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

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Corporate "reformers" are buying local school board elections

Progressive candidate Emily Sirota (at left) lost the election to Anne Rowe who was financed by corporate front groups. 
A pivotal campaign in Denver

It's long been an accepted fact, even by the least cynical amongst us, that national elections are the playgrounds of the rich. Especially with recent court rulings that "corporations are people," corporate interests, secretly and openly, have flexed their muscles by backing pro-corporate, anti-union candidates and lobbying against environmental and other market regulations. But who would have dreamed that these same forces, operating with virtually unlimited funds at their disposal, would begin targeting local school board races?
Mike Elk at In These Times reports that increasingly, large donations from wealthy individuals and corporations are pouring into schools board races around the country to enact an agenda that attacks collective bargaining rights of teachers unions and increases the privatization of public education through charter schools and vouchers. Increasingly, it appears that outside corporate groups are becoming involved in school board races across the country from Illinois to Louisiana to Denver. Denver was their most recent target with their front group Alliance for Choice in Education serving as their conduit.

The fingerprints of national corporate organizations coordinating the money from companieslike Wal-Mart are all over the Denver School Board Race, writes Elk.
A corporate reform group called A+ Denver hired a prominent supporter of school vouchers named Van Schoales to be its executive director. Schoales previously worked for the national privatization reform group called Education Reform Now, which pushes vouchers and which is funded, in part, by Rupert Murdoch and was run by Murdoch’s top aide former NYC School Board Chancellor Joel Klein. In addition, the slate of pro-reform candidates has also been endorsed by the national organization Democrats for Education Reform (DEFR). “DFER’s endgame has little to do with learning and everything to do with marginalizing public-sector unionized workers and bringing down the cost of taxes for social programs.” 


  1. Remember how voters puked at the money M Whitman poured into her campaign to become California's governor? The work of yourself n others is getting traction n ppl begin to see this attack on public education and teachers for what it is. Billionaires fund these attacks to convince Americans that poverty is caused by bad teachers and not by the tax code and billionaires tax cuts.
    Keep up the good work sir. I'd much rather see you run the department of education than Arne Duncan.

  2. In Los Angeles, the Anschutz/Broad backed Coalition for School Reform spent 3.2 million dollars trying to get reactionary corporate reformer Luis Sanchez elected to LAUSD. The plutocrats outspent the community candidate more than 10 to 1 for every vote! Fortunately hard work by the community, managed to squeak out a victory over their candidate.

    It's clear that they'll pull out all the stops next election. Imagine how much they'll spend against my campaign for the LAUSD District 2 seat in 2013. Especially since I'm someone who can go toe to toe with Gates' Deasy and call him on his mendaciousness.

    The cynical Broad and his ilk have launched a dual prong campaign in the meantime. On the one hand they created an astroturf coalition of anti-public education fund-to-avocate 501C3s called "Don't Hold Us Back." On the other they hired a notorious anti-labor lawyer through their EdVoice front group to file a law suit. These are nothing more than transparent attacks our local teachers' union and on public education.