In an earlier post, I noted that the original branch of the rapidly growing 50CAN, NYCAN, and other charter-advocacy groups stemmed from ConnCAN. I said that ConnCAN, in Connecticut, was started by hedge fund managers, who are its usual supporters wherever it launches. I also pointed out (correctly) that in the psychiatric literature, the term CAN refers to “child abuse and neglect.”


Leonie Haimson, leader of Class Size Matters in New York, sent the following correction to my post:


Leonie Haimson writes:


Actually CAN was founded not by hedgefunders but by Jonathan Sackler, heir to a Perdue Phama, makers of the controversial drug Oxycontin. Sackler is a big supporter of charter schools, especially Achievement First. As the NY Times reported, “in 2007 Purdue Pharma agreed to pay $600 million in fines and other payments to resolve the charge that the company had misled doctors and patients by claiming that the drug’s [Oxycontin’s] long-acting quality made it less likely to be abused than traditional narcotics. The company’s president, medical director and top lawyer pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of misbranding and paid more than $34 million in fines”.

As Edushyster noted,, “Last year alone the drug generated $2.8 billion in sales for Purdue Pharma. And with Purdue desperate to extend the patent on OxyContin, the company recently began testing the drug on children. “

She also points out, “In 2010 his daughter Madeleine released a “documentary” called “The Lottery,” chronicling four New York City kids competing to get into a New York City Charter School. The Wall Street Journal praised the film, noting hopefully that it “could change the national debate about public education.” No mention of Ms. Sackler’s antecedents–or the role of OxyContin sales in funding her film–was ever made.”


My addition to Leonie Haimson’s correction: Madeleine Sackler’s “documentary” was a paean of praise to Eva Moskowitz’s Harlem Success Academy. Viewed critically, it shows how the chain whips up a frenzy over the lottery as a way of creating market demand and branding the schools as exclusive.