Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who brought Jonah Edelman amd SFC to town? Bruce Rauner

Education blogs are buzzing about Stand For Children anti-hero, Jonah Edelman, whose braggadocio has left the corrupt underbelly of corporate school reform badly exposed. But to understand this story, one has to look past Edelman because, as everyone over at the local saloon knows, behind every small-time player stands a big-time player.

In today's Chicago Sun-Times, "Braggart angers teachers' union after tough negotiations over reform bill", education writers Roz Rossi and Abdon Pallasch tell at least part of the story about Edelman's trip to Illinois, his bags packed with hundred-dollar bills in search of willing politicians (are there any unwilling in this state?) ready to abandon their traditional union base and vote for the anti-union SB7.

Enter the big-time player:
Edelman was recruited to Illinois by Bruce Rauner, a Republican venture capitalist and former client of Mayor Rahm Emanuel who helped make Emanuel a millionaire when Emanuel was an investment banker. Because Rauner is Republican, Edelman said some expected his group to fund Republican candidates. But Edelman said he realized [State Sen Michael] Madigan was the game in Illinois and so he funded six of Madigan’s Democratic legislative candidates and only three Republicans.
Billionaire Rauner who bankrolled Emanuel's mayoral campaign, is also a charter school entrepreneur with a chain of Chicago charters bearing his name. Rauner chairs the the education committee of the powerful anti-union Civic Committee of the Commercial Club and his name even appeared in local gossip columns as a possible choice for Emanuel's new schools chief. 
“Sneed hears rumbles mega-rich venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, who burps money and made certain a ton had been tossed into Rahm’s election campaign, is being eyed as the city’s new school CEO.”
With Rauner's help, and millions more coming from local billionaires with names like Pritzker, Crown and Zell, Edelman spread the money around like a horny John, outspending and out-foxing the unions at every turn. 
“They [the unions] essentially gave away every single provision related to teacher effectiveness that we had proposed — everything we had fought for in Colorado,” Edelman said in Aspen. “We hired 11 lobbyists, including four of the absolute best insiders and seven of the best minority lobbyists, preventing the unions from hiring them.”
Almost too disgusting to quote. It's no wonder that everyone on all corners of EdelGate want this thing to go away. Not a chance.

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