EdWeek complicit in Turnaround for Children Inc.’s coverup
Posted in the Bethesda Forum
Since: Jul 13
#1 Sep 15, 2013
By Ted Cohen
The top school official in a major American city as part of an education-reform initiative is bringing in yet another private foundation, yet as little is known about Turnaround for Children Inc. as is known about how it fits into Supt. Cami Anderson’s plan to modernize Newark, New Jersey’s schools.
In the meantime, Tom Vander Ark writes for Education Week ( http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innovation/... ) that Turnaround has been a blazing success in other school districts.
Vander Ark apparently missed the headlines in New York City in August 2013, when government officials announced disastrous proficiency-test scores in Turnaround schools.
Turnaround’s failures are at the heart of why New Jersey is making a mistake engaging with and funding Turnaround.
Anderson arrived in New Jersey’s largest school district in two years ago, bringing with her an education-reform movement.
The city's public schools are among the lowest-performing in the state, even after the state government took over their management in 1995.
Although the school district continues to struggle with low high school-graduation rates and low standardized-test scores, the mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, insists, "Newark, New Jersey can become one of the first American cities to solve the crisis in public education."
The vision for better school district is also shared by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who made a $100 million donation to Newark Public Schools in 2010.
HuffPost’s Joy Resmovits called Newark “a national test case for the fixing of troubled urban schools and the use of major philanthropic dollars in an educational system.”
What is Turnaround and what is its proposed role in Newark? The best source for information would be Turnaround, right?
Turnaround has refused to provide information about its failed foray into Orange schools and whether that experience foretells problems in Newark.
Turnaround’s entry into the reform movement began with Orange, N.J., as well as New York City and Washington, D.C. But as soon as the Orange effort began, it failed, according to Turnaround’s nonprofit filing with the Internal Revenue Service.
Tax documents filed with the IRS by Turnaround disclose the program's unexpected suspension. The documents, a public record, also reveal that Turnaround was forced to return the remaining part of the grant that funded the program.
"Management decided to terminate its three-school program earlier than planned," Turnaround officials told the IRS.
In their IRS filing, Turnaround officials blamed the short-lived program's demise on what they vaguely described as a "shift in organizational priorities."
But officials failed to disclose what they meant by the change or who instigated it.
Turnaround officials issued a prepared statement defending their Orange pullout.“Our hope was to expand the partnership,” said Kate Felsen, chief flak.
Felsen will not go beyond her prepared statement. When asked who funded the Orange effort and who will be funding the Newark plan, Felsen replied,“You have my statement.”
More to the point, attempts by journalists to procure information from this so-called “transparent” group – as described by GuideStar.org – have been met with silence, stalling and arrogance.
We offered our own editorial to Education Week ( https://docs.google.com/document/d/1e9iQEnkZ7... ) but to no avail.
Ed Week officials refuse to print it or even a letter to the ed.
Ted Cohen of Maine is a veteran newspaper and radio reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter:@Tedcohen1.
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