation influence in SPS

Page history last edited by joan@mathascent.org 12 years, 1 month ago

This workspace: http://BroadFoundationInSeattle.pbworks.com

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Related pages:  Comments on A Road Map---


This is the text of a draft email


The intent is to get a number of signatories, send this to every School Board Director. and read this at the next school board meeting.


Please let me know if you would like to be a signatory....click here

To request to be a "user" or editor of this workspace...click here

May --x--  2010


Dear Director of Seattle Public Schools,


It is now well established, and now fairly widely known, that the Broad Foundation is having a profound influence on District leadership, policy, and direction.  My co-activists and I have compiled a tremendous amount of evidence on this.  Any one who dismisses this influence as "conspiracy theory" is either in denial or has willfully or otherwise not bothered to look at the evidence. It takes little effort now to evaulate this question, due to the diligent work of my colleagues. So, having established that the Broad Foundation is strongly influencing the direction of SPS, then the question is this: 


                                                   "Does the community want this influence?"




Toward making a reasoned decision as to whether the Broad Foundation's influence in SPS ought to be welcomed or rejected by the School Board: 


Here is a suggestion for a three activies that will help the school board to answer the big question, "Does the community want the continuation of the Broad Foundation's influence in Seattle Public Schools?"  A fourth activity is a follow up action that would be undertaken if and only if the Board finds that the continued influence of the Broad Foundation is undesirable.


I am certain that there are community members who would be more than happy to assist the School Board in these three activites, were the School Board to decide to undertake these.  The second activity might best be carried out in part by having a public forum, with recommended pre-reading, and then a follow-up survey for attendees. 


Activity One:  The School Board will develop a complete, concise, accurate statement that characterizes the goals and means of the Broad Foundation and their ally organizations.


For community members and their representatives (the Directors) to think contemplate whether allowing the Broad Foundation (and their ally organizations) to continue to influence SPS, it is necessary for primary stakeholders (parents of enrolled children) and their representatives (the Directors) to form an accurate udnerstanding of the goals and means of this organization.


It is not difficult to find this out, especially because of the work that my colleagues have done. In fact, one can learn a great deal about the goals and means of the Broad Foundation by looking first at the Broad Foundation's annual report  [http://www.broadfoundation.org/foundation_report.html], and then by studying the materials on the www.broadurbanprize.org website. At the latter URL we find out what to the Broad Foundation are the characteristics of an exemplary school district. Here we can find out, implicitly, what is the Broad Foundation's vision for Seattle Public Schools.


Activity Two:  The School Board will evaluate the alignment of the Broad Foundation's agenda for large urban public school systems with the community's agenda.


Does the Broad Foundation's vision for Seattle Public Schools fully accord with the values and priorities of especially the parents of children who are enrolled in?


We do not yet know the answer to this question. We do know that there are many parent activists that have made extraordinary efforts to understand what the Broad Foundation's probable vision for SPS is, and these activists are strongly opposed to this influence. 


If we were to survey the broad community, then I think we would get a much more mixed message. If we were to limit the survey to people who had at least reviewed the two sources I mentioned, and who have been told about the best practices literature around High Stakes Testing and Federal Models of School Restructuring , then I suspect the survey results would show respondents to be strongly opposed to the Broad's influence.


Activity Three:  The School Board will evaluate alignment of Broad Foundation means with genuine best practices in education


Does the Broad Foundation's vision for Seattle Public Schools accord as best as one could hope genuine best practices in education?

Probably the two central priorities of the Broad Foundation, and of education reform" in general, are these:
1. Establish High Stakes Testing as modus operandi. 
2. Encourage districts, states, and the federal govemenment to enthusiastic embrace the four Models of School Restructuring defined in the Race to the Top Final Program Announcement  (Federal Register, Nov 12, 2009). 
[It so happens that without high stakes testing, the ends of Education Reform are not achievable.  Without districts being pressured or being enthusiastic about the Federal models of school restructuring, reform of schools according to the Ed Reform model is pointless, since one of the central goals of Ed Reform is to deliver public dollars into private hands, most notably through the vehicle of charter schools having high proportions of Title-1 eligible students (eligibility for Title 1 funds increases a charter school's profitability).]
I would argue that in so far as the Broad Foundation is pushing a thoroughly discredited high stakes testing regime and active pursuit of non-proven school turnaround models in Seattle Public Schools, we can say that the Broad Foundation's means DO NOT accord with genuine best practices in education.


It seems to me that on the basis of the illegitimacy of High Stakes Testing alone, it is highly justified, and even necessary I would say - regardless of public opinion -, for the Board to expel the Broad Foundation's agents of reform, and to reject any funding from the Broad Foundation and their allies, that have high stakes testing strings attached.


Activity Four:  The School Board will, with the help of community activists, write and implement a plan for disenfranchising the Broad Foundation and its agents.
Of course, this last activity would not be undertaken unless the School Board determines that the continued influence of the Broad Foundation and their allies is undesirable.




I hope that this suggestion is helpful.


Please feel free to call me if you have an questions or, if you like help from me and my colleagues should you endeavor as a Board to implement or refine this road map.


My cell phone number is 206 307 7137.



Best regards,


 Joan Sias


Mother of two Seattle Public School students.Activist for high quality public education for all.

Activist against corporatist regressive education reform.

Associate of Seattle-Ed 2010  and Seattle Shadow School Board.

Editor of  http://BroadFoundationInSPS.pbworks.org http://RaceToTheTop.pbworks.com and other related workspaces.


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