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

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Rise and Fall of Stand For Children

Edelman's unsolicited confession

A Chicago News Cooperative story in today's NY Times, "Education Group Tries to Rebound After Diatribe," documents the crash-and-burn of the corporate reform group, Stand For Children and its national director, Jonah Edelman. The Portland-based group with pockets filled with cash supplied by the Gates Foundation and local one-percenters like the Crown and Pritzker families, along with the Citadel Group’s founder, Kenneth Griffin, made their move on Illinois laste year.

In a video, Edelman later admitted self-critically, how SFC poured millions into the campaign coffers of local politicians like State Sen. Kimberly Lightford in exchange for their backing of anti-union legislation which Arne Duncan hailed as a "national model. Edelman also revealed how SFC pressured teacher union leaders who went along with the plan at the expense of their own members, and how he fabricated talking points on the longer school day, which he and his billionaire patron, Jim Crown, then fed Mayor Rahm Emanuel. 

According to the NYT story, the group has now hit bottom and can't seem to raise a penny in this year's election cycle. The state chapter of SFC has now installed Mary Anderson, a crony of machine boss Michael Madigan as its new director to take charge of the $3 million remaining from last year's fund-raising efforts. Madigan also came off looking like a tool in the Edelman confession.

A still-willing Lightford, vice chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, said she met with Anderson recently to discuss how they could work together to carry out the new education legislation. Lightford's only problem with Edelman was his honesty and transparency.
“For him to come to Illinois, and not understanding the politics, to suggest these things and expose private conversations was very immature of him.”
The good news is that Edelman's boasting and apologia seems to have discredited SFC and its tactics as well as the corporate reformers and easily buy-able politicians like Lightford who did their dirty work. In the long run, this may make it more difficult for them to run their game in Illinois and other states.

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