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In March of this year, my co-editor Carolyn Leith and I interviewed the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Candidate Erin Jones. In preparation for the interview we noticed several of her donors were pro-charter school individuals and organizations who Ms. Jones referred to as her “friends” during the interview.
As I wrote in an introduction to the conversation we had with OSPI candidate Erin Jones:
Ms. Jones largest donors so far include Teach for America, Inc. (TFA), the League of Education Voters (LEV) and Stand for Children (SFC) but at the time of the interview, Ms. Jones said she was not aware of who her donors were.
During the interview we questioned her about her donors and after the interview, Carolyn and I sent Erin Jones information on LEV, SFC and other Gates’ backed groups assuming her to be naïve about the corporate reform movement. Apparently, Ms. Jones chose to either ignore the information or felt it was to her advantage to accept the money and therefore the influence of these individuals and groups.
To follow is what we have collected as of the date of this posting of money flowing into Erin Jones’ campaign from people and groups who are spending millions of dollars on privatizing the public school system of Washington State.
A big thank you goes out to people who have been working behind the scenes, gathering the information that is published in this post.
You can peruse her list of campaign donors here.
To follow is a breakdown of some of her contributors:
Stand for Children (SFC)
For information on Stand for Children, see Stand for Children Stands for the Rich and the Powerful…, For or Against Children? , Bain Capital, Stand for Children and Initiative 1240 and Parents! Know the truth about Stand for Children.
SFC contributed $168K for mailers for the Erin Jones for OSPI campaign.
And speaking of SFC, check out another contributor to SFC, Howard Behar.
Behar has contributed about $41,000 to Stand for Children. He has also donated to individuals that seek to privatize our education system such as Washington State pro charter school representatives Steve Litzow, Chad Magendanz and Guy Palmbo.
He also contributed money to the No on 1098 campaign. Initiative 1098 was a push to establish an income tax in Washington State. Washington State has one of the most regressive state tax systems in the US relying solely on a sales tax to support all state and public services including schools.
Behar has donated $2,000 to Erin Jones campaign.
Another major contributor to Stand for Children is David Nierenberg who has donated a total of $60K over the last several years to Stand for Children and donated $6K to Erin Jones’ campaign.
Evelyn Rozner, married to Matt Griffin who is a big supporter of charter schools and Teach for America and tried to buy the Seattle school board, contributed $1K to Erin Jones’ campaign, contributed $5,000 to Stand for Children.
The League of Education Voters (LEV) and the LEV PAC, the Education Voters Political Action fund
To learn more about LEV, see A Look Back at the League of Education Voters and The Charter School Bill 1240 and the 1%: An Analysis. LEV has been heavily financed by Bill Gates who has been spending millions on various campaigns to have charter schools established in Washington State.
LEV has been very supportive of Erin Jones, featuring her as a keynote speaker at one of their events in 2014 and then for a LEV fundraiser as a featured speaker this year in Seattle.
Jene Jones, a lobbyist for LEV, who’s name keeps popping up when researching supporters of Erin Jones, spoke in Olympia in favor of a bill that would have elaminated levies which is a way for districts to raise money for public schools. This may have to do with the fact that charter schools, which are still unconstitutional in our state, cannot receive tax levy money.
Starve the beast, feed the monster.
The LEV PAC is endorsing many charter school proponents to serve in the Washington State House and Senate this year.
Kelly Munn, a Field Director with LEV, who Erin Jones considers one of her “friends”, contributed $250 to Jones’ campaign fund.
The Education Voters Political Action fund include contributors such as Christopher Larson, who contributed $20K, and Steve Sundquist, a former Seattle school board member and disciple of our former Broad Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson.
To see the correlation between Yes on 1240 contributors and Jones’ donors, you can peruse the Yes on 1240 pdc list.
Clyde and Rena Holland contributed $4K to Jones. Holland is a developer who has contributed to Republicans in Washington State and those with a right wing agenda. Holland provided Tim Heyman with enough cash to push forward an initiative that requires a 2/3 majority of votes in the State House and Senate rather than a simple majority to approve bills.
Democrats for Education Reform (DFER)
As stated in The deets on DFER post:
The Democrats for Education Reform have initiated a shameless war on public education, even as they claim to support children, teachers, and schools.
Dan Grimm, who is on the Board of Advisors for DFER, hosted a fundraiser for Erin Jones at the Asian Pacific Center on October 3, 2016.
To see the list of contributors to DFER, check out their pdc file.
Ruth Lipscomb, a self-proclaimed “education activist”, made a $500 contribution to the Erin Jones’ campaign. Lipscomb also contributed $3K to DFER and $7,500 to LEV’s PAC, the Education Voters Political Action fund.
Rainier Prep charter school
Maggie O’Sullivan, who is the founding principal of Rainier Prep charter school, a charter school that Erin Jones testified in favor of, contributed $350 to Erin Jones’ campaign.
SOAR charter school
David Yunger, a Vice President at Pearson, contributed $1,000 to the Erin Jones campaign and listed himself as an “entrepreneur”.
All these people, many who were contacted by Stand for Children’s Lobbyist Jim Kaimber requesting donations, want to see Erin Jones elected and the reason is clear. They see Jones as a way to gain entry and influence over education in Washington State.