Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Friday, May 30, 2014

Zuckerberg's Latest 'Gift'

Fred Klonsky

Vast private donations have brought public dollars with them, giving America’s wealthiest people power over the  public agenda that some don’t think is healthy. -- Washington Post
I was interviewed this morning by CSM reporter Stacy Teicher Khadaroo about FB founder Mark Zuckerberg's latest $120M "gift" to San Francisco Bay Area Schools. What is it about the Billionaire Boys Club? They just can't seem to keep their grubby mitts off of public education. I wish they would stick to buying basketball teams.

Zuckerberg, the world’s 21st richest person, has a net worth that Forbes pegs at $28 billion. He claims that his $100M "donation" to Newark's public schools schools raised graduation rates by 10%. What horsecrap!
Where's the evidence?

We still don't even know exactly how that money was spent except that it was used to create a couple of new privately-run charter schools and that about a third of it was used to pay political and educational consultants and contractors through a slush fund set up by former mayor Corey Booker and Gov. Christie and provided a nice tax haven for MZ.

Maybe with Booker gone, new Mayor Ras Baraka can get to the bottom of it.

I told Khadoroo how Zuckerberg's 2010 "gift" helped set the tone for the continuing national erosion of public space and public decision making. I told her how the ACLU had to file a suit in 2011 to help local parents get records on how the money was spent. I told her how all over the country, power philanthropists are using gifts to resource-starved school systems, and in return, they reserve the right to effectively set education policy and funnel money to politically-connected consultants and for-profit programs.

I also told her to read our book on the topic. I hope she gets it.

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