Testimony of Diane Payne to the Board of Education, August 15, 2019

I am requesting that Board members resoundingly vote no on Action Items 16 and 17 approving 4 Broad Fellow positions. It is alarming and shocking that our administration is promoting even more influence by the Broad Foundation. When I read these two Items, I felt equal measures of anger and overwhelming sadness. It is even more alarming that District personnel allowed these Fellows to begin working BEFORE the Board approved the Action Item. What kind of back door maneuver is being employed? This is not some mundane organization. Eli Broad’s vast wealth and power have enabled him to expand his personal vision of what education should look like based on his political ideology containing no principles of pedagogy, child development, psychology, or the common good.

By way of the vast wealth at the Broad Foundation fingertips, Eli Broad has managed to force his view of a corporate business model of education across the country. His wealth and power have allowed him to establish his own version of a training program that is unaccredited but still manages to have a public standing. His contempt for both Democratic principles and the protections of organized labor are no secret.

The A.I. noted a need for the Fellows to spearhead important projects for both the Chief Academic Officer (which is not a position on the District Leadership page so I assume it is the Chief of Academic Support, Savoy-Brooks) and the Chief Operating Officer, Danielle Floyd. No information was provided for these projects. I am asking the Board to respond to two questions. Why is the information on this Action Item lacking the details needed to fully explain these Fellow positions and where can the public access the nature of these important projects? Where can the public find the guidelines for when, how, and under what circumstances District administration can begin a position or action before Board approval?

These two resolutions go to the heart of Philadelphia’s philosophy of education. Are we going to embrace the philosophy and footprint of corporate ideologues or do we support a mission of raising up the democratic process, our own pedagogical expertise, social justice, and the rights, benefits, stability, and protections of organized labor? We all support Anchor Goals I, 2, and 3 but how we get there matters and it matter a lot. If you have not already, please read the attached link on Eli Broad.
I would like to know how I can expect to receive answers to my questions and I literally beg you to vote NO on these items!