Newark supt. blasts union chief for alleged fraudulent fundraising


Abeigon to Cerf: ‘You’re wrong!”

Newark  schools boss John M. Abeigon HD swung back at the city’s superintendent, laughing off Christopher Cerf‘s  claim that the union created a fake fund drive to raise cash.

“There’s nothing fictitious about the GoFundMe account,” Abeigon declared.

The tiff broke on:

Cerf, in a searing three-page letter to the union chief, accused Abeigon of creating a GoFundMe website under a “fictitious” foundation called ERC Foundation designed to raise $100,000.


Excerpt from Cerf letter blasting Abeigon. (


Supt. Christopher Cerf says Abeigon’s money-raising campaign a fraud. ( photo)

“When asked by the press,” Cerf charged, “you did not answer questions.”

Cerf was referring to a previous interview that Abeigon gave this blog’s editor, during which the union leader defended the fund-raising campaign. Abeigon at the time denied it was a fictitious foundation.

The website eventually went dark, with Abeigon saying at the time that it had been up temporarily only for testing purposes.

He stood by that assertion in the latest interview with us, saying, “We are working with our accountants to make certain that it complies with state and federal laws for accepting contributions.”

Cerf’s letter:




Teachers union goes mute – refuses to explain “foundation”

If you want to know what the “ERC Foundation” is, don’t bother asking Newark Teachers Association President John Abeigon, who has refused to respond to repeated  press inquiries.


John Abeigon (Facebook)

Abeigon’s silence comes amid myriad published reports of the union’s so-far unsuccessful effort to raise money through a newly formed “foundation” called the ERC Foundation.

The failed campaign has even caught the eye of the Washington Examiner.

“Maybe it’s due to poor promotion, or maybe it’s a hoax,” The Examiner’s Jason Russell wrote. “But after five days, a fundraiser for the Newark Teachers Union has raised $0. As of 5:30 p.m. on Monday, a GoFundMe page for the union had zero donations since its creation on Sept. 14.”

On its page the NTU writes:

“With Newark educators, their unions, students and public education under constant attack, the Newark Teachers Union is announcing an innovative way not just to fight back but educate the public about why public education must be supported and strengthened.

“Are you as angry as we are—the Newark Teachers Union—about the unrelenting attacks on teachers, their unions, their students and public education? This war is funded by the state, which is using taxpayer dollars to destabilize public education, especially in the poorest districts, like Newark.

“We need to fight back, but we don’t have access to the same funding sources as those who want to destroy our public schools. If you’re mad as hell and want to help us launch a real campaign to make sure Newark students, their educators, their families and communities have the strong, well-resourced neighborhood public schools they need to thrive, then consider donating whatever you can to our struggle.

“Any amount you contribute is greatly appreciated.”

Veteran teacher to union: Defend us – or we all succumb to Turnaround’s ilk

Just what is the NTU’s…

“Education Resource Foundation?”


Abigail Shure

Longtime Newark teacher Abigail Shure argues that if the union used teachers’ contributed funds for their intended purpose – defending embattled teachers – rather than for lobbying, public education would benefit.

Shure’s triggerpoint was the Newark Teachers Union’s crying poverty – creating a questionable “foundation,” the details of which remain murky and mysterious – while teachers fight their own battles without union backing.

If the forces trying to defenestrate public education – most notably Turnaround for Children Inc. – prevail, it will be thanks to a misdirected union.


Now, Shure’s essay, which broke on the web under Ed Notes Online

By Abigail Shure

The Newark Teachers Union (NTU) an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) opened a gofundme.comaccount as first reported on Bob Braun’s Ledger

Donated funds are to be funneled through ERC Foundation. Repeated Google searches, however, have unearthed no information on the mysterious charity. Requests for clarification from the NTU have not been returned.

To make matters worse, the AFT is flush with cash. totaled up $1,273,694 in 2016 AFT federal campaign contributions. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton raked in $22,880 while former Democratic candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, got a measly $8,229.  Unfortunate U.S. Sen. Corey Booker, D-NJ was only granted $15.

Back in 2015, detailed AFT donations to Clinton affiliates as $250,000 to Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Foundation, $250,000 to Clinton Global Initiative and $100,000 American Bridge 21st Century (a Clinton allied research group).

The AFT has plenty of money to spend on political candidates and politically aligned organizations with questionable agendas in regard to the future of public school education, whereas the teachers the union purports to represent have to resort to begging.





Ex-CNN choker Campbell tries Turnaround – on MSNBC

OMG – look who showed up on the boob tube among the chattering class.

Campbell “Get-Rid-Of-All-Teachers” Brown.

You remember her – the failed cable gal?

The one who then started her own lobbying gig to fight public education?

Hey, it’s all good. (Use search box on this blog to see our previous honoraria for Campbell.)

So, Brown apparently put her name in to MSNBC “just in case you need an old (failed) hand in a pinch.”


Brown appeared on the cable network – that would be the one with some of the worst news ratings known to humankind – interviewing the wife of Bernie Sanders.

Wonder whether Brown ‘felt the burn.’


Enjoy Campbell:

Turnaround’s buddy Katherine Bradley’s infamy catching up with the blog of record

katherine bradley city paper

Good morning Washington!

City Paper is onto us. I mean, really. We had the Katherine Bradley effect two years ago.

And now City Paper has done a follow-up to our work.

Imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery!

(Glad to see City Paper catching up with the blog of record.)

Here as a public service we link two additional postings of ours from past years on Katherine and her pals at Turnaround for Children Inc.



Failed CNN anchor Trumped by Turnaround irrelevancy?

Campbell Brown


Having failed to work up a head of steam with a self-serving website, ex-newsie Campbell Brown is now trying to get back into circulation by beheading Trump.


Brown posted a widely publicized challenge to her ex-colleagues – wait, she had colleagues? – to keep The Donald off TV.

Aww, come now, she can’t be serious.

Right, she can’t be serious.

That’s why CNN canned her eons ago.

Ravitch rhymes with … failed CNN anchor Campbell Brown, the Turnaround mistress who is 1/2 right 1/2 the time

campbell brown


The prolific ed-blogger and author Diane Ravitch has some tough talk for failed CNN anchor Campbell Brown as the latter embarks on her new “project,” a so-called online, education-reform news platform.

“As you begin your new advocacy, there are a few things you need to know,” Ravitch lectures Brown in a blog post by the former.


For example, “I realize that you are very concerned about the fact that 50% of our students are ‘below grade level.’ I want to make sure you understand that ‘grade level’ means ‘the median,'” Ravitch tells Brown. ‘It is the midpoint, and it doesn’t have a set meaning. There will always be 50% above grade level, and 50% below grade level. That is the definition of ‘grade level.’”

Ouch again!

Brown launched her new venture amid great fanfare, without the fan.

Failed CNN anchor and Turnaround sleeparound kicks off new way to a payroll: start a ‘nonprofit.’ Sound familiar?

campbell brown

Campbell Brown

It was only a matter of time before low-ratings, CNN-failed-anchor Campbell Brown – who slumbers on the board of Turnaround for Children – came up with a new way to rake in cash – start a “nonprofit.”

campbell brown

Brown is calling her new slush fund “The Seventy Four.”

It’ll be a “nonprofit, nonpartisan online newsroom aimed at driving a much-needed conversation about reforming America’s education system,” according to PRNewswire.

The site will “pursue stories about the education of our 74 million children in honest, fearless, and relentless terms in an effort to turn the tide and reinstate the U.S. as the global education leader,” PRN reported.

“The future of our country is predicated on a strong education system that serves all 74 million of America’s children. Unfortunately, for far too long, special interests have prioritized their own needs over the well-being of our students and have not been held accountable,” Brown told PRNewswire. “We are long overdue for an honest conversation about what works and what doesn’t work. That’s why we started The Seventy Four, a newsroom with an unapologetic point of view that will serve as a platform for those without a voice.”



Brown must be getting advice from her bosom buddy, Pam Cantor, who heads the highly unsuccessful nonprofit Turnaround for Children Inc.

You’ve seen Turnaround’s results. Wait. we mean lack of results. LOL.

Here’s just an example of how Turnaround has the touch.

‘Atlantic Turnaround?’ Ravitch wonders: Is maggie’s reforming honeymoon over?


Ed-blogging prolific Diane Ravitch is positing that The Atlantic, long on helping the ed-reform movement, may suddenly be exposing a new underbelly.


Diane Ravitch

Decent question.

Ravitch before has touched that rail and we were only-too-happy to help:

But honest, we do have some originality – just remember our glomming post LOL:

bradley couple

 Wiki, BTW, says Atlantic’s reliance on private funding has raised some hackles.

“The Atlantic Media Company receives substantial financial support from the Gates Foundation through the National Journal ($240,000+) to provide coverage of education-related issues that are of interest to the Gates Foundation and its frequent partner in education policy initiatives, the Lumina Foundation.[37][38] Critics have suggested that this funding may lead to biased coverage and have noted the Lumina Foundation‘s connections to the private student loan company Sallie Mae.[39][40][41] Gates-funding of the National Journal is not always disclosed in articles or editorials about the Gates Foundation or Bill Gates, or in coverage of education white papers by other Lumina or Gates Foundation grantees, such as the New America Foundation.”


Turnaround for Children ‘lost’ $1 million last year? Newark entry a bust? Ring a bell?

turnaround loss4


Turnaround for Children Inc.’s IRS filing shows $1 million expenses over revenue last year.

turnaround loss

In its Form 990 filing for the tax year that ended June 2014, the expense-exceeding-revenue disclosure (for 7/1/13 to 6/30/14) is revealed.

Pamela Cantor, who is Turnaround’s chief executive officer, filed the report under penalty of perjury on Jan. 30, 2015, according to IRS records.

In her report to the IRS, Cantor tries to trumpet her agency’s “success,” but discloses “not as much progress as we would like to see.:”

    turnaround loss2

Menawhile, the IRS filing also shows that Kate Felsen, who is paid $160,000 as “vice president of communicatins,” masks her name in the IRS filing as “Katherine Di Pietro,” which is her married name.

turnaround loss3

Who knew?!

For $160,000, I guess you are free to use whatever name you want LOL.

Di Pietro – or Felsen depending on your flavor – is for the first time listed as among the organization’s top-paid employees.

So, the moral to the story may be, ‘you can call me Ray, or you can call me Ray Jay, but you doesn’t have to call me Felsen.’

The Form 990 also shows:

* Nearly $1 million in receipts for the organization’s annual “gala” party.

* Food & “beverage” gala expenses of more than $135,000. Now, that’s a party, folks!


Oops – there was one more thing, ma’am, that we licked our chops over this tidbit in the IRS report:

* Director Owen Lewis was paid $35,000 for “consulting services.”


Owen Lewis