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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.
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.