Newark First, an independent group of Jeffries' supporters, launched an advertising campaign Wednesday attacking Baraka's record of managing city finances.
The group has raised more than $1.3 million. Its donors include several financial executives and an $850,000 donation from Education Reform Now, a politically active education reform organization, according to its election filing report.
Wow! 850,000 from Education Reform Now!! What's that?Newark First has spent almost $425,000 on the election, the report says. (emphasis mine)
Why, inquisitive reader, that would be a 501c3 affiliated with none other than Democrats for Education Reform. You see, Education Reform Now's President just so happens to be DFER Executive Director Joe Williams. Williams is also President of a related 501c4, Education Reform Now Advocacy.
And in case you're not up on DFER, I'll let DFER Watch fill you in on exactly who they are and what they stand for.
Democrats for Education Reform is a political action committee supported largely by hedge fund managers favoring charter schools, merit-pay tied to test scores, high-stakes testing, school choice (including vouchers and tuition tax credits in some cases), mayoral control, and alternative teacher preparation programs.2009 tax documents reveal the direct relationship between DFER, Education Reform Now, and Education Reform Now Advocacy.
The same documents reveal a direct connection between Education Reform Now, Students First and Students for Education Reform (SFER).
The future of the fight over public schools has a fresh, highly visible face, and it’s called StudentsFirstNY.But the new school-reform supergroup, founded by former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and ex-D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee, is in fact not that new at all. It builds directly one of the biggest lobbying forces in New York State, called Education Reform Now.In the last two years, Education Reform Now and the associated Education Reform Now Advocacy have spent more than $10 million to influence state law on hiring and firing of teachers, as a counterforce to the state’s two major teachers’ unions.
Last week, Education Reform Now’s sibling political group, Democrats for Education Reform, announced that it will be joining forces with StudentsFirstNY as part of a new statewide coalition, to be known as the New York State Education Reform Council.
“We’re going up against one of the most powerful interests in Albany,” said Joe Williams, who directs both Education Reform Now and Democrats for Education Reform, to the New York Post. “We don’t stand a chance if we’re not aligned and focused.” (emphasis mine)
So if New York is any indication, the money flowing into the Jeffries campaign is a combination of Wall Street money and Broad, Walton, Gates etal. money.Williams told The New York World that Klein’s new group and his old one will likely share some of their funders and board members. “I imagine there will be a large overlap among the donors,” he said. “But it’s not clear yet what role we’ll actually play.”Education Reform Now does not disclose its donors, but among those who have publicized contributions are the Bill and Melinda Gates, Walton, Starr, Broad and Pershing Square foundations. (emphasis mine)
I know, a real shocker, right?
But in case you're still not convinced, check out the timing of these direct pleas for contributions.
Raised by his grandma in Newark’s South Ward, Shavar has dedicated his career to helping kids as president of the city’s Boys and Girls Club, head of Newark’s School Advisory Board, and founding board president of TEAM Academy Charter. Yet despite his reform cred, he remains in a close race leading up to the May 13th election. His opponent, Ras Baraka, promises to undo progress made during Cory Booker’s tenure, and has $ pouring in from the Newark Teachers Union endorsing his campaign. Donate just $10 to Shavar by clicking here.Six days later on April 17th DFER Board member Whitney Tilson made a similar plea, and called Jeffries "a courageous reformer."
But to win, he needs a lot of money fast, as the election is less than two months away, so I hope you’ll join me in supporting him – just click here: http://bit.ly/1lLB7Sb
Contributors included several financial executives and Education Reform Now, a New York City-based group begun by financial fund managers who support charter schools. The organization has spent $444,000 on TV ads and field organizing to back Mr. Jeffries, the filing shows.
Education Reform Now has a very clear anti union, pro reform agenda, which fits in just perfectly with Governor Christie and Superintendent Cami Anderson's One Newark plan, and they are attempting to steal the Newark mayoral race from Ras Baraka. Baraka has made it clear that he will lead a "full scale campaign for local control of schools" which will not bode well for the continued state takeover in Newark or One Newark.
Governor Christie is clear in his disdain and disregard for the citizens of Newark. He did say, "We run the school district in Newark, not them." He has disenfranchised the people of Newark by installing leadership at every level that believes this as deeply as he does and goes to every end to exclude, marginalize, and eliminate anyone who does not. (emphasis mine)And it looks like Governor Christie and Cami Anderson have found an ally in DFER and Education Reform Now for eliminating Ras Baraka.
Don't let them win, Newark.