We are Brick City
“Stand in Newark and you see and feel the dynamic change, the power and potential, you see that the future of America is happening here. We are not the Big Apple or Atlanta’s Georgia Peach. We are America’s Brick City — and this isn’t about our architecture. We’re Brick City because we’re tough, we’re resilient, we’re strong, we’re enduring and, most importantly, when we come together there’s nothing we can’t create.”
— Cory A. Booker
New Jersey, home of the Sopranos continues its political and economic assault on education with weapons of fiancial destruction. It’s the big game now, Bertolt Brecht wrote it - it’s Mack the Knife!
I offer the following excerpt as a metaphor for understanding the the metastazing of the capitalist system into the daily lives of working people. Charter schools again, for it is the minds they must control, the minds that are the real real estate. Colonize them, secure protection against rebellion and continue on profiting off social lives, human lives.
Excerpts from Brecht’s Stories of Mr. Keuner, translated by Martin Chalmers (City Lights, 2001). Copyright 2001 by Stefan S. Brecht.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), author of The Threepenny Opera, Mother Courage and many other provocative plays, poems and theoretical writings, composed his Mr. Keuner anecdotes at odd moments from the 1920s through the 1950s.
If sharks were men
“If sharks were men,” Mr. K. was asked by his landlady’s little girl, “would they be nicer to the little fishes?”
“Certainly,” he said. “If sharks were men, they would build enormous boxes in the ocean for the little fish, with all kinds of food inside, both vegetable and animal. They would take care that the boxes always had fresh water, and in general they would make all kinds of sanitary arrangements. If, for example, a little fish were to injure a fin, it would immediately be bandaged, so that it would not die and be lost to the sharks before its time. So that the little fish would not become melancholy, there would be big water festivals from time to time; because cheerful fish taste better than melancholy ones.
“There would, of course, also be schools in the big boxes. In these schools the little fish would learn how to swim into the sharks’ jaws. They would need to know geography, for example, so that they could find the big sharks, who lie idly around somewhere. The principal subject would, of course, be the moral education of the little fish. They would be taught that it would be the best and most beautiful thing in the world if a little fish sacrificed itself cheerfully and that they all had to believe the sharks, especially when the latter said they were providing for a beautiful future. The little fish would be taught that this future is assured only if they learned obedience. The little fish had to beware of all base, materialist, egotistical and Marxist inclinations, and if one of their number betrayed such inclinations they had to report it to the sharks immediately.
“If sharks were men, they would, of course, also wage wars against one another, in order to conquer other fish boxes and other little fish. The wars would be waged by their own little fish. They would teach their little fish that there was an enormous difference between themselves and the little fish belonging to the other sharks. Little fish, they would announce, are well known to be mute, but they are silent in quite different languages and hence find it impossible to understand one another. Each little fish that, in a war, killed a couple of other little fish, enemy ones, silent in their own language, would have a little order made of seaweed pinned to it and be awarded the title of hero.
“If sharks were men, there would, of course, also be art. There would be beautiful pictures, in which the sharks’ teeth would be portrayed in magnificent colors and their jaws as pure pleasure gardens, in which one could romp about splendidly. The theaters at the bottom of the sea would show heroic little fish swimming enthusiastically into the jaws of sharks, and the music would be so beautiful that to the accompaniment of its sounds, the orchestra leading the way, the little fish would stream dreamily into the sharks’ jaws, lulled by the most agreeable thoughts.
“There would also be a religion, if sharks were men. It would preach that little fish only really begin to live properly in the sharks’ stomachs.
“Furthermore, if sharks were men there would be an end to all little fish being equal, as is the case now. Some would be given important offices and be placed above the others. Those who were a little bigger would even be allowed to eat up the smaller ones. That would be altogether agreeable for the sharks, since they themselves would more often get bigger bites to eat. And the bigger little fish, occupying their posts, would ensure order among the little fish, become teachers, officers, engineers in box construction, etc.
“In short, if sharks were men, they would for the first time bring culture to the ocean.”
Lady Liberty Charter School, Mr. Finn, the ‘Minister’ or head of Culture for Lady Liberty Charter School, the rapper Big Zoo, Mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, the shady dealings of Bret Schundler and the New Jersey Charter School occupation
I will slowly, with the help of some very good investigators, soon uncover for readers the story of Newark New Jersey, Lady Liberty Charter school, The Newark Charter School Fund (a federal reserve bank for billionaires), Cory Booker the Mayor of Newark who is now running for re-election, the New York connections to Joel Klein, Bloomberg and the billionaires and how they hire charter school body snatchers to occupy and transform them.
I will also let readers sniff the skullduggery of Geoffrey Canada from the Harlem Children Zone, his Promise Charter school model, the Promise Neighborhoods, an idea that is sweeping Obama nation and his troubling rise as an elite backer of the new corporate vision for dismantling education.
We will also look at De’Sean Wright, Booker’s brain and second hand man (formerly with Teach for America), the mass firings of teachers that is currently taking place in a hostile takeover of existing charter schools by the political hacks from New York and the Bradley foundation among others. Yes, it is all there in the little city of 1.5 million people, where life is cheap and cash is easy if you are Cory Booker, Bret Schundler, venture capitalists and real estate interests working with Wall Street. But not if you are kids, parents and teachers. For you will be dragged down into the mud by these hooligans.
There’s more, so much more it would fill a book and I promise readers that I will have it sketched out soon. If I had more good investigators we could go city by city and find the same scheme. The corporate press will not report one thing regarding education, from O’Reilly to Maddow, from Olbermann to Hannity. Why? Simple. The plan to reconfigure education is of interest to all capitalists (GE owns MSNBC), be they right or ‘left’ and this is the problem. There is simply no coverage and I have been told that now, opposition to Booker’s election bid on Tweeter is down to nil. Black America also reported on April 27, 2010 that For The First Time in History, The Face of William Bradley; Shotgun Assassin of Malcolm X-El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, In a Public Safety Campaign Commerial for Mayor Cory Booker!
These people will do anything for money and power.
That’s bad news for kids and teachers, great news for the Bradley Foundation, charter school venture capitalists, hedge fund managers and their business cronies.
Where does one begin
It is hard to know where to begin. Should one begin with the “charter teacher villages” being built in a blighted area near Newark city hall, using gentrification and zoning changes with taxper monies the neo-liberal politicians dole out to their friend?
The villages are part of the ‘mixed use’ zoning project being put together by Richard Meier with the help of Mayor Cory Booker and the billionaires. The final version of the proposal is organized around two new charter-school buildings (one housing two schools) that are to be set on either side of Halsey Street, a strip of decaying and abandoned buildings. The apartment buildings, which will serve teachers working throughout the city and range in size from 17 to 66 units, will extend from each end of this central group, like limbs reaching out into the neighborhood (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/arts/design/04meier.html?partner=rss&emc=rss).
According to New York archicritic Nicolai Ouroussoff more architects are feeling the urge to give back. Just like those cheery capitalists like Gates, who dropped out of school or like Duncan who never taught at one or worse, shill Sharpton who dropped out of Brooklyn College. Ouroussoff notes:
“After a long period in which America’s greatest talents seemed to work almost exclusively at the service of the wealthy, there are signs that their efforts are trickling down to other segments of society. In New York, for example, Annabelle Selldorf, best known for the exacting precision of her gallery designs and loft renovations — and for revamping the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel — is about to break ground on a recycling plant on the Brooklyn waterfront; she may soon start work on another in the Bronx. Michael Maltzan, the architect behind the Museum of Modern Art’s temporary home in Queens during its last renovation, as well as homes for major art collectors, recently completed his second housing project for the homeless in six years, and is now working on his third (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/05/04/richard_meier_reveals_new_project_in_newark.php).
What great guys! Giving back a little bit for the kids while stealing from the public trough like pigs in shit.
Any guesses who might live in the new teacher villages? How about Teach for America, the reserve labor army that is being brought into the city with the clever help of De’Sean Wright, Booker’s main man? Check out Barbara Miner on the role of the buss loads of starry eyed ‘at will’ employees who will destroy teacher unions and thus the professon itself, handing it over to the corporate elite. Now we get corporate health care, corporate compulsory education and ‘vendors’ for curriculum, the Efficacy Inc. for ‘best practices’, and dispensed official knowledge drool driven by greed, turning teachers into corporate guinea pigs and children into rat driven slaves.(http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/24_03/24_03_TFA.shtml)
They are all very busy as you can see. They have their Newark Charter School Fund all set up flush with cash to lubricate the capture of cash (http://ncsfund.org/index.html), thanks to the billionaires and Mayor Booker back in 2008. The cash guzzlers have Cory A. Booker right in the palm of their hands, of course, he is pocketed: bought and paid for along with Wright. City by city it is the same, the black baggers snatch charter schools and public schools to assure they standardize them with their corpoate ‘Oracle at Delphi’ vision of ‘what needs to be done’
The ‘Don’ Kings’ of education are all over urban centers, from Detroit to Newark and they work hard, for those that pay them, while masquerading for a public increasingly divorced from reality and critical analysis.
The New York Times noted, when talking about the new corporate stores called ‘Teacher’s Villages that:
“Mr. Meier has gone to greater lengths than in the past to merge his design with its context, not just by breaking it down into several buildings, but also by using strategies like a pedestrian passageway cut between two of the charter schools. In an effort to diminish the monumentality of a building that houses two schools, part of it will be clad in white metal panels, part in brick. And the few existing buildings worth preserving, including an old red-brick factory and a two-story stucco building that houses Je’s Restaurant, a local landmark, will be restored” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/arts/design/04meier.html?partner=rss&emc=rss).
Ron Beit, whose name now finds itself in the top tier of Newark’s roster of developers, has won the city’s final nod to create a “Teachers Village” (http://tiny.cc/quq4l). He should stand to make a tidy profit off of public funds while citizens bleed, children go hungry and regimented testing — spread your cheeks assessment, rails on, funded by you, the taxpayer.
And so you have it; you can see it in all its functional literacy laid out as the business plan it is and always has been. Gussied up as a plea to aid children the sickening rhetoric and actual murderous politics of self-interest eat the public commons like private pike in a public lake.
This is the wretched zoning and land use changes that we call gentrification, urban ‘removal’ or in this case, just pure cash making using both public and private money. The billionaires get coin operated politicians like Cory Booker to do their work for them on the ‘city’ level (zoning, passing favorable regulation for dollars) while they surepitiously work with banks and philanthro-capitalists underground to disgorge public education and set it in an area where they can police it and then administer its deadly curriculum effects it like castor oil to kids. Teachers now speak of learning as — open your mouth and swallow. Hedge fund managers refer to it as “open your wallets and profit.”
Whenever gentrification happens you know it. First the politicos build a big police station; then they get rid of the basketball courts and whatever public housing might be left. Then the poor and disenfranchised are pushed brutally back. The working people are swarmed not by projects that will benefit them, but by fast talking businessmen who control the corporate media and most if not all of the wealth stolen from this country. They use real estate developers to give sunny power point presentations at phony public town hall meetings, if that, and then they secretly meet off-camera to build the new profit labyrinths that will lock down your kids and teachers in the new Walmart ‘villages’ where TFA teachers will hop til they drop. Uusually the burn out rate is five years, so fine. When they move out, hire undocumented workers, lysol the place and bring in the next bus load of ventriolquists.
The teacher’s union ‘leaders’ in New Jersey are doing little if anything to make their members aware of what is going on. They, like most part of the city and nation are either ‘down with it’ or gutless – they just cannot muster up the fight to wage against it. Rank and file eachers, meanwhile, are basically not in the know, but many know it is ‘rank’. They have to work all day with kids and can’t keep up with the fast-paced buck-billing-bullies who are taking over Newark and decimating the profession of teaching and the logic of education and casting the shells to the wind. Some teachers I have talked to in New Jersey know some things, but the story is so complex and being downloaded like one big ‘turd’ in real time - one sucker punch and you’re out, like the lights. You won’t even know what hit you! Tranparency and democratic decision making is what they mouth, non-disclosure and autocratic decision-making is what they do.
Juan Gonzalez of the NY Daily News and DemocracyNow reported on the Wall Street connection to charter school development. It is good he did, for it might now start to gain some attention and sink in. (http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2010/05/07/2010-05-07_albany_charter_cash_cow_big_banks_making_a_bundle_on_new_construction_as_schools.htm).
What Juan found is that using federal tax breaks to build charter schools is like doubling down on your bet in black jack and hitting a 7 when you have 14. All paid for by public funds. This is how the theft proceeds on under capitalism. The wealthy who tell you regulation is not good, regulate themselves. Like Gyges in Plato’s account of the man with the ring who makes himself invisible and then overthrows the king, steals his wife and takes the state (The Gift of Gyges), they are all gyges; for there is no press to make them visible, no movement to oppose themn bodies to hold them accountable and so Americans are once again seeing their public funds swept up in a bleary eyed hanky by the some of the same people who have engineered and profited from the Second Great Depression; they have counted on the fact that their money, facing no opposition, will win. And they’re right. So far.
But it is even worse than this. The Archdiocese of New Jersey has been renting schools, in the case of Lady Liberty Charter School for example, for $7,000 per month, thus getting both taxpayer funds and paying no taxes since churches are excluded. This has been going on for ten years. And it isn’t just Lady Liberty, as we will see next time you read.
It is very clear, and as I promise readers we will walk together to smell the manure, that the faith based community is another willing partner in the degradation of public life in New Jersey and elsewhere. Profiting from renting schools to charters is nothing new. But in the case of Lady Liberty Charter School not only have they have done it for ten years, it was just weeks ago the city “found the charter”! It had gone missing for close to ten years, despite many requests to see a copy of the school’s charter. Not only that, but it has been rumored that the charter school address is not even listed in the county assessor’s office as an actual address — that it does not exist on paper. More than that, the charter has been renewed now, with the same address as their site. Yet I have been told that their lease will not be renewed; so which is it? Will they be at the same location? Did they lie on the new charter application?
Former Jersey City mayor and now head of education for New Jersey, Bret Schundler
Do you smell former New Jersey Mayor Bret Shundler amongst the compost? I sure do. Schundler is the head of education for New Jersey now and the story of what I have stated comes out of a history of the use of for-profit Educational Maintenance Organizations by Schundler years before Cory Booker dreamed of being mayor. It has just galvanized in favorable legistlation designed to de-regulate the charter schools and open them up to the entrepenuers who years ago were clamoring and wetting themselves as to how all this will create competition. Sure amongst the elite. Who will get the contracts, who will be the vendors, who can snorkle in the anus of the rich and still come up for air?
We must start more than two decades earlier, when in the 1990’s what appeared to be a grand opportunity for privatization efforts through for-profit management companies was also catching the eyes of some mega-investors on Wall Street; J.P. Morgan and Fidelity Ventures are just two big names that had been watching the rise of the educational maintenance organizations (EMOs) with great expectations. And why not? After all in 1992, the United States devoted approximately 5 percent of its GDP to public spending on education (National Center for Educational Statistics 2003). Today it is far greater thanks to Arne Duncan lining the pockets of his amiguitos as they scramble to the Race to the Slop.
At the time, Paul Allen’s, aptly named, Vulcan Ventures was just one financial entity poised to seize the for-profit opportunity that EMOs offered by rounding up significant public funds for the creation and sale of private educational management services. Similarly, giddy with jubilance over the proposition, Lamar Alexander, a former U.S. education secretary and Republican presidential candidate who sat on the board of Leeds Equity Partners III, an investment firm specializing in the up-and-coming educational industrial complex, commented during what seemed the heady times of the 1990’s, “We’re on the brink of fundamental change,” (Slowey 2000).
Later as the decade progressed, Wall Street could not contain its excitement at further prospects of an all out and out penetration of the educational market and in 1999 Chase Capital Partners of New York led the initial financing of Advantage Schools, the for-profit EMO; they were joined by Nassau Capital of Princeton, New Jersey. Nassau Capital invests in private equity and real estate exclusively on behalf of Princeton University. Salomon Smith Barney acted as a placement agent for the financing in the case of the new EMO, Advantage Schools. Steven F. Wilson, former president and chief executive officer of the Boston-based Advantage Schools, was ecstatic at the time. In the minds of educational entrepreneurs like Wilson, the growth of charter schools was the key to assuring an educational market for EMOs and promised to be an enormous and profitable fount for the profit-driven companies seeking to manage these charter schools. Wall Street and the new companies that sprung up virtually overnight to meet the new ‘demand’ were obviously exuberant at the chance to capture public funds and get their nose under the educational tent, a goal they had been pursuing for decades.
Some NJ history: the EMO, Advantage, Inc. and Bret Schundler and Golden Door Charter
For an idea of how the for profit EMO legal arrangement and contractual obligations works with public entities like school boards, one only has to look at Golden Door Charter School located in New Jersey and the economic arrangement they made with Advantage Schools, a for profit EMO in the late 1990’s.
Golden Door Charter School in Jersey City, N.J., with the help of Mayor Bret Schundler, who at the time took advantage of the state’s charter-school legislation and worked to establish five charter schools in one of the nation’s most ethnically diverse cities. In collaboration with the mayor of New Jersey, EMO Advantage Schools Inc. implemented every detail of Golden Door’s curriculum and staffing in a record six month period of time. Golden Door, at the time, was one of eight charter schools Advantage had established in the late 1990’s and early 2000 across the country, serving a total of 4,500 students. Schundler the shill. He set up the water slide for the corporation to command a takeover.
Advantage stated that their goal was twofold: to improve student performance and at the same time make education a profitable venture. According to Theodore Rebarber, co-founder of the for profit management company, at the time:
We thought the for-profit culture would create the kind of discipline and focus on execution that non-profit environments sometimes lack. It also works well with our commitment to expand. We want to have an impact on education, not just one or two schools (McCloskey1999).
In September of 1999, Golden Door moved into a new $8.75 million structure that Mayor Schundler financed with public municipal-bond money. The public bond deal underwrote the cost of construction for the school and obviously saved Advantage millions on start-up costs, costs they would otherwise have had to bear as a private company. To buttress his decision to ally with for-profit EMO Advantage, the mayor pointed to a $30 million dollar public elementary school the city was currently building, evidently implying he was both investing in public education and privately run corporations. The public elementary school would serve the same number of students in the same square footage as the new Golden Door Charter School, the mayor argued. And it came as no surprise nor did it seem to bother many residents of New Jersey that the city’s mayor sat on Golden Door’s board when he made the financial deal; certainly a conflict of interest by any stretch of the imagination. The press even went so far as to applaud the move. According to Business Week, Mayor Schundler made what the publication called “a shrewd deal for the city”. Schundler even went on to try to rationalize the decision to publicly underwrite Advantage’s costs by claiming the public investment in the EMO charter really needed to be seen as an investment in a New Jersey community center. Why? According to the mayor:
“The building is a community center with a daytime tenant, Golden Door. In the evenings and on weekends, local groups use the facility. Golden Door pays the principal and interest. We end up having a community center for free, as far as the local taxpayer is concerned” (ibid).
But that was not the whole deal: By state law, Golden Door got only 90% of the $9,200 allocated per public-school pupil in Jersey City. Out of that amount, Advantage paid $1,500 per student in rent, which went back to the municipality, and then paid salaries, benefits, and operating expenses for the school. According to the mayor’s office, this translated into a 40% reduction in the per-pupil cost to the taxpayer (ibid). In 2000, Schundler, writing in a publication produced for the conservative Heartland Institute, noted:
“There’s more. The Golden Door Charter School educates children for approximately $8,000 per child per year, including operating costs, space rental costs, and staff pensions. By contrast, the Jersey City School District will spend between $13,000 to $15,000 per child per year, including capital and pension costs, for children attending any of the new school facilities being planned by the district to decrease class over-crowding.
Approximately 90 percent of the Golden Door charter school’s students are from low-income families and are eligible for the federal school lunch program. Most are considered “at risk” by the state. Yet 100 percent of the students who have attended Golden Door for a full year have progressed at least a full year in learning, and many have progressed by almost two full years in learning. Kindergartners who on average performed at the 24th percentile nationally on their Iowa Reading Tests in September of 1998, tested at the 39th percentile nationally this past spring-a remarkable 15 percentile point increase in just one year (Schundler 2000).
Yet in spite of its claims, trouble ended up ensuing for the New Jersey charter school and its EMO, Advantage, almost directly after the conception of Schundler’s financial business deal with the company. In March 2000, New Jersey’s education department put Golden Door on ninety day probation, ordering it to fix more than a half-dozen accounting and other fiscal problems, including running a $600,000 deficit on a $4.4 million budget the previous year (Greenberger 2001). This can hardly be touted as the “schrewd deal” for the public interest that Business Week would have liked the public to believe, nor could it be seen as a ‘budget saving opportunity’, as Schundler and his corporate partners promised.
So not only did the New Jersey City’s Golden Door Charter School end up with a $600,000 deficit in 2000 due to the management by EMO Advantage Schools, Inc., but class sizes were a third larger than advertised (ibid) and the amount spent on students went down. Realtors made money, administrators sucked salaries through a McDonald’s size straw and the city just deteriorated.
Now Schundler is the Superintndent of education in New Jersey. He did such a good job with Golden Door and Wall Street he got promoted and Booker took his place. Sound familiar?
Lady Liberty, Mr. Finn the Minister of Culture at Lady Liberty and Big Zoo, the rapper
Then there is also the little matter of the vice president of Lady Liberty Charter Schools in Newark, Mr Finn, the ‘cultural minister’ or ‘Head Master of Culture’ for the school. Lady Liberty never had ‘Masters’ before the zoo crew arrived and ignored the Charter’s Table of Organizations. He was just importe../cory-a-booker-rappers-big-zoo-and-new-jersey-charter-schools/d_from_New_York__Bloomberg_and_Klein_and_the_hedge_fund_ghurus.css) to help ‘run’ the cultural curriculum for the school for a salary of over $100,000 a year. The ‘Zoo Group’?
Finn is connected with “Big Zoo”, the rap group, but he never told the school this. Check out ‘Big Zoo’ and tell me if you think it might be appropriate for the curriculum at your school (www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKg4isEZ0jE).
Cory Booker has had “Big Zoo’ in public parks as public entertainment for the hoi poloi – bread and circus while Rome burns.
I promise readers, if you are poised and investigators can help, we can together study the ruthless occupation of public education by men like Cory A. Booker, Bret Schundler and now beefed up with the help of the billionaire’s boyz club who have their own fund, the Newark Charter School Fund. The legacy is long, the stink path paved, the plans already in place. Where’s the struggle to fight it? Or is the bread and circus of Big Zoo and the money bags just too heavy.
The ACLU is pursuing an inquiry and request for public information but the road is blocked and the effort seems feeble at best. From what I have learned, both Mr. Finn and a Ms. Samson, along with another stooge, were hired (also at Lady Liberty Charter), from the New York outfits. Is this true? The board of Lady Liberty has allocated over $400,000 to a handful of three do-nothings that don’t have the credentials to operate in the school system? Have they done this illegally? Why do they come from New York?
Is it true that the pair, along with another New York hack, were hired without a proper board quorum? The original charter that was finally ‘found’ after ten years (just weeks ago) says the board is supposed to be a nine person board. But they have been operating for years as if they were a five person board and thus hired Mr. Finn and ‘Ms.’ Samson (the other six salaried import from NY that runs Lady Liberty) with only 3 votes! All on your dime, all on their time. Glen Pinder was one. He is now principal of the school and as the times have changed now calls teachers into his office to pull down their pants, metaphorically, and take a swat. Where does he come from? Geofffrey Canada and the Promise Charter School, that’s where. More on this grotesque administrator later.
Teachers get the hit, the Achievement Network gets the contract
But there’s so much more, one investigator like me cannot keep my hat on for the ride. Sure could use some help, if anybody out there is listening.
There are some people listening. I have had contact with many teachers who have been victimized by this plan being hatched in Newark and likely to sweep the nation like a hard, cold Tsunami. Take a look, at the plan; it is overwhelming:
“NewSchools Venture Fund investmented of $1 million in The Achievement Network (formerly called Massachusetts Public School Performance), a nonprofit organization committed to helping teachers and school leaders understand and effectively use real-time student data – test results that are made immediately available to teachers – to improve instruction and increase student achievement. The Achievement Network (ANet) currently serves schools in Boston, New Orleans, and Washington DC. The organization plans to expand to two additional urban markets in 2009-2010, adding services in Chicago and Newark, and will serve a total of 70 schools. According to the Achievement Network:
“While seemingly technical, real-time student data has the capacity to revolutionize schooling, by giving teachers crucial information far sooner. Armed with that information, skilled teachers can reach out to students who are falling behind in their specific areas of need, while speeding forward those students who are already advanced. Today, in many schools, teachers administer standardized tests only a few times each year. They receive the results of these tests too late to make substantial adjustments in areas where students may be struggling. Research has shown that the consistent use of test data is a highly effective tool for improving student achievement. Teachers and leaders need real-time data about student performance to immediately understand student strengths and weaknesses and create interventions that meet key areas of need. However, many schools lack the capacity and necessary structures and processes to use data effectively” (http://newschools.org/about/news/press-releases/anet-2009).
The numerologists breed despair for our children and count their dirty money on their way to the banks, or perhaps the Caymans?
The Banksters move in from New York
The money that the banksters on Wall Street control have paid for television and radio advertisements, phone banks and some 40 neighborhood canvassers in New York City and Buffalo — all urging voters to put pressure on their lawmakers has come from huge Wall Street banks and is oozing into New Jersey. Why? Charter schools and the destruction of teacher unions.
The New York Times of May 11, 2010 noted:
“When Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo wanted to meet certain members of the hedge fund crowd, seeking donors for his all-but-certain run for governor, what he heard was this: Talk to Joe.
That would be Joe Williams, executive director of a political action committee that advances what has become a favorite cause of many of the wealthy founders of New York hedge funds: charter schools.
Wall Street has always put its money where its interests and beliefs lie. But it is far less common that so many financial heavyweights would adopt a social cause like charter schools and advance it with a laser like focus in the political realm. Yet that is what they are doing thanks to Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top matching funds.
Hedge fund executives are thus emerging as perhaps the first significant political counterweight to the powerful teachers unions, which strongly oppose expanding charter schools in their current form (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/nyregion/10charter.html?pagewanted=all). They have mobilized capital to fight labor and then in public complain about “class warfare”.
Sure, I wrote about the regal Joe Williams back in August of 2009 for Counterpunch.com. He helped set up pass-through organizations to aid and abet the distorted Al Sharpton stooge for Race to the Top. Williams was in on the fix that helped Sharpton avoid paying over a million in taxes his National Action Network failed to pay the federal government. Now you see Sharpton like dog doo-doo — he’s all over.
The Times went further noting:
“After hearing from Mr. Cuomo, Mr. Williams arranged an 8 a.m. meeting last month at the Regency Hotel, that favorite spot for power breakfasts, between Mr. Cuomo and supporters of his committee, Democrats for Education Reform, who include the founders of funds like Anchorage Capital Partners, with $8 billion under management; Greenlight Capital, with $6.8 billion; and Pershing Square Capital Management, with $5.5 billion.
Although the April 9 breakfast with Mr. Cuomo was not a formal fund-raiser, the hedge fund managers have been wielding their money to influence educational policy in Albany, particularly among Democrats, who control both the Senate and the Assembly but have historically been aligned with the teachers unions (ibid). Buy them off is what they are doing.
It seems that they have been contributing generously to lawmakers in hopes of creating a friendlier climate for charter schools. More immediately, they have raised a multimillion-dollar war chest to lobby this month for a bill to raise the maximum number of charter schools statewide to 460 from 200 (ibid).
They are linked to Lady Liberty Charter school in New Jersey as well. Pinder the principal, Samson and Finn at LLCS all came from New York as did De’Sean Wright in an attempt to carpetbomb the city of Newark and the state and arrange for the great charter school financial investments — for the kids, right?
The New York Times also wrote that:
“Before now, said Boykin Curry, a partner in Eagle Capital Management, who attended a breakfast with Mr. Cuomo, “A lot of hedge fund and finance people in New York had decided state politics was too dirty and focused on their philanthropy.” Mr. Curry, a founder of two Girls Prep charter schools in New York City, added, “I think there’s an awakening now that we can be a force in Albany, but we’ve got to play a tougher game than before.”
Politics might be too dirty but gobbling up education is a feast for these billionaire buffoons.
Mr. Williams, a former education reporter for The Daily News, has intensified his activities, hiring Bradley Tusk, who managed Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s re-election campaign last year, and top Albany lobbyists including Patricia Lynch, a former aide to Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, who will be crucial to the success of any charter bill in the Legislature (ibid). The corruption is truly mindboggling.
Summary (for now)
Facing little opposition from union leaders, with no national reporting by the corporate press and the teacher rank and file clueless about these developments, Gates, the Bradley Foundation, Fischer, Eli Broad, Walton, all the usual suspects are all moving quickly and stealthily with backing from Wall Street and venture capitalists looking for the next true bubble. It truly is like an episode of “The Wire” from HBO.
Bundled up as “hope” (http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/article.asp?article=1552&cat=139) these slimy little charlatans and purveyors of self-interests dress their gaudy gimmick up in charity and ‘work their racket for the glossy future of the Newark and their children’, when in all actuality it is capitalism sludging its way to a school near you to ooze into curriculum, confront teacher’s unions and destroy them, take personal resonsiblity for teaching and employ corporate ”best practices’, as we will see when we look at the Efficacy Corpoation and their synan0n like workshops for teachers, equipped with ‘Walmart group chants’.
School will now become not only a good real estate scam for sharp-eyed architects and dressed up money men, but the curriculum will become little more than advertising the American way of life, or should we say strife as children are robbed of childhood through testing regimes and reduced to commodities to be cannibalized by the robotic mentors of capital. This is purgatory for inequlaity and racism; it is the permeation of the state with plutocarcy.
In the end, it is all about the Obama educational plan, Race to the Top that lifted the pandora’s box’s lid. With their lobbyists, phone banks and door-to-door canvassers, the corporate pro-charter forces are turning up the heat by invoking the June 1 deadline in New York by which the state must apply for $700 million in education grants from the federal government in the competition known as Race to the Top, which promotes charter school growth as one of its ‘four assurances’. As the Times noted:
“The financial titans, who tend to send their children to private schools, would not seem to be a natural champion of charter schools, which are principally aimed at poor, minority students” (ibid).
Next time: Promise Neighborhoods, The Harlem Children Zone and the fraud that is Geoffrey Canada. Also included: Glen Pinder principal of the Canada Promise School and now head of Lady Liberty Charter School where his dictatorial reign leaves a trail of disillusionment and traceable clues for body snatching the school.
The issue: formal complaince withe the corporate elite who have black bagged out children under the legal eye of those who destest regulation unless it is in their favor and it regulates children and teachers.
People it is time to fight, big time!