Posts tagged "caroline kennedy"
July 21, 2011
Long before Murdoch’s News Corporation was accused of employing illegal news-gathering strategies, Murdoch and his wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, were supporters of the Shuang Wen School. The Chinatown dual-language school was revealed last year to be illegally charging families for mandatory Chinese instruction.
In 2004, the Murdochs pledged three years of financial support for Shuang Wen’s after school programs, according to an article published in a city’s Chinese language paper at the time. That pledge amounted to half a million dollars, the Grand Street News later reported. In 2008, Murdoch praised the school during a lecture delivered in Australia.
Shuang Wen’s longtime principal, Ling Ling Chou, was removed several weeks ago under cloud of at least nine separate investigations into the school. Her interim replacement, Iris Chiu, has not received a warm welcome: Shuang Wen parents are defending Chou and fighting against the DOE’s investigations and oversight. They have filed a lawsuit alleging that discrimination is behind the city’s scrutiny, and some say they might withdraw their children in protest.
Wendi Murdoch’s relationship with the city schools extends beyond Shuang Wen. Until at least last year, she was a board member of the Fund for Public Schools, the Department of Education’s private fundraising arm. It’s unclear whether her tenure on the board began before or after Rupert Murdoch approached fund vice-chair Caroline Kennedy for help getting Grace, his oldest daughter with Wendi, into the private Brearley School.
January 15, 2009
What Kennedy and Chancellor Joel Klein claim:
Kennedy told the Times that the Fund was a mere “pass-through,” collecting “an average of $2 million a year” before she got there. “We kind of re-launched it and revitalized it, you know. Now, we’ve raised $238 million since then,” she said. Klein’s CNN article said that Caroline “took over an office that previously oversaw donations to PTAs and alumni associations and re-created it around a model of a public/private partnership,” claiming that “under her leadership, the Fund has raised more than $240 million.”
What Barrett found in actual documentation:
But the Fund’s tax forms show that the $11.2 million it raised in Caroline’s first fiscal year—which ran from July 1, 2002, to June 30, 2003 (she started the job that October)—was very similar to the $10.7 million raised the year before. The total actually dropped to $10.9 million in 2003-2004, the only full fiscal year that Kennedy was on staff. It grew to $14 million when she left, and then exploded nearly two years after she was gone, to $39.6 million. Kennedy and Klein’s figures of $238 million and $240 million credit her for everything the Fund raised for the four years that she was merely a board member, an absurd exaggeration.
December 23, 2008
From the department of questions Caroline Kennedy may or may not answer, here are two I sent to her via her spokesman yesterday:
1. What is your position on mayoral control? Should it be reauthorized with no changes or are there any revisions that would be acceptable? For instance, Geoffrey Canada’s group has argued that the Bloomberg administration did not do enough to involve parents in decision-making. Do you agree with that assessment?
2. What portion of money raised by the Fund for Public Schools went toward the advertising campaign called “Keep it Going NYC”? Could you explain the specific importance of those advertisements? I’ve heard several explanations but never a really clear one about how they directly or indirectly help the public schools.
You can see the answer Kennedy did provide to a mayoral control question from the Times here, saying she supports it broadly but is open to revisions “so long as they don’t prevent the Mayor from taking the actions he thinks are appropriate and for which he will be held accountable.” I haven’t received a reply to my questions yet. Any others we should be asking?
December 22, 2008
Watch CBS Videos Online
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein is emerging as a high-profile defender of Caroline Kennedy in her fight to replace Hillary Clinton as New York’s junior senator. He made the case for her on “Face the Nation” Sunday, and his case hinged on Kennedy’s work at the Fund for Public Schools. Scroll to minute 13 to watch Klein’s case.
“She helped us raise money, she helped us forge partnerships, and she spent time with our kids in the schools,” he said. “I think that says a lot about her. She could have done a lot of things with the time she had.”
Klein also answered host Bob Schieffer’s concern that Kennedy doesn’t have the gumption to face reporters in the halls of Congress by saying that Kennedy did public press events with him in New York. True. Although, as Philissa pointed out last week, she didn’t answer every question. Here’s what the Times reported when she left the Fund for Public Schools in 2004 after two years of service:
In an interview about eight months into her tenure, she would not say how often she worked at the department headquarters or how many hours she spent on the job, saying only, ”I put in as much time as I can.”
December 19, 2008
The state assembly’s decision to study whether the Fund for Public Schools should be exempt from a state law that asks nonprofits for detailed financial disclosure reports is something to watch. That’s because the charity group’s exemption stems from a claim that has enabled the city Department of Education to opt out of a list of other laws and protocols: the notion that the Department of Education is not legally a city agency, and therefore doesn’t have to follow city law.
The claim doesn’t come from nowhere; the city school system has been a state-authorized entity since it was created in the 1840s, and only briefly became a fully city-run entity, thanks to a power play by Boss Tweed circa 1873. But the claim is important because it’s the reason the DOE has given for exempting itself from a laundry list of other city laws and protocols over the years. So if the assembly forces the Fund to disclose its finances, that could produce a ripple effect.
Here’s a partial list of laws and protocols the DOE has avoided via this claim, compiled largely from a list Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters put together in testimony (Word doc) to a mayoral control panel recently: (more…)
December 19, 2008
Sitting at a table by the restaurant’s front door, Ms. Kennedy sat alone for a short time until Ms. Weingarten arrived.
The first time I ever saw Weingarten in a close setting, it was at Sarabeth’s on the Upper West Side, where I noticed a man (Michael Mendel, it turned out, a vice president of the union) waiting for at least 20 minutes for his breakfast date. I also once sat for half an hour in the grand dining room of the Harvard Club, waiting for her to show.
The tardiness was no surprise, given Weingarten’s tireless work ethic, and neither was it irritating, given that she will always sit with you through and beyond the allotted time, once she’s arrived. Now that she’s not only president of the local union but also the national, commuting between New York and Washington, the astonishing thing is that she can ever make a date at all.
December 18, 2008
As Caroline Kennedy travels across the state in an unusual campaign to become its newest senator, New Yorkers are scrutinizing her work history. Among the questions being asked is how much time she actually spent at the city Department of Education when she headed its fundraising office for nearly two years starting in 2002.
Back in 2004, when Kennedy stepped down from her DOE position, David Herszenhorn wrote in the Times:
In an interview about eight months into her tenure, she would not say how often she worked at the department headquarters or how many hours she spent on the job, saying only, “I put in as much time as I can.”