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Cerf’s Up: How Privatization Will Wipe Out Public Education In New Jersey (Part 2)

PhotoFriday Challenge ~ 'Private'

"PhotoFriday Challenge ~ 'Private' by suesviews, on Flickr

As discussed in Part 1, privatizing Public education or “school choice” in New Jersey is all about the dollars.

So I’ll ask the question I always ask when analyzing any political activity, Qui Bono?  Who benefits?

The answer may not be so surprising.

One of the beneficiaries is Joel Klein, mentor to and former employer of acting Education Commissioner Cerf, who recently left his post as Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education to join News Corporation. For the uninitiated, News Corporation is the parent company of Fox Broadcasting Company and is run by billionaire conservative activist Rupert Murdoch.

In November of 2010, News Corporation bought Wireless Generation, an “education technology” company. Wireless Generation, now that rings a bell…

Oh yeah, Wireless Generation was the company that Christie hired to help him sabotage the Race to the Top application in order to stick it to the NJEA. In exchange for a botched application Christie shoved $500,000 of New Jersey taxpayer money into soon to be News Corp’s pockets. Let’s table whether or not it was known that News Corp was acquiring Wireless Generation. In the end, News Corp paid over $360 million which I would venture to guess took more than two months to setup and execute. Also hard not to notice the swooning coverage Christie receives from the Wall Street Journal – another News Corp owned company.

Either way, the privatizers captured some nice taxpayer money while providing nothing of value – unless damaging unions counts (and for them it does).

Who else is getting some of this/our loot?

Chris Cerf, back in the game. Remember that company he finally admitted he founded? Global Education Advisors. They got a nice piece of graft in the biggest game going on in Jersey “school choice” – privatizing Newark’s schools.

Global Education Advisors was hired by Mayor Cory Booker, an admittedNeoliberal, to create a strategy to privatize Newark’s public schools. Unfortunately the secret policymaking (democracy much?) leaked leading to embarrassment for all. It also raised questions about Cerf’s involvement with Global Education Advisors.

From Politicker NJ:

Earlier, it was revealed that [Cerf] helped incorporate a consulting firm, Global Education Advisors, that later recommended that charter schools supplant some of Newark’s poor-performing schools.

Cerf said that he had nothing to do with that consultant’s review of the Newark schools, and had no further involvement with Global Education Advisors. Later, the story changed as Cerf said he had done some preliminary work but had received no compensation for his services.

It is still unclear if Cerf was, in that instance, financially compensated – which is worrying to say the least. Given his habit of collecting and then cashing in favors it goes without saying Cerf will get something on the back-end.

And just when you thought we could move on to other beneficiaries, Cerf gets caught in yet another conflict of interest/”synergy” scandal.

Enter William Cox. Cox consulted/consults as a “senior adviser” for Wireless Generation or should I say News Corp or should I say Joel Klein. Cox is being paid around $20,000 a month toassist Cerf in transitioning into privatizing Education Commissioner. But don’t worry, this isn’t one of those rip-off the taxpayers and work for private business interests Race to the Top type scams. Cox is serving the public while being privately paid. Who is paying the $20K a month bill?

The Broad Foundation of course. Apparently that sterling education Cerf received from the foundations “Academy” in 2004 wasn’t enough to prepare him for his job. So they dispatched one of their key apparatchiks to wreck New Jersey public education from the inside. Also worth noting, the Broad Foundation has not only trained a few of Klein’s killers they also have given sizable donations to Klein’s projects.

Now on to one of my favorite beneficiaries; Derrell “Dangerous Minds” Bradford. When Derrell isn’t “hijacking someone else’s thing” he serves as the Executive Director for Excellent Education for Everyone or E3. E3 bills itself as “New Jersey’s largest school choice advocacy group” with a host of interlocking aspects such as  foundations, policy research, and lobbying. Like the rest of the lot E3 relies on business interests to fund their advocacy for enriching business interests.

For example E3 received $100,000 from the Robertson Foundation and the Tiger Foundation. Both are which were created by Julian Robertson one of the most famous/infamous hedge fund managers – good old Wall Street money, can you smell the “synergies”?

Make no mistake, those funding these foundations are on a mission; to get rich or should I say, richer.

Can’t you just see it? Think of all those IPOs, derivatives contracts, leveraged buyouts and insider trading Wall Street can do once the public school system is privatized and then securitized and then speculated on. Cha-ching!

What could go wrong? It worked so great with the housing market.

So the question remains, is privatizing Public education right for New Jersey?

Part 3 tomorrow

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.