Billionaire Eli Broad, 81, is refusing to pay out a $1 million prize which was promised to the best inner city school systems, arguing the schools are not improving, at least not as fast as they should, the LA Times reported. In fact, Broad is not sure it pays to support any of the traditional school systems.
The prize has been given for the past 13 years, according to Bruce Reed, president of the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation in LA, who noted: “Over the past year he has become more concerned than ever about the slow pace of progress.”
Back in 2007, the New York City schools system won the prestigious prize, just when then Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a friend of Broad’s, was running for his third term. Ah, coincidences… Reed says New York won because of its “incredibly impressive results.”
The foundation and its namesake are more interested in different ways to organize schools, like the “portfolio model, ” in which schools compete for students and are expected to show results.
Broad is a Democrat, and has donated large sums to candidates running against the teachers’ union. Needless to say, he’s not very popular with teacher union leaders.
“The further he and his foundation stay away from public education, the better, ” Joshua Pechthalt, president of the California Federation of Teachers, told the LA Times. “Eli Broad’s track record on public education has been shameful.”