Bob Braun has a fascinating blog where he writes about New Jersey politics and education, based on his 50 years of covering both as a reporter and columnist.

Here he tells the story of the current administration’s determination to sell off public buildings to KIPP and perhaps other charter operators.

Newark is under state control and has been since 1995. The state-appointed superintendent Cami Anderson is a former Teach for America teacher who has been knee-deep or neck-deep in corporate reform, from TFA to New Leaders for New Schools to the Bloomberg administration, and now the Chris Christie administration. Her present assignment apparently is to turn public assets over to charter operators, in this case, a corporation named “the Pink Hula Hoop.”

The story begins like this:

Keeping public education public and out of the grasp of privatizers won’t be easy. The people behind it all make following the power and the money deliberately complicated. Consider the story of the Pink Hula Hoop, a convoluted tale of big money and insider contacts that could be the future of public education.

The front archway over the 18th Avenue School
The front archway over the 18th Avenue School

Pink Hula Hoop—more correctly “ Pinkhulahoop1, LLC”—is a profit-making company, one of four legal entities created to, among other things, raise money for the Team Academy Charter schools in Newark so it can buy and occupy public schools put on the auction block by the state-appointed school administration in New Jersey’s largest city. The Team Academy is considered a “region” of the better known KIPP charter schools.

The saddest part of the story is the inscription over the 18th Avenue School (photo):

“THE PUBLIC SCHOOL IS THE BEST DEFENSE OF A DEMOCRATIC NATION.”