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Wed Nov 13, 2013, 06:13 AM

Populist school board candidate beats challenger's $250,000 worth of negative ads


I've noticed that in the past two or three years, a number of extremely rich people are bundling funds and pouring them into local school board races.

Often the people making the campaign contributions do not live in the state or local community.

I wrote about this strange and new phenomenon in my book Reign of Error.

It is a deliberate and coordinated campaign to seize control of education at the local level.

This turns out to be remarkably easy, as the people who run for school board usually are able to put up or raise $10,000-40,000 at best.

But the strangers can easily assemble (or “bundle”) many times that amount to elect their hand-picked candidate, who–if elected–will become a voice for privatization, charter schools, Teach for America, test-based evaluation of teachers, and every other policy that is guaranteed to demoralize teachers and hand public dollars over to nonpublic schools and entrepreneurs. This is a very small investment for corporate reformers in a very large prize.

We saw it in the state board elections in Louisiana, where millions flowed into the state to give Governor Bobby Jindal a compliant board. We saw it in Los Angeles, where Mayor Bloomberg sent a cool $1 million, and Michelle Rhee tossed in a quarter million dollars (thankfully, they lost).

We saw it in the Washington State charter campaign, where Bill Gates, the Bezos family (amazon.com), and the Walton (Walmart) family easily outspent the parent groups school boards, and civil rights groups to enact charter legislation, which had been turned down three times previously.

Now the target of big money is Sue Peters, a parent activist who is running for school board. She has antagonized the corporate reformers because she stands up for children, not for privatization. A PAC was created to defeat her.


Suzanne Estey’s claim to fame, as she has stated during her campaign, is her involvement as a board member of Community Center for Education Results (CCER), an “organization” that was created out of thin air by Bill Gates to the tune of over $4M to go after Race to the Top funding. This was a three-year push for funds that allow any interested third party to access not only the basic information of name, address and social security number of our students, but now lots more, more than any parent would want to see made public. And all for a pittance. For more on the subject, see CCER, the Road Map Project and the loss of student privacy.

The accumulation of student information is a nationwide effort by Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and former New York Mayor Bloomberg to have a national database called inBloom.

Sue Peters, always tracking the school district’s actions, was the first to catch a leak of our students’ information three years ago during the same time that Estey was pushing to gain more information on our children, see Should the School District Be Allowed to Give Our Kids’ Phone numbers, Addresses and Photos to Every Tom, Dick and Pollster?

Sue has been an active parent in the Seattle Public School district for ten years, an education journalist, a member of the district’s Superintendent Search Community Focus Group and the Strategic Plan Stakeholder Task Force as well as a founding member of Parents Across America and the Seattle Math Coalition.

As with any campaign these days, though, we need to follow the money.

Estey has received $176,000 worth of campaign contributions from a relatively small group of people and yet doesn’t seem to know who her funders are or why anyone would be concerned. This is according to what Estey said in a candidate’s forum last month. Is this naiveté or a just little white lie? From what I’ve seen, she doesn’t seem to be the type to easily bold face lie to others…or is she? Check out the video of the 37th District Democrat’s Forum, go into the video to 10:36 and judge for yourself.

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Reply Populist school board candidate beats challenger's $250,000 worth of negative ads (Original post)
eridani Nov 2013 OP
eridani Nov 2013 #1
eridani Nov 2013 #2
Jefferson23 Nov 2013 #3
warrant46 Nov 2013 #4

Response to eridani (Original post)

Sun Nov 17, 2013, 10:06 AM

1. The Peters lead continues to increase

On Election Day 11/5
Peters 39177
Estey 36676
Total Drop 75853

Peters Percent 51.65%
Estey Percent 48.35%
Lead 2501

Saturday 11/16
Peters 89835
Estey 73999
Total Drop 163834

Peters Percent 54.83%
Estey Percent 45.17%
Lead 15836

Peters has gotten 58.3% of votes accepted 11/7 and after.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 04:06 AM

2. A win in Bridgeport CT as well

Education Deform also defeated in Bridgeport, CT

What makes Bridgeport different is how parents and teachers worked together to counter these attempts to stifle their voices and shut them out. The CWF party and teachers union jointly fielded candidates to oppose party-backed Democrats. In September, their three candidates beat the party’s candidates by two-to-one margins in the primaries, signaling the strength of the grass-roots effort and growing dissatisfaction with the policies of Finch and Vallas. Last week, they joined incumbent CWF school board member Sauda Baraka and Republican Joe Larcheveque to form a new, bipartisan 5-4 majority. Four days later, Vallas announced his resignation as superintendent.

Bridgeport now has the opportunity to provide a new model for both better policy and real democracy. It can join districts like Union City, New Jersey, and Montgomery County, Md., both of which are addressing poverty-related impediments to learning head-on rather than being distracted by more tests and charter schools. Union City has engaged in a slow, steady, 10-year effort involving more equitable school funding, high-quality pre-K, literacy-rich early elementary years and strong supports for teachers to boost the skills of its English-language learners. Parents are integral partners, not nuisances who stand in the way of real change. Montgomery County’s peer review-and-assistance program helps attract and retain some of the nation’s best teachers, who use in-depth data from their own assessments to improve instruction and make parents their partners in boosting achievement. Teachers are helped by the county’s smart mixed-use housing policy, health and income supports and redistribution of resources to the lowest-income schools

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Response to eridani (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 18, 2013, 04:59 PM

3. I love this! n/t

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sat Nov 23, 2013, 08:46 PM

4. This is what the koch brothers and their ilk do

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