The Newark schools are in tough shape and super Mayor Cory Booker is doing what he can to fix them. A couple years ago, he got Mark Zuckerberg to commit $100 Million dollars to help fix the schools. Spending that money is proving harder than expected. Here’s a great look at all the challenges, including Newark residents wary of outside money.
Others thought they knew exactly what was afoot. In a two-hour interview in his office in the cityâ€™s West Ward, Ronald Rice, a former police officer who is now a state senator, explains that Booker was planted in the city by hedge fund managers whose ultimate scheme is to privatize Newarkâ€™s public schools and run them for a profit. â€œNewark is a target because you have a billion-dollar budget,â€ says Rice. â€œThatâ€™s why the hedge funds are moving in.â€
Joseph Del Grosso, president of the Newark Teachers Union, promotes the same notion. â€œWhen has a hedge fund person been philanthropic? I mean, come on,â€ he says. â€œTheyâ€™re in it for money.â€
Tilson, for one, finds the charge specious. â€œNone of the people involved in this, myself included, have any economic interest here, whereas the people who are making these accusations have their entire economic interest at stake in defeating reform,â€ he says. â€œIn my mind, itâ€™s very clear here who is wearing the white hats.â€ For his part, Booker is dumbfounded by the suggestion that his hedge fund friends are scheming to take over Newarkâ€™s schools. â€œWhereâ€™s the upside?â€ he asks. â€œIâ€™ve asked some of the people who say these things. They donâ€™t have an answer.â€