NorthJersey.com’s Mary Ann Koruth still can’t tell it straight when it comes to the “culture wars.” She continues to steadfastly ignore massive NJEA spending — and therefore influence — on this year’s school board races.
To be fair, her recent article on the school board races accurately declared that overall the results were mixed. Both sides claimed that the majority of their endorsed candidates won, but each side had victories and losses. Fair enough.
But Koruth still chooses to describe those opposing the parental rights groups as “pro-public education,” which is exactly the NJEA’s terminology. The NJEA uses this terminology deliberately so as to depict the parental rights groups as “anti-public education.” But this is not a fair framing of the issue. Groups advocating for more parental control no doubt consider themselves pro-public education. They are trying to improve public education in the way they think proper, not destroy it. Koruth unquestioningly accepts the NJEA’s framing of the issue. Why?
Koruth does acknowledge that the “pro-public education” side “support teachers unions” as well as the various NJEA stances on vouchers and curriculums. This is an improvement over her previous descriptions but she still ignores the extent of NJEA funding — and therefore influence — over the “pro-public education” side.
Oddly, Koruth still takes New Jersey Public Education Coalition (NJPEC) and its founder, the mendacious Michael “Hundreds of Millions” Gottesman, at face value. This after Sunlight has established beyond doubt that the NJEA funded Education Truth Project (ETP), the dark-money Super PAC that sponsors NJPEC. Money is fungible: if the NJEA funds ETP, it funds NJPEC. Koruth mentions the alignment between the NJEA and these groups but doesn’t pursue the question on actual NJEA funding. Why?
Sunlight also established beyond doubt that Gottesman is a proven liar. He claimed publicly on NJEdReport that neither NJPEC nor ETP were funded by the NJEA. That was a bold-faced lie. Of course, Gottesman also claimed to the Star-Ledger that national pro-parents-rights group were funneling “hundreds of millions” of dollars into New Jersey, which was also an obvious lie. Yet Koruth takes Gottesman at his word and never inquires about his false denial of NJEA funding. Why?
Finally, Sunlight fails to understand why Koruth ignores the NJEA’s spending in various school board races. The information is readily available on ELEC’s website. The filings show that the NJEA’s Super PAC, Garden State Forward, spent heavily on slates in several school districts: $2,878.88 in Hillsborough; $18,800 in Frankford; $37,280 in Manchester; $35,320 in Montgomery; and a whopping $205,650 in Jersey City. Plus there’s $14,000 for Districts for Democracy. That adds up to over $300,000 in total NJEA expenditures on school board races. These are very large sums for school board races and tilt the scales heavily for these NJEA-backed slates, yet Koruth completely ignores this indication of NJEA funding and influence. Why?
Rather than depict the culture wars as Koruth did — “advocates for parental control” versus “advocates for public education” — a more accurate depiction of the anti-parents’ rights side would be “advocates for NJEA control,” because that’s what they are. Yet Koruth ignores this reality. Why?
All Koruth’s reportorial choices seem to cut one way: in favor of the NJEA status quo. Why?