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Heads up, everyone — Stand for Children, Incorporated, the out of state political lobbying operation bankrolled by Gates and others, is boasting that it charged down to Olympia this past week and forced our legislators to breathe life back into the poorly written, politically volatile charter school bill and the damaging “teacher evaluation” bills.
Call and write your legislators ASAP if you want them to listen to you, and not front groups for the corporate ed reform machine.
Paid political operations like Stand for Children, Inc., The League of Education Voters (LEV) and Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) are trying to avoid voter input at all costs, because, as State Senator Rodney (‘these schools are good for kids in the projects’) Tom said, taking such flawed and controversial schemes to the voters would be a “gamble” for their side. Washington voters have already voted down charters three times. Stand for Children, Inc., LEV, and DFER want to force their agenda on the people of Washington and avoid democracy at all cost.
Meanwhile, school after school here in Seattle, and various district Democratic organizations are voting to oppose charters and are issuing resolutions to this effect. These are the true voices of the people, the ones our legislators are supposed to listen to and represent.
Here’s an insight into the true nature of Stand for Children, Inc. — their CEO, Jonah Edelman, boasting at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2011 about how his operation manipulates legislators and the teachers’ union to push their privatizing, teacher-bashing agenda, giving the lie to their false, grassroots, altruistic pretenses. (This revealing slip caused a firestorm of criticism for him and Stand.)
And here is an excerpt from Stand, Inc’s Shannon Campion’s e-mail apocalytically titled “Resurrection”.
Stand’s policy director Dave Powell rushed down to Olympia Tuesday to testify before the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “This bill is about ensuring every student in our state has access to a great teacher,” he told lawmakers. “Teachers are the most important factor in determining the quality of education a student receives, leading to better graduation rates, better college enrollment rates, and a better prepared workforce.”
In the end, moderate Democrats Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue), Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) and committee chair Ed Murray (D-Seattle) came together with Republicans to vote the teacher and principal evaluation bill back to life.
Meanwhile, our champion Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle) continues negotiations with House leadership to bring back legislation that would make Washington the 42nd state in the nation to offer public charter schools.
Our hard-fought progress in Olympia on these two issues has put us in the national spotlight. This week, the well-respected K-12 reform group Policy Innovators in Education called Washington the education state to watch in 2012. We won’t let our lawmakers head home in 2012 without genuine improvements in education for our children.
(Note they out Pettigrew as their “champion.” Also see Post Script below.)
Yes, it’s not hard to “fight” like this when you are paid millions by the Gates Foundation to do it.
This is a David and Goliath battle. Will our legislators listen to the people they represent — us? Or will they be strong-armed or baffled with bogus data by the political lobbyists like SFC, Inc, LEV and DFER?
Speak up, folks. This is the time to act.
Who’s bankrolling and enabling the corporate ed reform agenda:
Please contact the following representatives and let them know that we will not allow a wealthy few to take over our democratic process.
Governor Christine Gregoire who is opposed to charter schools and for a teacher evaluation bill that is backed by the teacher’s union.
The Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12 Education Chair Rosemary McAuliffe who has stood strong this entire time with her constituents:
Chair of the Ways and Means Committee Senator Ed Murray who made a deal with Rodney Tom to keep the charter school bill alive as well as the teacher evaluation bill that ties teacher performance evaluations to test scores.
Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown who made the call to allow the charter school bill and the high stakes testing teacher evaluation bill to move along to “indicate our willingness to have a robust debate”.
Senate Committee Member on Early Learning and K-12 Education
House Committee on Education Chair who has also stayed the course with her constituents against charter schools:
House Committee on Education member:
Senator Rodney Tom of Bellevue just so that he is reminded that the voters don’t want charter schools and that he cannot make an end run around the voters.
Post Script: Regarding Eric Pettigrew and LEV:
One of our readers noted the following yesterday in an e-mail:
Yesterday I received in the mail campaign literature for Eric Pettigrew funded by the PAC League of Education Voters. The information was that Rainier Beach High School has only a 50% passage rate on the reading HSPE, a picture of a young African American child on the front, and pictures of Eric Pettigrew on the back with appeals to the community to support the legislator who has two unidentified legislative agendas to bridge the achievement gap. What is most obvious is the insincerity of the piece which does not wish to identify the two solutions Mr. Pettigrew is supporting to do that i.e. charter schools and breaking unions.
And this from another reader:
I live in the 37th and this is even more upsetting to be reminded of how thoughtlessly he moves this (charter school bill) forward. Where was Eric when schools in the 37th closed? He was not there to explore options and solutions then. Where was he when the MLK School property was sold under questionable behind-the-door-deals? Not present, except to work for extra state money to help some group to buy the school. Where will he be if someone in his district wants to establish a creative option public school, not a charter?
And my question is, where was he when the schools in his district were re-segregated by way of the Student Assignment Plan that came out last year?And now suddenly he’s Mr. Education?