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Oprah Winfrey is a busy little bee!

Oprah Winfrey is advocating for the school system in Newark to hire D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee as its next superintendent.

Winfrey, who has called Rhee a "warrior woman," made the recommendation on her show airing today. Other New Jersey education advocates have suggested the same move.

Rhee spokeswoman Safiya Jafari Simmons says the chancellor had no comment on Winfrey's remarks.

As some of you may have heard, Oprah Winfrey is having some guests on her show today: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R), Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D, though I'm not so sure anymore) and Facebook head honcho Mark Zuckerberg (I for ignorant). Zuckerberg has created a $100M challenge grant (not a donation) to improve the schools of Newark, NJ. Admittedly, Newark schools are some of the worst in the state and they need a lot of help, but do they need this kind of help?

We know that public schools are under assault from politicians and misleading documentaries. Now let's add antisocial CEOs to the mix:

"So we should close down schools that are failing, get a lot of good charter schools and figure out new contracts for teachers so that better teachers can get paid more money, that more for performance as opposed to just based on how long you've been there," he said in the TechCrunch interview in a section of the Q&A preceded by the word "DELETE."

Never mind that this kind of move would likely throw many teachers out of work were the system to go all-charter. Work rules, tneure, all that. Out the window. You've likely seen the recent study that disproves the theory that merit pay leads to better-educated children.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the new movie "The Social Network", which, to say he least, is not too kind to Mr. Zuckerberg.

Winfrey and Zuckerberg went to great lengths to explain that the timing of the announcement has no connection to the forthcoming film about his life and the founding of Facebook, which paints an unflattering portrait of the young billionaire. Zuckerberg laughed off the portrait of him in the film saying, "It's a movie. It's fun. A lot of it is fiction," he said. "This is my life so I know it's not that dramatic."

I guess we have to destroy Newark in order to save it.

Note: I am a licensed teacher, currently unable to find any meaningful work. I had an extremely negative experience with a charter school, one that has put my license in jeopardy and I would like to prevent what happened to me from happening to anyone else.

Originally posted to TheGreatLeapForward on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:08 AM PDT.

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Mark Zuckerberg.

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Comment Preferences

    •  you're mistaken. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew, cville townie, Nica24, Amber6541

      I am no fan of Facebook (keyword privacy), and I am no fan of Zuckerberg (keyword egotist).

      However there is more to this story than you are aware of, and some of us are looking into it further.  Bottom line is, he may actually be doing some good with this one, in a way that is not immediately obvious to people who are not aware of some of the other issues involved.  

      I would seriously suggest not getting into the "shoot first, ask questions later" mode about this.  

  •  America: In the complete (6+ / 0-)

    thrall of the wealthy.  See Winfrey, O. and Zuckerberg, M.

    I'm unimpressed with both.

    From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

    by satrap on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:11:23 AM PDT

  •  As Long As He's Got Billions and No Expertise! nt (4+ / 0-)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:16:06 AM PDT

  •  He's doing it because (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheGreatLeapForward
    the movie that's coming out about facebook portrays him in a negative light.

    "I've never believed that government's role is to create jobs . . . So this week, I've proposed a six year infrastructure plan."

    by Paleo on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:29:03 AM PDT

    •  no, there's more to it than that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nica24

      We're looking into this closely.  When there's news we'll post something.

      But there is more to this story than it appears.

      I am no fan of Facebook or Zuckerberg, but for once he may be doing a good thing.

      More news when we have it pinned down.  

    •  Very likely... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheGreatLeapForward

      ...but I don't know why he thinks he needs to. He's the wealthiest 26 year old on the planet and the world's youngest billionaire. I knew he was rich, but I had no idea his net worth was nearly $7 billion - that's beyond ultra wealthy, that's "fewer than 100 people on earth have more money than me" wealthy.

      That's just disturbing. Facebook apparently accounts for nearly 10% of all time spent online in the world... it now surpasses even Google. There are nearly as many Facebook users as there are human beings in all of North America.

  •  Cory Booker is a DINO (4+ / 0-)
    The Artur Davis, or Harold Ford, of New Jersey.

    "I've never believed that government's role is to create jobs . . . So this week, I've proposed a six year infrastructure plan."

    by Paleo on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:30:21 AM PDT

  •  Well the experts have not done a cracker jack (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ctexrep

    job on education.  The education system has been in a long slow decline.  I'm all in favor of trying different techniques in hopes of restoring America's once great education system.  I see nothing wrong with challenging the status quo.   There may be a better way of doing things.

    I don't belong to an organized party, I'm a democrat.

    by thestructureguy on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:38:28 AM PDT

    •  because (7+ / 0-)

      not one person is addressing the real problems of poverty and family life in Newark and other cities like it. Until you fix those things, you're going to have a hard time correcting any problems with the educational system.

      I want a unicorn that shits rainbows. -5.75, -4.72

      by TheGreatLeapForward on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:40:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What evidence is there for this? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      The education system has been in a long slow decline.

      Please control for economic factors.

    •  The problem with this statement... (8+ / 0-)

      I'm all in favor of trying different techniques in hopes of restoring America's once great education system.

      ...is that every single "different technique" the Education Deform crowd wants to try has been proven not to work. For all their talk about being "evidence-based," supporters of privatization and anti-professionalism measures like charter schools, merit pay, and high-stakes standardized testing have to ignore an increasing amount of evidence suggesting that not one of those things is actually effective in improving education.

      Why not give the reins for education policy to the real experts - the teachers who spend every day actually doing the work of education? The last thing our educational system needs is more know-nothing billionaires with massive amounts of money to devote to hairbrained and proven-ineffective "reforms" screwing it up.

      What have you done for DC statehood today? Call your Rep and Senators and demand action.

      by mistersite on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:50:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What charter schools amount to (0+ / 0-)

        is an experiment on poor children. No idea if the experiment will work. But if it doesn't, then what chance do those children have?

        I want a unicorn that shits rainbows. -5.75, -4.72

        by TheGreatLeapForward on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:53:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure there is. (6+ / 0-)

          No idea if the experiment will work.

          Every day brings new evidence that except in a few exceptional cases, the experiment doesn't work. Charter schools aren't unproven; they're proven to be ineffective.

          What have you done for DC statehood today? Call your Rep and Senators and demand action.

          by mistersite on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:54:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  well (0+ / 0-)

            ya got me there!

            I want a unicorn that shits rainbows. -5.75, -4.72

            by TheGreatLeapForward on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:59:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Charter schools (5+ / 0-)

            I know that in Newark and Trenton, NJ, their test scores are worse than the "regular" schools.  All it is is an excuse to bust the union and to save money.

            If the really want to do something in those areas, magnet schools, like the Bronx High School of Science or Central High in Philadelphia, would an attractive alternative.  But their goal is to privatize the system as much as they can.

            "I've never believed that government's role is to create jobs . . . So this week, I've proposed a six year infrastructure plan."

            by Paleo on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:59:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Magnet schools ftw! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TheGreatLeapForward

              I'm a product of one of the original magnet schools.  My parents were too poor to send me to a private school, and the local public school wasn't providing me the opportunities I needed.  (I got straight As, but I was soooo bored.)

              My classmates were mostly just like me.  We were students that recognized that we wanted to attend a school that challenged us, that didn't have daily fights, and that could give us an enriched, specialized curriculum.  We had no sports budget - that money went to the dance studios, the art studios, and music programs.

              Conservatives: They love America. They hate actual Americans.

              by catwho on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 12:04:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Citations needs. That certainly is not the case (0+ / 0-)

            in Massachusetts.

            Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

            by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 11:06:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  How about neighborhood schools, with like (3+ / 0-)

          books and supplies?  That might work and it is a lot cheaper than funding the Charter movement.

          I find it so funny that people think the Charter movement/coporate merit pay/anti-union crowd is "challenging the status quo".  That crowd IS the status quo.  These reformers are not coming from nowhere.  They're billionaires who want to take the same approach they reformed labor markets with to education.  How'd that work out for the middle class?  

          Medicare for All is Fiscal Responsibility

          by masslib on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 12:12:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  there seems to be a misconception (3+ / 0-)

            that charter schools are somehow cheaper than public schools. The charter school I worked in had no library, but was able to hire six-figure consultants to determine and implement curriculum. And one of them had been found guilty of fraud at her last public school job!

            There is virtually no oversight of charter schools anywhere.

            I want a unicorn that shits rainbows. -5.75, -4.72

            by TheGreatLeapForward on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 12:14:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Nonsense (0+ / 0-)

          Charter schools are not "an experiment on poor children". What is the source for that generalization?

          I lived in Massachusetts for years. Charter schools there are nonprofit public schools, and, since, unlike public schools, the state does not pay any infrastructure or capital expenses, only a per child allowance (while reimbursing public schools for the loss of income), most of them start off in the more affluent communities.

          In many cases, the hostility of the local public school district and/or superintendent leads, in the first years, to the schools recruiting students from surrounding, less affluent communities, whose parents are eager to benefit from the smaller classrooms, higher teacher to student ratios, overqualified staff and freedom to innovate and let students be creative - while still being subject to the same standards, expectations (and, in the case of Massachusetts, the same onerous standardized testing) as the non-charter public schools.

          Over time, local parents begin to fight to get their own children into the charter schools, and, eventually, students from other districts can no longer be accommodated (by law, charter schools in MA, just like other public schools, must accept students in their district first - by lottery, if the number of students exceeds the seat. Charters are required to take any student, and provide for their special needs. Since they often tend to do so better than the no-charter counterparts (including the private schools in the district), many charters end up with a larger proportion of special needs students - and they happily take on that responsibility.

          Charter schools in MA are typically started by devoted parents and/or teachers who want to do more for children, but who are hampered in the regular public school system by traditional bureaucracy, lack of community support, and fear of change.

          The intent of these schools is to provide a means to explore and identify best practices, which can then be shared with traditional public schools. In many cases, that has occurred, and the general public school system has benefited. In other cases, resistance from the district has produced unnecessary tension between charter and non charter public schools, and lessons have not been successfully transferred.

          Your knowledge of charter schools seems limited to the kind of right-wing-driven for-profit schools that took over the New Orleans system after Katrina. That is not what the charter school movement is as a whole, nor what it's nature is nation-wide.

          Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

          by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 11:05:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  education system has been in a long slow decline (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pontechango, happymisanthropy

      And your evidence for that is?

      "I've never believed that government's role is to create jobs . . . So this week, I've proposed a six year infrastructure plan."

      by Paleo on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:54:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unless anyone else is coughing up (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, Nica24, Tomsank

    a hundred million dollars.....a good dose of STFU may be warranted.  That's a ton of money to a city that's broke.  

    Maybe Christie and Booker should tell him to take his money and go somewhere else with it.

    Cmmon people - this is a huge gift.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:50:16 AM PDT

  •  I didn't know he was colorblind either! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheGreatLeapForward

    But in retrospect that totally explains Facebook's over-the-top color scheme . . .

  •  I care about kids in Newark... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheGreatLeapForward

    ...but as a DC resident, nothing would make me happier than to see her take a job somewhere else.

    The voters of DC made it more than clear that we don't like her leadership here when we sent her boss, Adrian Fenty, packing.

    What have you done for DC statehood today? Call your Rep and Senators and demand action.

    by mistersite on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 01:31:22 PM PDT

  •  Don't generalize for your personal experience (0+ / 0-)

    with a charter school to all charter schools.

    In Massachusetts, for example, all charter schools are non-profit public schools, and in many districts they work closely with the traditional public schools - they even share building facilities with them in some cases.

    I have first-hand experience of a wonderful charter school that saved many kids from the terrible, drug-laden, poorly administered middle school that was the weak link in the system, and equipped them to be the top students at the public high school.

    I also personally know many teachers at charter schools who are extremely over qualified, with multiple Masters degrees, working for lower pay and fewer benefits than their counterparts in the traditional school nearby. They also have a much higher proportion of "problem" students and disabled students, because the traditional public school does not provide adequate special services (thanks to Bush's No Child Left policy), and parents fight to transfer their special needs children to the charter school, where they get much more attention, where the ratio of teachers to children is much lower, and where the sense of community and parental involvement is much higher.

    You are bitter because of your experience, and understandably distressed at your unemployment. However, your diatribe here is both misinformed with regard to  Zuckerberg and his donation, and with regard to charter schools.

    It is NOT a "challenge grant", it is an outright gift, and it is an initial gift to start an educational foundation. The only precondition is that the state cede some of its control over the Newark school system to the mayor of Newark. The governor and the mayor have announced they will work together to appoint a new superintendent of schools.

    Here is the New York Times on the subject of Zukckerberg's "donation", "gift", "contribution":

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

    by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 10:54:20 PM PDT

  •  NYTimes refutes all your claims here (0+ / 0-)

    It is a donation, not a challenge grant. It comes with no strings attached.

    Here is what the New York Times says:

    Mr. Zuckerberg said that the $100 million would be used to start a new foundation called Startup: Education. The entire gift is earmarked for Newark and comes with no strings attached, giving "flexibility to try out new things," he said.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    The article also notes that:

    Mark Zuckerberg, America’s youngest billionaire at 26, has not spent much money on himself. Forbes estimates his fortune at $6.9 billion, but Mr. Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, has yet to sell any sizable portion of his holdings in the company.

    He rents an unremarkable house within walking distance of Facebook’s headquarters here. He favors jeans and T-shirts, drives an Acura and, unlike many other technology moguls, does not own a private plane.

    The article goes on to discuss the timing, which is not necessarily as you suggest (or as I thought at first). It takes a lot of advance planning and forethought to put together a $100 million grant to a new foundation like this. It's not something he cooked up this week to counter the film coming out.

    It is interesting that you chose to quote and link to an excerpt from a TechCrunch interview that was cited in an article that was quoting a second article about the TechCrunch interview - making your diary 4th hand news.

    You could, of course, have chosen to link directly to the TechCrunch interview, so readers could make up their own mind. That wouldn't necessary serve your agenda, however.

    Here is a direct link to TechCrunch's interview with Mark Zuckerberg, where he talks about the donation and why he is giving it:

    http://techcrunch.com/...

    Bill Gates was one of the most heartless, vicious capitalist pigs around when he was younger. Today, he is one of the most important philanthropists on the planet, making more of a difference with his dollars than most of the world's nation's foreign aid programs combined.

    Zuckerberg seems to have been an utter asshole too. He became a fucking billionaire when he was barely out of diapers. Now he is a little bit older, and, while he still does stupid things (like Facebook's privacy abortion), rather than swim in champagne and hire hookers to carry him on a palanquin to his golden palace, he still wears T-shirts to work, drives a Prius, flies on commercial airlines and - oh, he just gave $100 million no strings attached to help children in one of the worst school systems in the country get a little help.

    Yes, indeed - he is Satan incarnate, and a symbol of everything that is wrong with the world.

    Always make new mistakes - Esther Dyson

    by RandomActsOfReason on Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 11:48:27 PM PDT

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