The Washington Post

Russian billionaire makes unbelievable bid for Newark schools

There is, it seems, a bidding war of sorts for Newark Public Schools, with the Russian billionaire who owns the New Jersey Nets (and reportedly wants student funding based on basketball prowess) making a bigger offer than the $100 million that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently donated.

Read all about it in the latest edition of a satirical Onion-esque publication designed for those of us who religiously follow education policy and choose to laugh rather than cry about it. The publication is called Education Tweak (, and it’s anonymously authored and published. You can find the rest of the edition, and earlier ones,

By Education Tweak

Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire who owns the New Jersey Nets basketball team, is entering the bidding wars to control the state’s troubled Newark school district. His spokesman hinted that Prokhorov might go as high as $210 million, considerably more than the $100 million that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg bid to acquire control last September or the $60 million bid by Pepsi the previous spring.

Zuckerberg’s plan for the district has focused on his love of charter schools and his belief that grades should be based on the student’s number of “likes.”

Prokhorov, however, apparently wants to push the district toward basketball. To receive his gift, the district will reportedly have to allocate student funding by height and vertical leap.

What makes Newark such a good investment?

Prokhorov’s spokesman points to the willingness of government authorities such as Mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie to dutifully supplicate themselves to people with lots of money. Plus, Prokhorov would really like to be a guest on Oprah before the show ends its run.

When asked for their views on the possible shift in their owners, Newark residents expressed shock and asked if under the new ownership someone might actually care if they have views.


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Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.


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