Cynthia Liu, blogging for the Progressive, reviews the Eli Broad plan to put half the students in Los Angeles into privately managed charter schools.

She describes Eli Broad as a master of “philanthrocapitalism,” gifts that benefit the giver.

Eli Broad is the city’s chief benefactor for numerous charities; his wealth comes from decades of real estate developments in the Midwest, Southern California, and from the insurance industry. He has particular interests in expanding charter schools in Los Angeles and nationwide. He appears to invest a lot in the city of Los Angeles but when you look more closely, his giving defunds the public sector and Broad ends up with the better part of the deal. For example: originally, Broad wanted to lease the expensive downtown Los Angeles parcel the Museum sits on for $1 a year over 99 years. Said one county supervisor, “Instead of a project that generates sales and property taxes, we’ll now have an art museum that generates no property or sales taxes and Mr. Broad will get the land for free.” It’s now leased for $7.7 million a year for 99 years, and the 501c3 Broad Foundation housed inside the museum still doesn’t put much by way of revenue back into the city ….

She points out that Eli Broad selected John Deasy as superintendent, then paid the salaries of his top aides. Why were they not on the public payroll? Whose interests were they serving?

Not only public education is at risk, but so is our democracy. Do billionaires really have the right to privatize half of an entire large urban school district? When do the people get to vote? Who will hold accountable the hundreds of charters that get public money without public oversight? It is time for the public to rally against this corporate assault on public education.

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