Because anti-tenure superintendent Janine Caffrey - beneficiary of a public relations campaign paid for by B4K - was dismissed by the PA board of education (a tip for all you superintendent wannabes: don't accuse your board members of things you can't prove if you want to keep your job).
Doesn't matter that the literacy program had already started; doesn't matter the program is apparently very well-received; doesn't matter that the teachers had already spent their summer training in its methods. B4K didn't like that the duly-elected board dismissed Caffrey - so they withdrew their pledge of over $500K from this small city, full of immigrants struggling to achieve the American dream, and left the taxpayers and their deserving children hanging.
B4K is funded by two big shot Wall Street hedge fund managers: David Tepper and Alan Founier. Apparently, they sleep just fine when they pull money out of a district with many children who could have benefitted from a quality literacy program. Apparently, they have much more urgent places to spend their money.
New Jersey billionaires who seek to revamp the state’s education system are again pouring money into a Jersey City election, with a Far Hills hedge fund manager donating nearly $10,000 to the four school board candidates backed by Mayor Steve Fulop.
Alan Fournier, who founded education group Better Education for Kids with fellow billionaire David Tepper, has given $9,405 to Board of Education candidates Micheline Amy, Jessica Rosero Daye, Carol Lester and Ellen Simon, who call themselves the “Candidates for Excellence,” according to campaign finance documents made public today.
Fournier’s wife, Jennifer, also gave $9,405, which is nearly the maximum an individual can give to a committee of four candidates, the documents show. [emphasis mine]So: nearly $20,000 from the Fourniers of Far Hills to overwhelm a local school board race - just like they did in Perth Amboy last year. Just the latest in a pattern:
This isn’t the first time B4K and its founders have shown an interest in a Jersey City election.
Fournier and his wife maxed out on contributions in last year’s school board race, donating $15,600 to the Fulop-backed candidates who subsequently won in a rout. Meanwhile, Tepper and Jeffrey Kaplan, who runs Tepper’s hedge fund, each gave $7,800 to those candidates last year.
Meanwhile, B4K’s political arm spent more than $250,000 helping to elect Fulop mayor on May 14. Local education advocate Shelley Skinner, once Fulop’s campaign manager, is formerly deputy director of B4k, and now runs the group’s charitable arm.
All told, this year's Fulop-backed candidates, who seek three three-year terms and a sole one-year seat on the nine-member school board next Tuesday, has raised $35,360 in this year’s campaign, and is sitting on a whopping $26,659 war chest as of Oct. 26.
That sum dwarfs the total raised by the other eight candidates, many of whom haven’t reported getting cash. The slate of four candidates supported by the local teachers union, dubbed Children First, have only reported raising $2,160, almost half of which is from the campaign account of Richardson’s cousin, former Councilwoman Viola Richardson.So Alan Fournier and his
And notice that Shelley Skinner, tied to Fulop's political machine, is the one who was in charge of the donation to the literacy program in Perth Amboy. Of course, Skinner has been a political animal for years...
Regular readers know that the Fulop machine in JC is tightly allied with B4K, the NJ education-industrial complex, Chris Christie's education commissioner, Chris Cerf, and his reformy agenda. No one should be surprised Fulop is turning to his deep-pocketed allies for more lucre to fund his complete takeover of the JCBOE.
But putting money into the Jersey City political machine while, at the very same moment, pulling it out of worthy programs to help kids read is as cynical as it gets.
In a statement attributed to all four Candidates for Excellence, the BOE hopefuls note that donors contribute to campaigns "because they share beliefs with that candidate."
“We share Mr. Fournier's belief that every child deserves a high-quality education,” the statement reads. “We are advocates for the children of Jersey City. Our wish for our own children and all children to get a great public school education is not for sale."Oh, puh-lease! This is the same crock o' crap B4K's director, Derrell Bradford, pulls out when he wants to console himself that he's not just a political hack:
"The one really important difference is that the people we represent are the kids and the families," said Derrell Bradford, executive director of the policy arm of the group [B4K]. "I know everybody says it's all about that. We have no financial interest in public education, at all. Every other group does. I don't say that in a way that's meant to disparage anyone. We can be about pure activism because we don't have anything to gain from the success of the agenda other than that kids get better educational opportunities."You know, there's actually a cure for the septic shock induced by this sewage: a strong teachers union, working in alliance with concerned, knowledgeable parents. Fortunately, Jersey City has a great local leader in Ronnie Greco. And the teachers union in Perth Amboy have been the adults in the room during this whole sordid mess: they have my admiration and support.
Parents know their children's teachers are the ones who really care about their students. They know we are not the enemy. They know we put the kids first: unlike hot shot foundations who talk a big game, but put their money instead into politics instead of education.
Take as much as you need, Fulop machine!
Sorry, children of Perth Amboy!
ADDING: It's always good, when looking at B4K, to remember what their explicitly stated values are:
I think we all know who [XX] is. He is now doing exactly what he said he would - which is why machine politics is now front and center, and literacy is at the back of the bus.