“Since maximizing “return on investment” is central to the corporate model, the Broads prioritize large urban public school districts with either elected boards sympathetic to the Broad approach or boards appointed by sympathetic city mayors, as in New York City. The idea is to place Broad-trained superintendents in districts promising minimal resistance to the Broad agenda.”
In 2002, the billionaire, Eli Broad, established his own education leadership training program. Although he is the only person ever to create two Fortune 500 companies, Broad, who attended public school, has no other experience or training in education. However he is so rich, he can just institute his opinions such as his belief that education knowledge is not needed to run large urban school systems; consultants can be hired for that knowledge.
"In 2002, his foundation began to fund the Broad Prize, which targeted urban districts with large achievement gaps. It exemplified its founder’s philosophy of tying monetary awards to concrete results such as gains in student test scores. Disappointed in the slow pace of improvement, he suspended the prize in early 2015.
He also founded the Broad Superintendents Academy, the largest training program in the nation for urban school superintendents. Its more than 150 fellows, many of them from business, the military and other fields outside education, undergo a 10-month program heavy on corporate-style management techniques and have gone on to leadership positions not only in Los Angeles (Deasy is a Broad graduate) but also in New York, Chicago and other major city school districts. In 2019, Broad announced he was moving the academy to Yale University.
The wealth and vision that created these initiatives also made Broad a target of scorn by some education experts. One of his most prominent critics was education historian Diane Ravitch, who assailed Broad along with Microsoft’s Bill Gates and others as members of “the billionaire boys’ club” of business titans whose top-down reform efforts weaken the voices of parents and teachers unions.
“His Broadies are leading districts and states,” Ravitch wrote in her blog in 2012. “Some are educators, some are not. Some are admired, some are despised. But the question remains, who elected Eli Broad to reform the nation’s schools? He is like a spoiled rich kid in a candy shop, taking what he wants, knocking over displays, breaking jars, barking orders.”