BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
This book provides damning evidence of a problem that's occurring all over America. We have an education crisis on our hands. Newark, New Jersey's Public Schools were faced with a problem that districts and states all over the United States are either dealing with currently or will be soon enough. Private interests and hedge fund groups are taking advantage of America's crumbling education system, because there is a opportunity to profit. And people will profit off of others' misfortune if given the opportunity to. Newark didn't exactly welcome with open arms the private interest money for funding charter schools at the expense of firing 1 in 4 people in the district and the disassembly of their public school--they were forcefully coerced into agreeing. What happened in Newark is unjust and makes me quite angry and disappointed. The fact that law does not protect those most vulnerable to exploitation by private interests is quite disturbing. The notion that destroying the public school system by "consolidation", and opening up some charter schools is going to fix the education crisis is utterly insane. Money needs to be focused on funding public schools. The reason why the public schools in Newark were doing so bad was because of misallocation of resources. Destroying public schools and leaving some kids without a school to go to is a absurd way of "protecting education".
Having gone to a public school myself, I am strongly against Charter Schools and I think that public schools need not be overlooked. Public schools have great potential. Public school infrastructure already exists, why waste money on creating new schools. We don't need more buildings (schools); we need better resources and a different approach to solving issues students face in troubled areas such as Newark. More money and effort needs to be spent on the public schools that already exist and are structurally equipped for the population volume necessary for optimal function. No student should get let behind so some jerk can make a profit; that is grossly unjust. This book did do a great job of cataloging exactly what happened with Chris Christie, Corey Booker, Mark Zuckerberg and a few others in their attempts to "fix the education/education budget crisis". The events cataloged paint a full picture of corruption. This book covers a whole mess in all its bizarre details. It is a lot to unpack, but an interesting and highly informative read.
Corey Booker, Chris Christie, And Mark Zuckerberg are exposed for their activities that are quite obviously fraudulent and criminal [if it isn't, then it should be]; the behavior and events cataloged in this book are shady to say the least. Shows the true colors and intentions of all the candidates and characters involved.
"We have a crisis on our hands! - Corey Booker Basically Wants Crime To Happen (pg.85)
Corey Booker fired 167 police officers during a summer when murder and gang violence was at an all-time high. Obviously a terrible choice. Booker's decision made no sense and was dangerous. How can he justify this?
Christie and Booker's Reckless Recession-Era Decisions (pg.88)
Christie and Booker made incredibly stupid decisions during the recession.
"For most of Booker's years as mayor, municipal budgets relied on multimillion-dollar state bailouts to close deficits. In 2010, as Christie cut municipal aid and the recession savaged the nation's poorest cities, Booker sold and leased back sixteen city-owned buildings, raised property taxes sixteen percent, and eliminated one out of four jobs on the payroll."
Special Interests at Play (Pg 97)
Zuckerberg among the other special interests and hedge fund groups had their own agenda, and it wasn't to get the school system in Newark fixed. They wanted to implement their own agenda so they could start profiting off of a struggling school system.
For example: "A guest congratulated Zuckerberg on the Newark gift and asked who would be the superintendent. 'Anyone we want,' he replied with a smile."
Zuckerberg didn't understand the timeline of politics and became impatient with the progression of events and how long it took.
Charter Supporters at least publicly have good intentions. Their actions ,however, prove to be selfish, and insensitive. They have a fried perspective that is distant, unrealistic, and uninformed.
Funding and Control of Education (pg 100)
One of the consultants tasked with redesigning the district said in a private conversation, "I'm not sure who our client is. The contract came through Bari Matte's office [ Booker's chief fundraiser], so that suggests that Booker is the client, but he has no constitutional authority over education. The funding is from Broad, Goldman and Sachs, and Zuckerberg."
This funding indicates direct control and influence over the school system. The Newark Reform Effort put no one in charge, and had implied Zuckerberg, Christie, and Booker share control of the education system, they "call the shots".
The Question Everyone should be asking in regards to Charter Schools (pg 104)
Not everyone can go to a Charter School: they have limited enrollment, and getting into one is done by a lottery. Closing and defunding public schools is doing too much damage for the tradeoff of SOME Charter schools being created that help some disadvantaged students. The argument in favor of Charter Schools doesn't make sense. We need to have education available for ALL students, not just SOME. Therefore funding and focusing on the public schools that already exist is the best start we can make.
Bottom line from the book: "You haven't begun to address resources for students whose schools will close."
Bottom line for me: I graduated a public high school only a few years ago, and Booker's methods -- which I see as against public schools -- really ticked me off.
-- Patrick Carpenter, OnTheIssues editor, June 2007