Bob Braun has written an astonishing column about the arrogance of power.
Chris Cerf, who was previously the Commissioner of Education in New Jersey, stepped in to take control of the Newark public schools after the unpopular Cami Anderson stepped down. Cerf is a bona fide reformer, having previously worked for for-profit Edison Schools and as deputy chancellor to Joel Klein in New York City.
Cerf’s chief of staff is De’Shawn Wright, who began his education career in Teach for America, then moved from one policy position to another.
Braun stumbles upon a mystery: Who pays Wright’s salary?
Wright, a champion of charter schools in Washington, DC, New York, and Newark, and past associate of Cerf and Cerf’s protégé and predecessor, Cami Anderson, is Cerf’s chief of staff, according to an organizational chart released at Tuesday night’s board meeting. Wright is paid a six figure salary but exactly how much is a secret–as is the source of his income.
Although Wright is probably the second most powerful figure in the Newark schools, he doesn’t work for the Newark schools.
Got that? Let’s repeat it: Although Wright is probably the second most powerful figure in the Newark schools, he doesn’t work for the Newark schools.
Who does he work for? Probably for the Fund for Newark’s Future–otherwise known as what’s left of the $100 million Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gave to the Newark schools. But that hasn’t yet been confirmed because the fund is a private organization and not subject to New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Or some other private foundation devoted to the expansion of charter schools.