Katherine and Pamela sitting in a tree

cantor and bradley mugs together

Katherine Brittain Bradley

Katherine Bradley  shilling for her buddy Pam Cantor, prez of Turnaround for Children Inc.

  Bradley’s CityBridge Foundation of Washington, D.C., plugs Turnaround for Children Inc as a featured investment on its website.

http://www.citybridgefoundation.org/Investment/Current-Portfolio/Breakthrough%20Schools/Turnaround%20for%20Children

 “In schools with strong instructional leadership, this resulted in academic gains. Other schools became safer and calmer, but academic improvement was flat or minimal.”

How does Bradly account for declining test scores in Turnaround for Children Inc. schools in New York City and Washington, D.C. ?

She doesn’t.

Not on Pam’s account.

Buy a Turnaround for Children Inc. hug – for $4.5 million

Fancy this – just days before New York announced tanking test scores, Turnaround for Children Inc. tried to steal the bad news with a comedic Facebook posting.

Comedic, that is, in our eyes.

Surely, Turnaround’s top exec could not have been serious when she trumpeted on her Facebook a new $4.5 million program.

p.s. 85 bronx turnaround facebook

Apparently, Pamela Cantor thought she could hide her foundation’s NYC-wide school failures by drawing attention to plans for her group to help teach charter schools how to succeed.

p.s. 85 bronx

Judging from that graph above, which highlights abysmal student failures in one of Turnaround for Children Inc.’s partner schools, would you want Pam Cantor meddling in your charter school?

Here’s the scoop: P.S. 85 in the Bronx is working with Cantor to help spend 4.5 million of New York taxpayer dollars to help build community. In return, charter- school teachers will show public-school teachers how to do their jobs.

High roller Katherine Bradley got Turnaround for Children Inc. its entree into D.C. schools

Power broker Katherine Bradley, 49, gloms onto her hubby, David Bradley, 60.

How did Turnaround for Children Inc. land in Washington, D.C.?

Well, first things first. Pamela Cantor, president of Turnaround, bought her way into New York City’s public schools by hiring $200,000 worth of well-placed lobbyists.

Then, to get Turnaround into D.C.’s schools, Cantor cozied up to the Bradley couple.

So, to figure out just how Pam got into D.C.’s schools, all we need to do is realize the quality of capital she curries.

Look no further than Pam’s connection to Katherine Bradley, president of CityBridge Foundation, who also happens to be the wife of media mogul David Bradley, chairman and owner of Atlantic Media.

…yet more Bradley-loving-couple gloms.

This would be the same power couple that hosted a dinner party at their D.C. home just before this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Their guests? “Power players from politics and business,” according to Women’s Wear Daily.

And by the way, the glomming couple’s home ain’t your average everyday shack.

Take a look a this palatial mansion, sans gloms:

That $8.7 million, 10-bedroom Georgian mansion at Massachusetts Avenue Heights is ranked as one of the 50-most-expensive homes in D.C., according to Washingtonian magazine.

Washingtonian tells us:

“Built in 1931, the 8,800-square-foot home is the site of an annual kickoff party the night before the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

“Bradley founded the Advisory Board and the Corporate Executive Board, two Washington-based research firms that went public more than a decade ago—and made Bradley serious money. He’s now owner of Atlantic Media Company, which publishes the Atlantic and National Journal. Katherine Bradley is president of the couple’s CityBridge Foundation, which gives grants to DC’s public schools.”

Ah hah! CityBridge rears its ugly dollar-festooned largesse again!

According to the Guidestar website http://www.guidestar.org, CityBridge Foundation donated a total of $1,188,334 to Turnaround for Children in 2009 and 2010.

CityBridge Foundation also contributed $1,066,744 to the DC Education Fund 2008 to 2010.

And bingo! Turnaround finds a new home in District of Columbia public schools in 2010.

The same year, busy philanthropist Bradley also donated $100,000 through non-profit DC Public Education Fund to hire Anita Dunn, managing director of SKDKnickerbocker to assist then-Chancellor Michelle Rhee with communications, as reported by Bill Turque of the Washington Post.

Katherine Bradley is so deeply enmeshed in the D.C. public schools that in 2011, she co-chaired the panel of teachers, parents, students and community leaders that advised Mayor Vincent Gray on the selection of Kaya Henderson as chancellor. (The same Kaya Henderson who fraudulently uses suspension data instead of testing to measure proficiency.)

Would you like to bring your education reform foundation to the nation’s capital – or anywhere else? Newark, N.J. maybe?

We recommend Katherine Bradley, a financially fertile high roller if there ever were one.

And when she’s with her hubby, it’s always all hands on deck…

bradley couple

…and we do mean all hands…

When it comes to Katherine and David Bradley, you gotta hand it to ’em…

But wait – we found even more hands.

Katherine and David Bradley just won’t let each other go.

If you were your partner’s heir, and that heir were drowning in cash, would you keep him/her close?

Judging from their fund-raising history, they give back in financial gloms.

Turnaround for Children Inc.’s staff: ‘We’re overworked!’

Kate Felsen

Why does Turnaround for Children Inc. have its own staff publicist?

So it can fritter away donors’ dollars by hiring outside contractors to do the “work” that would otherwise presumably be done by Kate Felsen, who is Turnaround’s mouthpiece-in-chief.

Case in point:

When Turnaround won a $332,500 state, taxpayer-funded grant to promote its alleged work with public-school students at risk, it hired

SKDKnickerbocker
to drum up a press release announcing the multi-thousand-dollar hand-out.
Here is the press release showing evidence of Turnaround’s profligate spending habits.
turnaround press release
That press release was written by Kerri Lyon, a well-recompensed senior vice president at SKDKnickerbocker:
Kerri Lyon

But the real question is, how much was Lyon paid to create a useless press release?

After all, just two days before, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had issued his own press release announcing the same contract, as you can see here:

cuomo press release turnaround
So we have Turnaround spending a taxpayer grant to hire someone to write a press release that the governor had already issued and which Turnaround itself could have cribbed at a fraction of the cost – at the hand of Turnaround flak Kate Felsen?
And this is the same Turnaround organization that claims to have the financial-management skills to run a reform-education program in Newark’s schools?
Speaking of which, Felsen is so busy farming her work out to private contractors that she hasn’t found the time to answer our basic question:
Which schools will Turnaround be operating in come September?
We’ll get back to you when Felsen comes up with an answer.
Promise.
Meanwhile, if you are wondering, “who the hell is SKDKnickerbocker?” here is what republicreport.org says about that company:
As we’ve reported, SKDKnickerbocker is led by a team of former Democratic operatives and key White House figures.
But instead of promoting a progressive agenda, or even an Obama agenda, these consultants score huge contracts by helping corporate interests lobby for policies that are not in line with the public interest. Many SKDKnickerbocker employees, including Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director, are also frequent White House visitors.

We’ve compiled a partial list of SKDKnickerbocker’s clients.

Since the firm refuses to register as an ordinary lobbying firm, we don’t know their full roster of clients:

-– SKDKnickerbocker was hired by Kaplan Education to block Obama’s reforms on for-profit college companies, an industry plagued by low quality education, false promises to students, and fraudulent business practices.

-– SKDKnickerbocker was hired to push for billions in tax breaks for already profitable corporations. As Bloomberg reported, SKDKnickerbocker manages a lobbying campaign called “Win America,” an effort by companies like Google and Pfizer to receive hundreds of billions in tax breaks on profits made overseas.

-– SKDKnickerbocker was hired by a coalition of food manufacturers to fight the Obama administration’s proposals on food nutrition standards. As the Washington Post reported, the firms paying Dunn include General Mills and PepsiCo.

– SKDKnickerbocker consults for Students First, a lobbying group aimed at destroying collective bargaining, and replacing public education with a mix of charters, private schools, and online learning companies.

According to documents revealed by the blog At The Chalk Face, Students First helped craft bills in Michigan to break teachers unions by severely limiting collective bargaining.

– SKDKnickerbocker previously worked with the Association of American Railroads, a group representing large railroad companies. When the railroad industry was in a pitched battle with their respective labor unions, SKDKnickberbocker produced ads for the railroad lobby.

– See more at: http://www.republicreport.org/2012/real-hilary-rosen-scandal/#sthash.XXh0tPBf.dpuf

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.