Success Academy’s Hedge Fund Philanthropist Is Raising Money for Trump

According to Forbes magazine, John Paulson is worth over $11 billion. He is the 42nd richest person in the United States and the 108th richest in the world. Paulson made a big part of his fortune betting against low-income homeowners and on the collapse of subprime mortgage market and during the 2007-2008 global financial crisis. Millions were hurt, but Paulson made money.

A decade later Paulson is betting against public schools and on Donald Trump. In July 2015, the hedge fund billionaire donated $8.5 million to Success Academy Charter School Network, supposedly to benefit the poor and minority school children victimized by the economic system that so generously awards him. Now, probably out of concern for the poor, working families, and immigrants, Paulson is raising money for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

On Tuesday, June 21, Paulson is a host of a joint Republican National Committee and Trump fund-raiser. Other “hosts” include hedge-fund manager Stephen Feinberg, founder of Cerberus Capital Management, and real estate magnate Peter Kalikow. Feinberg’s Cerberus Capital Management controls Remington Outdoor, the manufacturer of the gun used in 2012 to kill 20 children and teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The National Rifle Association has endorsed Trump’s candidacy for President. Kalikow, a Republican Party Convention at-large delegate from New York, originally supported John Kasich’s Presidential campaign but now wants the Republican Party to unite behind Trump.

The New York Times reported that tickets for the New York Trump gala cost $50,000 a person. However hosts Paulson, Feinberg, and Kalikow have agreed to pay $250,000 a couple to support Trump.

In 2015, Trump endorsed charter schools, school vouchers, and magnet schools. He dismissed educators who support public schools and argued that competition is the best way to achieve excellence in American education. Trump wants to close schools that are not “good enough to attract students,” but does not explain what happens to children abandoned to failing schools while the market works itself out.

Trump is certainly not an expert on public education based on his own experience. Trump’s father was wealthy before him and sent his son to expensive private schools and colleges. Trump’s children also all attend or attended private schools and colleges. According to the website BuzzFeed, Trump and the Trump Foundation contribute heavily to the Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in Manhattan where tuition is almost $39,000 a year, but it is not public whether any members of his family currently attend the school.

The Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School was founded in 1764 by King George II of England and was originally affiliated with Old King’s College which is now Columbia University. At Columbia Prep the student teacher ratio is 5:1 compared to a national average of 13:1, but I can understand why a Trump would need so much attention.

John Paulson was on the board of directors of the elite, private, Spence School for Girls and contributed $11 million to the school, so I assume his two daughters went there. Currently, the tuition at Spence is $45,150 a year for grades K-12.

It is amazing how the wealthy use the “market” to grow richer at everyone else’s expense, send their children to expensive private schools, and then blame public schools for the problems of the world. We are still waiting to find out if Donald Trump pays any income taxes.

From July 8-10, educators, parents, and activists will rally in Washington, DC for three days of action in defense of public education. Featured speakers include author Jonathan Kozol, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, and Diane Ravitch. On July 8 there will be a People’s March for Public Education and Social Justice. Save Our Schools is organizing a conference for July 9 to be followed by a July 10 Coalition Summit and organizing session. The program for the rally and meetings includes full, equitable funding for all public schools; safe, racially just schools and communities; community leadership in public school policies; professional, diverse educators for all students; child-centered, culturally appropriate curriculum for all, and no high-stakes standardized testing.


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