What Did Caroline Actually Do for Schools?

Hard to pin down what, exactly, she brought to the Department of Education
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Dec 23, 2008 1:03 PM CST
In this file photo of May 20, 2004, Caroline Kennedy laughs at a joke by New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, left, during a visit to Public School 11 in New York.    (AP Photo/John Marshall Mantel, File)
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(Newser) – Caroline Kennedy’s $1-a-year gig raising funds for the New York City public schools is being touted as evidence that she's qualified for the Senate. But that seems odd, writes Glenn Thrush in Politico, given the amount of vagueness about what, and how much, she actually did there. Says one person who worked with her, “I’d get it all the time—‘Why isn’t Caroline at her desk?' ”

“She didn’t need to be sitting at her desk,” clarifies the source, because it wasn't that kind of job. The job was to help bring in funding—Schools Chancellor Joel Klein credited her with a $51 million grant from the Gates Foundation—but those she worked with say she didn't actually do hands-on fundraising, either, and didn't have anything to do with the Gates money. Kennedy provided “star power, not fundraising muscle,” says one exec she worked with. Everyone agrees that her name lent credibility to the effort; beyond that it's not clear what her accomplishments were, Thrush writes.