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Newark Public School Confidential: Zuckerberg’s Millions

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Let’s start with a question. How do you lose $100 million dollars? You hire your friends. Then your friends hire their friends, and so on and so on. It’s like a reverse pyramid scheme– you know; a drain. The Newark Public Schools have been spending more money per student than any other district in New Jersey on education. Approximately $22,000. This money is said to “follow the student,” but the truth is the spending follows the student. Or at least that’s what’s supposed to happen. But for all the money spent, on all these students over all this time, the district doesn’t really have anything to show for it except pockets that look like rabbit ears, year after year. Strangely, it was at the height of corruption when the district had a surplus of cash– and that was when the district was being MISMANAGED! But now, in the able hands of the state and it’s appointed visionary superintendent, cash is as scarce as the consultants are plentiful on the state controlled district’s vendor roster.

It’s no secret that NPS uses consultants. Many large organizations do. There comes a point in an organization where it’s views become myopic and it requires an outside perspective or two. Like I said, no big secret. The big secret is how many consultants NPS is using, what they are consulting on, how much they are getting paid, and where– yes, where they are consulting from. For example, former State Department of Education Commissioner Chris Cerf was a consultant for The Newark Public Schools. It was his firm at the time, Global Education Advisors who “discovered” his old NYC Department of Education employee, Cami Anderson and recruited and recommended her for her present position as State Appointed Superintendent with The Newark Public Schools. Say– how much was he and his firm paid for that awesome job? $500,000. But you can be assured that this money pre-dated Cami Anderson and did not come from the Facebook money. All of that was Broad Foundation money, solicited by the Facebook money which would be used as a sort of seed money to prime the education reform bubble that was to come.

The Zuckerberg gift, as the $100 million had come to be known, was used to subsidize The Foundation for Newark’s Future, a philanthropy operated conveniently across the street from The Newark Public Schools downtown Newark headquarters, and fund it’s trust. This trust was managed by a venerable (if you could call them that) board of trustees including Paul Bernstein, chair of The Pershing Foundation; Jennifer Holleran, former director of New Leader for New Schools; Enrico Gaglioti, head of Equity Sales in North America for Goldman Sachs, and Cory Booker, yeah the mayor turned senator among others. So, when we look at it again, Zuckerberg’s gift for public education was handed over to a venture capitalist, an ed reform lobbyist turned entrepreneur, a wall street banker, and a politician. That’s not the setup for a dirty joke. That’s the truth. Among the board of trustees first order of business, was to start making it rain on everyone but the students of Newark in the first 100 days. The Foundation For Newark’s Future hired Tusk Strategies, a PR firm at the rate of $1.5 million dollars to develop The Partnership for Education in Newark, or PENewark. It’s purpose? To sell the citizens of Newark on prepackaged edu-ideology. That’s not a real word. I just made it up. It conveys what I mean to say perfectly. I digress. Following PENewark and a brief stint consulting for Newark Public Schools at the helm of Global Education Advisors, Chris Cerf assumed the position as State Commissioner of Education while his [former] business partner Rajeev Bajaj took over and collected another $1.5 million dollars in consulting fees managing the transition between interim superintendent Deborah Terrell and Cami Anderson. Where are we so far in the spending? Are you keeping track? At this point we are $3.5 million dollars into $100 million dollars. How are we going to spend it all at this rate?

No need to worry eager readers, $50 million was earmarked for teacher merit pay. So now, we’re at $53.5 million dollars, with just $46.5 million dollars left to waste– pardon me spend. Well, here’s where it gets interesting. Here’s where the really tough questions come up. Earlier, I made reference to the education reform bubble. In any boom, there will be carpetbaggers, novices looking to prospect and find gold in them ‘thar hills, wheat in those amber waves of grain in the western plains, or just your good old fashioned greedy ‘sum bitches. When Newark turned into boomtown, consultants came running. They’re still coming. How many do you think struck gold? In other words, how many consultants has FNF paid on behalf on Cami Anderson’s Newark Public Schools? What were they paid? WHERE are all of these consultants?

When it was Cerf’s Global Education Advisors, we know that in total, Global Education Advisors $2 million dollars. We know he worked at Newark Public Schools or in proximity and used his Montclair address as his company address. But what about the other consultants?

For 2011 alone, Kornferry, an executive search firm, presumably used to vet and recruit candidates for the superintendent position and other superintendent cabinet positions is based in Washington D.C. and was paid $162,823; Tracy Breslin and Alison Avera of Brooklyn, NY, both of whom live  and work together were paid $104,140 and $132,848 respectively; Patsy Glazer of Manhattan’s upper west side was paid $161,918; and Cory Booker’s own aide, Bari Mattes, also of Manhattan was paid $120,000, presumably as interim president of FNF until Greg Taylor was formally appointed. The roster continues:

Clohesy Consulting of Cedar Falls, Iowa – $11,590
Columbia University Law School Center for Public Research and Leadership in New York, NY – $42,500
CCT Group of Scarsdale, NY – $300,000
Civitas Strategies LLC of Melrose, Massachusetts – $36,343
Education Pioneers of Oakland, California – $86,000
Chris Cerf’s Global Education Advisors of New York, NY – $1,662,600 (as previously mentioned above)
New Leaders For New Schools based in New York, NY – $200,000
New York University in New York, NY – $40,000
Newark Public Schools Foundation in Newark, NJ – $250,000 ( I think this has to be one of my favorites just because of what it was named and what is was paid to do. It’s another foundation, but named specifically for The Newark Public Schools. It’s sole purpose is to collect money from donors. Again, I’m not making this up. Who knew it took a quarter of a million dollars to panhandle? The two homeless guys in front of the Cedar Street entrance do it for free. Terrible I know, but I say it for perspective.)
Redwood Circle Consulting from San Rafael, California – $27,160

A quick aside, how many consultants does it take to screw a district? Ok, back to the roster.

SKDKnickerbocker from Washington, D.C. – $66,234
Solomon & Associates from Newark, NJ – $87,800
TCC Group of New York, NY – $27,880
Cami Anderson’s former employer, Teach For America in New York, NY – $500,000
The Bridgespan Group in Boston, Massachusetts – $600,000
The Opportunities Project out of Brooklyn, NY – $100,313
Youth Build Newark based out of Newark, NJ – $376,250

The sum total of dollars given to these consulting groups in 2011 is $4,414,670.00.

What follows next, is a roster of consulting individuals for the same year, all except three of who received “An NPS Operational Excellence Grant.”

ALISON AVERA (as listed earlier)
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT )
$132,848

ANGEL JUARBE (was appointed as Executive Assistant/Affirmative Action Officer)
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT)
$27,500

BRAD HAGERTY (now working as Assistant Superintendent in charge of High Schools)
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT )
$22,400

CHRISTIE CUNNINGHAM (now Chief of Staff at Amplify Education, working with Chris Cerf)
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT)
$11,933

CRAIG CHIN (Broad Resident in 2011)
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT )
$34,723

DANNETE MILLER (appointed as principal between 2011 and 2013)
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT)
$8,500

JARRAD TOUSSANT
$25,000

KEDDA MAY WILLIAMS
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT )
$73,500

KIRSTEN ANDERSON
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT)
$6,570

LINDSAY KRUSE (Broad Resident in 2011)
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT )
$12,747

MIGUEL MARTINEZ
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT)
$10,332

MINDY PROPPER (recurring expensive consultant, left in 2013 to join Paymon Rouhanifard’s team in Camden, and returned to Newark in 2015)
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT )
$103,396

MONICA S ROSEN
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT)
$49,373

NAOMI P STREET
$12,000

ROSEANN HEYL (Special Assistant)
(TEACHER INNOVATION FUND GRANT)
$4,778

RUBEN E ROBERTS (Appointed as Director of  Family and Community Engagement)
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT )
$49,000

SARA COBB
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT)
$56,200

THOMAS O’DEA
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT )
$99,000

TRACY BRESLIN (as listed earlier)
(NPS OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE GRANT)
$104,140

The sum total paid to individual consultants as shown above in 2011 was $843,940.00.

I didn’t include all consultants and consulting groups. However, altogether, in 2011, FNF used the money from Zuckerberg to pay 36 consultants $5,258,610.00.

Whose job exactly was it to fix Newark’s failing schools? The politicians? The hired administration or the consultants? I’ve only written about 36 in this post. Those which I’ve written about do not account for the consultants directly hired by Cami’s administration. And while it may seem scandalous that so many consultants be paid so much to affect little to nothing, we ought to salute these consultants for truly exploiting a market opportunity. They recognized an opportunity and they pursued it. They are capitalists and they simply demonstrated their nature. If criticism should fall at anyone’s feet, it should fall at the feet of the politicians first, the superintendent next, and then finally at the feet of the teachers who let the opportunity be taken from us. On the eighth floor at Cedar Street there is a wall celebrating distinguished teachers who’ve been recognized as “Teacher of The Year.” Their prize was to have their picture taken with Cami Anderson and Vanessa Rodriguez. What an insult. What hubris! The suggestion, that somehow, the work these teachers do, and the commitment to their vocation is validated by their proximity to common charlatans in marginally bad photography. Individual consultants for whom there was and still is no tool for evaluation, however, each received NPS Operational Grants, and in some cases, promotions, presumably, as financial reward for their “outstanding work” moving the district forward. But meanwhile, teachers struggle to get the stipends they’ve been promised for extended learning time, afterschool and extracurricular activities. Teachers have to endure politically biased evaluations to secure an increment that hasn’t come in several years. And the students, they don’t get the materials, the supports, the educational expertise from real teaching professionals that they need. They get Cami’s poor lip service, Christie’s contempt, and Cory Booker’s indifference.  I asked the question before, I’m asking it again. How many consultants does it take to screw a public school district?

To see a full list of consultants and other NPS spending through FNF, download FNFs 2011, 2012, and 2013 taxes from right here.
Foundation For Newarks Future 2011 Taxes    Foundation For Newark’s Future 2012 Taxes     Foundation For Newark’s Future 2013 Taxes

Here’s the 96 pages of emails between Cory Booker, Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Cerf, Cami Anderson, Sheryl Samberg, Bill Gates, and a variety of other 1%’ers directly acknowledging that the money was not meant for the students.
Facebook emails


6 Comments

  1. Bette says:

    A shame….

  2. William Southerland says:

    Wake up Newark. Camille Anderson and all the other crooks must be run out of town, also the fat jackass in Trenton must go

  3. booklady says:

    Did M Zuckerberg intend for Foundation for Newark’s Future CEO & staff to be paid hefty salaries? Greg Taylor was making well more than $300K; not sure what his successor earns.
    Sure hope the district in California MZ is now helping sees more money benefitting students.

    • Mr. Outside says:

      Zuckerberg intended for the organization to be run just like a startup, which meant that he was willing to pay the going rate for premium CEO talent. Kimberly McClain, his successor does not have the same depth of experience as Greg did, so she is making a six figure salary that reflects the market value of her talents. I believe her salary is around $120,000.

      He’s on record saying that he hopes to apply what he learned in Newark as not to duplicate the same mistakes in San Francisco, where he is now focusing his philanthropic efforts.

  4. […] theatre. It is political porn; nasty, gratuitous and excessive. And there are a lot of people getting off on it. It’s disconcerting. Bob Braun wrote recently, asking “What’s Wrong With New […]

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