Wednesday, May 7, 2014

DFER Trying To Steal Election From Ras Baraka

The Newark mayoral race is heating up with less than a week to go, and there has been plenty of discussion about an influx of cash to the Jeffries campaign and questions as to where the money is coming from.
Newark First, an independent group of Jeffries' supporters, launched an advertising campaign Wednesday attacking Baraka's record of managing city finances. 
"Who will move Newark in a new direction? Not councilman Ras Baraka," the narrator said. "Jeffries is a different kind of leader. 
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. 
Newark First has spent almost $425,000 on the election, the report says. (emphasis mine)
Wow! 850,000 from Education Reform Now!! What's that?

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).

Across the Hudson in New York the connections between Students First, DFER and Education Reform Now have been no secret. 
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)
Read the whole article linked above from The New York World, it is a real eye opener for sure. It draws clear lines between the money flowing into these groups and their education reform agenda in New York and across the nation.
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)
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. 

I know, a real shocker, right?

But in case you're still not convinced, check out the timing of these direct pleas for contributions.

Joe Williams made his pitch on the DFER website on April 11th, touting Jeffries' "reform cred."
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: 
(emphasis mine)
When Joe Williams and Whitney Tilson put out the call, it's not hard to imagine that millions come rolling in very quickly.

Lo and behold, on April 21st reports began surfacing that $1.3 million had been dumped into the Jeffries war chest by "super PAC, Newark First."
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.
In case you're thinking the claim in the graphic above from the Baraka campaign that the "shadowy group" behind Newark First is trying to "buy control of Newark's government" is far fetched, perhaps a final look at Education Reform Now's two biggest expenditures in 2012, as reported on their 990, will convince you that it's not.

Almost $5 million to "increase the number of public charter school [sic] and strengthen teacher evaluation procedures" and half a million to try to shut up Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. (Good luck with that one guys!)

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.

Chose Ras.


  1. one thing you can count on - the likes of Whitney Tilson and folks of similar ilk will attempt to get the laws changed to make the kind of research you did more difficult if not impossible. They want to be able to buy elections but not have their fingerprints or their money traceable to them.

    And unfortunately there would probably be five votes on the US Supreme Court to uphold them on this.

    It used to be that the Supreme Court affirmed the notion of one man, one vote.

    Now it seems as if the standard is the more money you have the more political influence.

    Somehow I find it hard to reconcile that interpretation with the approach of the Founding Fathers, who had an inherent suspicion of inherited wealth, even though they were more than willing to defend property in general.

  2. George Norcro$$ is the ANTI CHRIST AND HE IS out to get PAID. He wants those ports and he is dumping celebrities and any and everything he can to get that PUPPET JEFFRIE$ elected. Norcross has been hiding in the shadows and controls everything and has for the past 30 years, this is why NJ is in a CRISIS.



    1. Shavar Jeffries es malo para la comunidad latina. Es una marioneta de un blanco jefe político que no tiene respeto ni preocupación por los pobres. Que hará uso de este hombre negro de dinero en los bolsillos de estos blancos jefe político máquinas y verá como disipador Newark Camden NJ

    2. ras baraka is the only hope newark has unlike the blue-print of cb they're trying to force in by buying the machine to get their blue-print elected