Schools Superintendent William Hite - a 2005 graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy - is the latest of four Philadelphia School District heads over the past decade to have forged close ties to the Broad Foundation. Other Broad trainees served as top aides during the reign of Hite's predecessor, the late Arlene Ackerman - herself a "superintendent-in-residence" at the same Broad academy before coming here.
Critics insist that the unseen hand of the Broad Foundation played a role on this winter's dramatic move to close 23 public schools across Philadelphia - noting that the foundation in 2009 published an 83-page School Closure Guide, now no longer on its website, for large urban districts.
So just who is Eli Broad, anyway? And how did a megabillionaire living near the Pacific Ocean come to have so much influence over urban public schools, not just in Philadelphia but across the river in Camden, as well as Chicago and other large cities?