Saturday, June 14, 2008

Who's Funding the Education Quality Project?

Reformatted: Thread is in reverse order. Leonie in blue, Cantor in red.

GBN News discovers answer to secret funds for Educational Equity Project.

Sometimes all you need to do is put up a thread without comment. Do you need more to understand why just yesterday someone characterized Leonie as a true heroine of the education wars against the regressive ed reform zombies. Of course, Leonie would be characterized by the NY Times' David Brooks as a "status quoer."

From Leonie Haimson on nyceducationnews listserve:

See David Cantor's comments below -- on the fact that this Klein/ Sharpton alliance is being funded by an "anonymous donor" -- though apparently not by Bloomberg.

I would think that the kind of public campaign that the Chancellor is embarking upon, including staging "events at both political conventions” and attempting to influence the position of the next President should be obligated to reveal its source of financing.

David also questions my description of the press office as large and well-funded -- though I still maintain that is larger than the press office of any other city agency and much larger than under any previous Chancellor. I have an excel file from October with the names, salaries and positions of thirteen people employed in the Communications office, in case anyone would like to see it. Not that they don't earn their salaries, working overtime to cover the blunders and mistatements of their superiors.

David: two questions -- who is paying your salary when you write press releases for this Klein/ Sharpton effort and/or answer calls from reporters about it? Are you getting paid extra by this "anonymous" donor -- or does your official salary funded by taxpayer money cover your efforts?

Secondly, are you thinking of writing an expose a la Scott McLellan about your adventures in the land of Tweed when Klein's term in office is over? I myself would pay a pretty penny for such a book, and I bet many others would as well. Let me know if you'd like some contact information from publishers who would likely be interested. Unfortunately, I must turn down your offer to come fix your copying machine; I don't have any particular expertise in that area (not that ever stopped the Chancellor in his hiring decisions.)

Perhaps by cutting down on the high salaries of some of the top educrats at Tweed -- or eliminating one or two positions in the burgeoning Accountability office, you might be able to afford to pay a repairman.

thanks as always,

Leonie Haimson

From: david cantor []
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 11:20 PM
To: Leonie Haimson
Subject: Re: question for David Cantor: who is funding this project?

Leonie: The project is being funded anonymously. No public money will be spent. The mayor is not funding the project.

Re comments on your blog: If Class Size Matters ever wants to hold a press conference in Washington, the National Press Club room we used (Zenger Room) is available for $500. Also, I invite you to come over to the press office when next you're at Tweed and check out our "huge" communications "juggernaut" at work. I think you'll be surprised. If you're any good at fixing a copy machine we may put you to work.
David Cantor
Press Secretary
NYC Dept of Ed

On 6/13/08, Leonie Haimson wrote:

So tell us then, David, who is funding this, if not Gates and Broad?

I see that on the webpage of , you are one of the two contact people listed:

Contact: David Cantor - NYC Department of Education (212) 374-5141
Rachel Noerdlinger - NAN/Al Sharpton Media (212) 876-5444

USA today: "Neither Sharpton nor Klein offered details on the Education Equality Project, but said they sent letters to both presidential candidates Wednesday and plan to stage events at both political conventions."

So is this campaign coming out of our taxpayer money? In the midst of an economic slowdown so dire that Bloomberg says he is forced to cut all city agencies, including Education by $450 M? And/or is this project being subsidized by Bloomberg himself?

It's easy, though, to see how people including myself could assume that Gates and Broad were funding this. If you go to the Ed ''08; webpage it says:

Strong American Schools is a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, two of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world, have provided grant funding for Strong American Schools. Roy Romer, the former governor of Colorado and most recently superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, is our chairman and lead spokesman.
You click on Roy Romer's link and you get to:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bringing Equity to the Education System
Today I joined with New York City Schools' chancellor Joel Klein, the Rev. Al Sharpton and a host of other civil rights leaders, elected officials, and education reformers to announce the launch of the Education Equality Project. The new project will challenge politicians, public officials, educations, union leaders, and others to view fixing public schools as the foremost civil rights issue of the early 21st century.

Other quotations from press release:

"Our nation's economy and individual family income is tied to improving our skills through education," ED in '08 Chairman Roy Romer said. "Americans cannot afford to sit back and watch its schools fail our students. We need to raise expectations and opportunities for every single student, regardless of race, color, creed, or income. Most importantly, we need strong leaders to take initiative. Today, I am joining these influential leaders to call for change."

"Nationally, our public education system is failing to provide our students with the skills they need to compete for the best jobs in the global workforce," said former Congressman J.C. Watts, Jr., who serves as a spokesperson for ED in '08. "Too many of our students are not graduating from high school and too many who do graduate are not prepared to face the challenges of college, the workplace, or life. This crisis in education is destroying the foundation of our economic success and national prosperity. I am glad to join the bi-partisan coalition to sound the national alarm to improve our schools."

Bloomberg is well known for his generosity to many organizations through the Carnegie Corporation– see this today's news, about his latest contributions of $60 million: ( full list is here: )

All in all, very confusing and mysterious. Please enlighten us, David!

Leonie Haimson

Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 12:16 AM
Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Klein, Sharpton Ally on Achievement Gap

No Gates or Broad money is going to this initiative. Zero.

David Cantor
Press Secretary
NYC Dept of ED

On 6/12/08, wrote:

as I predicted, this "new" coalition will focus on charter schools and union busting-- not a word about the need for the critical reforms that have actually been proven to work to narrow the achievement gap -- like class size reduction.
This strategic alliance, or "beautiful friendship" as Klein likes to put it, appears to be based instead upon the ideological biases of its funders -- the Gates and Broad foundations.

Klein, Sharpton Ally on Achievement Gap

, Staff Reporter of the Sun
June 11, 2008


  1. Why does she seem to be doing the job that newspaper reporters used to do? What happened to the days of investigative reporting?

  2. Anon 12:39 makes a rather old, but still, highly valid point: NYC main stream corporate media universally supports Bloomberg's regressive education reforms.

    However, if one pays careful attention and gives thought to other issues as well, one would conclude that journalism no longer is permitted In the corporate world. It's all news as propaganda for the corporate agenda with innocuous reporting of selected events with occasional entertainment pieces to break it up.

    We need to pay a great deal more attention to the Bloggers.

    But, more importantly, we need to be aggressively curious: make our own observations, and ask questions and make statements (albeit skillfully at times), and then do our own analysis and synthesis to begin to formulate the true larger picture.

    Finally, we need to examine our own assumptions as they will grossly and subtly drive our actions and reactions.

    IMHO, just as much as Leonie, Norm Scott, the author of this Blog is also a true hero of the education wars against the regressive ed reform zombies. His Hawaiian shirt needs to be decorated with metals of valor and distinction. ;-)

  3. I guess I never thought I would be living in a time in the US when so much was censored in the press.
    I never imagined that individuals like Norm would be "a hero" for speaking the truth.
    Hawaiian shirts?

  4. Pay attention to the bloggers as a forum to circumvent censorship? I don't think so. You see, most bloggers who share Norm's viewpoint (Chaz, NYC Educator, A Voice in...) are active censors in their own right. And I'm not talking about censoring for decency, but full-blown, intentional weeding out of all viewpoints that counter theirs. As such, I've been banned from many a site for the capital offense of challenging the status quo which they hold so dear.

  5. Schmucrates,
    Yeah! I been banned too. They won't let me play teacher either. Boo, hoo!

  6. Why don't the other bloggers want to play with me? It's not fair!!!

  7. I simply do not understand why the status quo fetishists refuse to listen to my point of view. There is absolutely nothing wrong with white supremacy.


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