Freedom Rider: Newark Rejects $100 million School Scam

Submitted by Margaret Kimberley on Wed, 05/21/2014 - 00:56
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by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Sometimes, local political races have truly national repercussions. Hopefully, this will be the case in Newark, New Jersey, where Ras Baraka defeated a Cory Booker acolyte for mayor. School privatization was the big issue. Folks have figured out that “the very purpose of school privatization is to close schools and give teachers no more job security than fast food workers or Walmart greeters.”

 

Freedom Rider: Newark Rejects $100 million School Scam

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The people of Newark through grass roots mobilization and the ballot box said thanks but no thanks to Zuckerberg and his big money.”

In 2010, Facebook’s billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg joined Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker on the Oprah Winfrey show with great fanfare. The purpose of their appearance was to announce that Zuckerberg was contributing $100 million to the Newark, New Jersey school system.

There was a time when private donations to public schools would have been unheard of. Schools were well funded with government money and were accountable only to the people for their actions. That history is now passé, as rich individuals and corporations have snatched seats at a table where they do not belong. Charter schools have been foisted upon black and brown children across the country, and in the process fired thousands of black teachers, closed schools, and stolen resources from public education while simultaneously making profits for hedge fund chieftains.

This disastrous plan has gathered steam with Republican and Democratic politicians alike who happily jump on the band wagon and the big money that comes with it. A Republican president may use the slogan No Child Left Behind and a Democrat may say Race to the Top, but the end results are equally disastrous.

Charter schools have been foisted upon black and brown children across the country.”

The Newark scheme has been in the news lately because the people of Newark through grass roots mobilization and the ballot box said thanks but no thanks to Zuckerberg and his big money. Newark was vulnerable to the charter school confidence game for two reasons. First, its low performing school system was taken over by the state of New Jersey in 1995 and secondly, they had the misfortune of having Cory Booker as their mayor.

Booker’s rise to the city council, mayoralty and now United States senate is a tale for the ages. He successfully marketed himself to rich people and raised huge amounts of money for his campaigns. He might have been the first black president instead of Barack Obama, because as the New Yorker magazine recently pointed out, his wealthy benefactors loved him that much.

“They let Cory into their boardrooms and offices, introduced him to people they worked with in hedge funds. As young finance people, they looked at a guy like Cory at this stage as if they were buying Google at seventy-five dollars a share. They were talking about him being the first black President before he even got elected to the city council, and they all wanted to be a part of that ride.”

The ambitious Booker made a name for himself and became a prodigious fundraiser as one of the first black politicians to support the school voucher movement. He was backed by the Bradley foundation and Walmart’s Walton family and became the celebrity up and coming Democrat. Of course he would ally himself with Zuckerberg and Republican governor Chris Christie in the scheme to deliver the final coup de grace to public education in Newark.

Booker was one of the first black politicians to support the school voucher movement.”

The New Yorker story tells the sordid tale of how the $100 million was spent against the wishes of Newark residents. The One Newark privatization scheme was classic, consisting of pay for dubious measures of performance, layoffs of experienced teachers and a school closing plan. The New Yorker expose gives interesting detail but misses the point. The very purpose of school privatization is to close schools and give teachers no more job security than fast food workers or Walmart greeters. Newark school privatization succeeded in the way its creators wanted all along.

But Newark was having none of it. An unpopular superintendent, Cami Anderson, succeeded in garnering opposition a la the infamous Michelle Rhee. Anderson even tried to fire principals who publicly opposed her plans. The people of Newark made their disgust loud and clear last week when they elected city councilman and former public school principal Ras Baraka as their new mayor. His opponent, Shavar Jeffries, was backed by Booker’s Wall Street friends and was himself the founder of a charter school. The big money fund raising brought him a long way from early polling to make a competitive race, but campaign cash and corporate media fawning couldn’t put lipstick on the discredited pig.

Newark schools are still under state control and it isn’t likely that the Republican governor will loosen the reins. Yet Baraka’s victory is an important one in the effort to stop the charter school catastrophe. The next billionaire who wants to earn what he thinks are good public relations points may think twice before embarking on what may be an expensive boondoggle if the people make clear that they want democracy and not rule by the rich.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

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3 comments

"The New Yorker expose gives

Submitted by beverly on Wed, 05/21/2014 - 21:24.

"The New Yorker expose gives interesting detail but misses the point. "

These "liberal" media publications earn their keep by leaving out key pieces of info that tell the "rest of the story."  So-called "counterculture" hipster rag Rolling Stone and New York Magazine are notorious for their exposes which always manage to airbrush out the Democrats' evildoings.

Black people reject Charter Schools

Submitted by shbkyn6 on Wed, 05/21/2014 - 21:19.

Great article.  Black people need to reject Charter Schools.  They will not educate black students better than traditional schools.  How can they?   Charter Schools, code words for privatization and corporate  pocket lining.  They are a miserable place for learning with inexperienced teachers and a horrible school atmosphere.  The only way to shut them down, just do not send your children to these, Jewish corporations schools.  These folks do not give a heal of beans about black people.  Donald Sterling, nailed it, when he said, "Jews hates blacks in Israel".  They hate us everywhere.  The action the NBA is taking against Sterling, is because he pulled the covers from over them and their feeling toward blacks, which many of us already knew.  The NBA position against Sterling is because the Jews are punishing him, for pulling the covers, nothing to do with blacks.  Had he not said what he said, they would no tbe kicking him out.  Black people are going to have to make some plans, about what they are going to do about Charter Schools.  They cannot sit back and allow these crooks to close their school, and force them to go to Charter Schools.  They need to get with their law makers, and make their position known.  Set up home schools, anyone with a desire, and basic education can home school.  You do not need a degree.  Set up sites, and home school, until they see you will not send your children to these schools.  If black students, have been doing bad in traditional schools, it will only get worse in Charter Schools.   What have they done to prove to black parents they will educate your children better?  Most of their teachers are not certified, because they have to cut cost, at all cost, they are not teaching science in these schools, they do not have to teach PE, some in my state, do not offer transporation, and the food is of the poorest quality, it might be dog food.  Before black parents put their children in these schools, check their accountability scores, most I have checked, are not better than traditional schools.  Soon, I suspect they will cook the books, on accountability, if not already.  I personally do not have children in school, just one grandchild, I home school her three years, she is in regular school now, doing very well.  There are many, many home school resources online, and free.   Black parents who do not want their children to go to Charter Schools, you have many options, do not send your children to Charter Schools.

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