When Kyle Olson FOIAed my work emails he didn’t find anything.
Now that former NY school’s Chancellor Joel Klein’s emails have been released, it reveals a lot. An enemies list that included the AFT, Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier. And charter school friendly hedge fund managers that Klein was courting on the one hand but describing as “overweight billionaires.” on the other. The emails concerned Klein’s battle to establish more charter schools.
Klein in now an executive with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
A lot of the emails are between Joe Williams and Klein. Williams runs DFER, Democrats for Education Reform. DFER is heavily funded by the overweight billionaires.
But one of the callers on the line with Mr. Klein in 2010 said Friday that the chancellor did ask the Robin Hood board to commit more funding to Education Reform Now, rather than start its own lobbying organization. Mr. Klein told them “their philanthropy was going to amount to minuscule results unless they stepped it up,” said the caller, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.Attempts to reach Mr. Klein through News Corporation, where he is now a top executive, were unsuccessful on Friday.Though Ms. Scaperotti said Mr. Klein did not fund-raise on the call, it is not clear whether any rule prohibited him from doing so. After everyone on the call had hung up, the rapid e-mailing resumed.
“You were terrific,” Mr. Klein wrote to Bradley Tusk, a consultant for Education Reform Now. “Perfect pitch, perfect message.”
“Who’s the heavy breather on the call?” wrote a participant, whose name was redacted. “Normally, I’d ask them to mute their phone but I don’t want to alienate any donors.”“Some overweight billionaire,” Mr. Klein replied.
Ravitch commented on her blog about the email dump:
The first thing I noticed was the chummy exchanges between the public officials in change of the New York City public school system and the top dogs of the charter leadership–the Wall Street hedge fund managers, the leader of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), the leader of the New York City Charter Center, and various others. It comes clear that there is a strong and concerted effort to hand over as much public space as possible to the charters. The charter leaders are not the poor and oppressed of New York City; they are the powerful and monied, and the public officials who are paid to protect and support the PUBLIC schools of New York City are working hand-in-glove to advance the interests of the privately-managed charters, not the public schools. You will also notice, in one of the emails, that the charters are very concerned to make sure that there is no cap on their executive compensation. Heaven forbid! It’s important that their leaders continue to pull down $400,000 a year to oversee a few small schools.
The collusion between those who are sworn to protect the public schools and those who are incentivized to privatize them is surely the most important thing to be gleaned from this correspondence.
For me, the other interesting point is that they are so afraid of any criticism. They are especially afraid of Deborah Meier, me and Jonathan Kozol. They refer to columns by Deborah Meier and myself–she an educator with decades of experience, I a historian with a long view–as “moronic” and “idiotic.” They refer to Jonathan Kozol and me as “deranged crackpots.”
How can anyone take these mean-spirited, ignorant, arrogant people seriously?
Following his work with Bloomberg and Klein, and before his work with Education Reform Now, Bradley Tusk worked for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.