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How a Billionaire is Trying to Control Los Angeles Public Schools

How a Billionaire is Trying to Control Los Angeles Public Schools

Valerie Strauss

Eli Broad is a housing and insurance tycoon whose California-based Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has poured hundreds of millions into “transforming” K-12 urban education by training administrators and supporting charter schools, merit pay and other market-based reforms. And now, Broad wants to do even more, trying to lead a campaign to raise nearly half a billion dollars to open enough charter schools to enroll nearly half of the students in the country’s second-largest school district.

Let’s put it simply: people whose primary background is business are not, never have been, and never will be, qualified to evaluate, develop, create or implement good schools. They have ZERO understanding of the process and are only capable of reducing everything to dollars and cents, and their own little tiny concept of what constitutes learning. Because making money is glorified as the ultimate accomplishment in our society, they have developed an inflated view of their own worth. Not so. Stick to your cash registers! Leave the kids alone!


I was auditing a large insurance company in around 2005 and 2006 and viewed two annuities that were recently purchased which were over a million dollars. Guess who purchased them? Charter school owners.


MIT is offering free online degrees. All schools seem to be on their way to becoming centers for student interaction and other education that students can’t get online.

The only “magic bullet” here

Is the one aimed at the heart of public education


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The vast majority of the population earns a living from commerce and I have no doubt you would prefer they leave the education BUSINESS to you. But considering your business is incredibly wasteful, spending a 5x or 10x+ multiple (counting for inflation) over what it cost to educate our kids compared to 50 years ago with ZERO improvement in results…well, thanks but no thanks. Clearly, your distaste of money will inspire you to refuse your hyper inflated pension, right? I didn’t think so.
Here’s a clue: earning money is merely a measure of one’s productivity, and in fact a measure of one’s contribution to society. Money is the property that is exchanged for one’s labor. Dollars let us specialize our labor in areas/vocations that we enjoy and exchange that property for food, housing, recreation that may now choose not to invest our own personal labor to grow/build/create.
I’d get off the “I hate business and money” high horse lady. Business and that “evil” profit motive is the only thing paying for your salary, your pension, and your lifelong healthcare plan.