Your hard-earned federal tax money pays David Osher $377,000 a year as he shills Turnaround for Children Inc.’s fraudulent claims

air irs

This guy, $377,000-a-year David Osher of the tax-exempt American Institutes for Research, holds four taxpayer-funded jobs.

All that money and he can’t even look at a few test scores.

And get this: his resume says that his job at AIR  he “supervises data collection and analysis.”

But he doesn’t look at the test-score data that put to shame his claim that Turnaround for Children is succeeding in the classroom?

Sounds like top-notch research chops to us.

AIR’s own website says:

Osher serves as principal investigator of four major research and technical assistance centers funded by the U.S. government:

The National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments, The Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health, and The National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At Risk.
The real question is:

What is he investigating?

Maybe himself?

How can he play the roles of investigator and cheerleader simultaneously?

Where is the old-fashioned pretense of objectivity?

Or does he conveniently switch hats from researcher to PR fan as needed?

David Osher

He’s a shill for Turnaround for Children Inc.

Despite documented proof that Turnaround’s efforts to reach at-risk school kids is failing, Osher wrote that the program is a success.

http://www.gtlcenter.org/blog/building-positive-relationships-truly-disadvantaged-schools

He writes, “Turnaround for Children put South Bronx on the right path.”

Huh?

He apparently missed the report showing dismal test scores in Every school in which Turnaround is working.

Just look at the South Bronx score report:

south bronx

It doesn’t take a statistician to determine the direction of a line on a graph.

Is it going up, or is it going down?

Simple enough, no?

Want more?

See this report of the disastrous Turnaround for Children Inc.’s hand in failing student tests:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/city-students-scores-dramatic-plunge-new-standardized-tests-article-1.1419973#ixzz2bKyyrzVI

American Institutes for Research – which is partly taxpayer funded through the U.S. Department of Education – has refused to print our response to Osher’s fraudulent claims.

(Here is our response – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hlpbN5nB9O7A4aytAduqil_NG19INWntVj4Ylnd6iq8/edit?usp=sharing)

We have emailed $50,000-a-year-salary AIR Chairwoman Patricia Gurin – who besides her AIR salary is pulling down a good chunk of change – an additional $54,000 – from the University of Michigan.

Curiously, her UMich page makes no mention of her double-dipping. No mention there of her cushy ‘job’ at AIR.

pat gurin mug

pgurin@umich.edu

We have also:

* Requested that Kathleen Tighe, the U.S. department OF Education’s inspector general, launch a probe into the institute’s Center on Great Teachers and Leaders.

The Inspector General

Inspector General Tighe

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General - Washington

Our complaint reads as follows:

Inspector General Tighe:

I am interested in your opening an investigation into lack of public editorial access to The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders of the American Institutes for Research.

AIR has refused to respond to or print my response to a blog article it posted on its website that praises the work of Turnaround for Children Inc. in spite of publicly documented evidence that Turnaround for Children’s involvement in at-risk schools is not only not as successful as claimed, but simply is falling short of its publicized goals.

AIR’s Center on Great Teachers and Leaders website says: “The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders is based at American Institutes for Research and funded through a cooperative agreement by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education.”

Because this is a publicly funded endeavor, it is required to provide access to anyone wishing to offer competing editorial viewpoints.

By failing to do so it is in violation of the tenets of the agreement with the DOE.

Its website further states: “The contents of this website were developed under a cooperative agreement (S283B120021) from the U.S. Department of Education. Information presented in this site does not necessarily represent the policies of the Department of Education and does not imply endorsement by the federal government.”

Even though the agreement “does not imply endorsement by the federal government,” that disclaimer is insufficient to excuse or insulate the American Institutes for Research from offering editorial space to opposing viewpoints.

* Filed a Freedom of Information request with the U.S. Department of Education seeking a copy of the agreement between the department and the institute.

====================

You folks out there need to know more about David Osher – as David Osher views himself?

Do you have time to peruse his 50-page resume?

That’s right – this taxpayer-paid scam artist has what we call self-aggrandizing tendencies.

His 17,347-word resume is a tree-killer’s delight.

You need a nap? If so here ya go:

http://cecp.air.org/about/resumes/david_osher.htm

Advertisements

Turnaround for Children Inc.’s lap dog fighting back: “Cohen lacks cred”

Seems Tom Vander Ark is a little sensitive to criticism of his string of fawning articles on Turnaround for Children Inc.

Vander Ark’s latest vacuous piece was published in Education Week. (See following post for details on that disaster.)

van ark fights back

As you can see, Vander Ark wrote:

“I have investigated Mr. Cohen’s claims and they don’t appear to be accurate or credible.”

My reply:

For someone who writes nothing but fawning pieces about Turnaround for Children Inc. – and then reposts them on his blog – you speak with no accuracy or credibility.

If you can cite one instance of lack of accuracy, I would be more than happy to provide you the information you need to clear up your journalistic jaundice.

===

OH, YOU SAY YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT CRYBABY VAN DER ARK?

http://ischoolexcellence.wordpress.com/tag/newark-new-jersey/

To wit:

President of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Tom Vander Ark, is walking away from a multi-million dollar project to open new charter schools in NYC.

The New York Times is reporting that after spending more than $1.5 million of investors’ money on consultants and lawyers, Tom Vander Ark, president of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has walked away from the project to open new charter schools in New York City.  As a result, the new schools will not open as planned this fall.  This shocking move has left many frustrated.

MORE HERE:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/07/plans_for_newark_charter_schoo.html

AND HERE:

http://newarknj.patch.com/groups/schools/p/two-charter-schools-to-still-open-after-setback

AND HERE’S CRANKY TOM AT HIS, UH, BEST?

http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2011/11/vander-ark-getting-cranky-regarding.html?m=1

‘Education Week’ in the tank for Turnaround for Children Inc.; Blogger Cohen cries bias

ed week bias

When Education Week sees an op ed that suits its purposes – lavishing fawn on its bed mates – it hops right into the sack with its suitor.

But when confronted with a critical piece about one of its partners, it runs for the hills.

Consider Ed Week’s latest fawn on Turnaround:

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innovation/2013/08/fortified_environments_can_turnaround_the_adverse_impacts_of_poverty.html

Turnaround’s president Pammy Cantor liked the piece so much she posted it on her Facebook page – the same page that prohibits critical public comments.

See a pattern here, folks?

I mean, why don’t you all just get a room.

Who needs a lap dog if you have Tom Vander Ark?

In recent years he has written six laudatory pieces about Turnaround, three of which were in Education Week.

How much are Turnaround officials paying Vander Ark to flak for them?

Tom Vander Ark

Turnaround’s lap dog Tom Vander Ark

Here’s the piece of mine Education Week REFUSED to publish:

Turnaround Children Inc.’s transparency claim transparent 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.

Anderson arrived in New Jersey’s largest school district in two years ago this month, 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.” This 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.”

Now, Turnaround For Children is interviewing schools in Newark for September.

What is Turnaround and what is its proposed role in Newark?

The best source for information would be Turnaround, right?

Wrong.

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 say they suspended their request for the remaining funding they were to receive for the Orange project, but they made no mention of the amount of funding they had already received and the amount they were still due.

Turnaround officials issued a prepared statement defending their Orange pullout.

“Our hope was to expand the partnership, to deliver a significant amount of professional development to teachers and to increase our engagement district-wide,” said Kate Felsen, vice president of communications. “Unfortunately, Orange Public Schools did not have the capacity to take on the professional development we had to offer during the 2011-12 year. For this reason, we ended our partnership amicably.”

Though Turnaround proudly announced the Orange project in its September 2010 newsletter, there is no evidence on the organization’s web site that Turnaround officials ever notified the public of the program’s suspension.

If Orange school officials are to blame for Turnaround’s failure in their schools, then they are apparently taking the accusations in stride.

Orange Supt. Ronald Lee failed to respond to questions until he received a formal open-records request.

He said, “Turnaround proposed to expand its program to a transformational model that encompassed academic, foundational and behavioral elements in the 2011-2012 school year. At the same time, the district was continuing or launching a number of significant initiatives to improve instruction and student outcomes. We mutually concluded that the district’s initiatives would require and deserved the full focus of the district staff principals and teachers. Therefore, we discontinued the program in Orange at that time to allow these innovations to take hold.”

Felsen, too, 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.

Ted Cohen of Maine is a veteran newspaper and radio reporter who follows trending national issues. He can be reached at tedcohen@hotmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Tedcohen1.

Turnaround for Children Inc., Campbell Brown: kissin’ cousins?

Image

By Ted Cohen

The top school official in a major American city as part of an education-reform initiative is bringing in yet another nonprofit 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.

Anderson refuses to respond to open requests for information, and Turnaround officials  – where the secretive ex-newsie Campbell Brown sleeps on the board (http://gawker.com/5936190/campbell-brown-is-incapable-of-understanding-the-concept-of-disclosure) – are equally evasive.

Brown’s lackings also caught the sharp eye of Karoli Kuns. (http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/campbell-brown-crawls-out-under-her-rock-sl)

Attempts to contact New Jersey Education Commissioner Chris Cerf have been met with similar silence.

Cami Anderson

chris cerf mug

Chris Cerf

As a longtime newspaper reporter, I find transparency hard to come by. Nonprofits should make transparency their middle name.

In fact, Guidestar.org is helping promote transparency, announcing recently its intent to “encourage nonprofit transparency on a national scale.”

A bit of history: Anderson arrived in New Jersey’s largest school district  in 2011. She brought 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.”This 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.”

Joy Resmovits

Now, Turnaround For Children is interviewing schools in Newark for September. What is Turnaround and what is its proposed role in Newark? The best source for information would be Turnaround, right?

Wrong.

Turnaround has refused to provide information about its failed foray into Orange schools and whether that experience foretells problems in Newark. That’s not the way to run a nonprofit. Obfuscation begets journalistic cynicism – and scrutiny.

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 – accessible through Guidestar.org – 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 say they suspended their request for the remaining funding they were to receive for the Orange project, but they made no mention of the amount of funding they had already received and the amount they were still due.

Turnaround officials issued a prepared statement defending their Orange pullout. “Our hope was to expand the partnership, to deliver a significant amount of professional development to teachers and to increase our engagement district-wide,” said Kate Felsen, vice president of communications. “Unfortunately, Orange Public Schools did not have the capacity to take on the professional development we had to offer during the 2011-12 year. For this reason, we ended our partnership amicably.”

Kate Felsen

Though Turnaround proudly announced the Orange project in its September 2010 newsletter, there is no evidence on the organization’s web site that Turnaround officials ever notified the public of the program’s suspension.

If Orange school officials are to blame for Turnaround’s failure in their schools, then they are apparently taking the accusations in stride. Orange Supt. Ronald Lee refused to respond to questions. He submitted a statement finally after receiving a formal open-records request.

Ronald Lee

He said, “Turnaround proposed to expand its program to a transformational model that encompassed academic, foundational and behavioral elements in the 2011-2012 school year. At the same time, the district was continuing or launching a number of significant initiatives to improve instruction and student outcomes. We mutually concluded that the district’s initiatives would require and deserved the full focus of the district staff, principals and teachers. Therefore, we discontinued the program in Orange at that time to allow these innovations to take hold.”

Felsen, too, 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.

To garner and cultivate pubic support, i.e., more dollars, nonprofits need to be open, accessible. Not hiding. What language do they understand – “lawsuit?”

Ted Cohen of Maine is a veteran newspaper and radio reporter who follows trending national issues. He can be reached at tedcohen@hotmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TedCohen1.