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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 01:55 PM
Original message
"Democrats For Education Reform"



Follow the money:

http://www.dfer.org/list/about/board/


Board of Directors
The DFER Board

Kevin Chavous (chair) - Former Washington, DC, City Council member and chair of the Education Committee.

Tony Davis - Anchorage Capital, board chair for Achievement First East New York, in Brooklyn.

Charles Ledley - Cornwall Capital, NYC, board member and treasurer of Harlem Village Academy and Leadership Village Academy Charter Schools.

Rafael Mayer - Co-founder and managing partner, Khronos LLC, board member for Planned Parenthood of NYC, KIPP AMP, and The Dalton School.

Sara Mead - New America Foundation, former analyst for Education Sector and the Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, D.C.

John Petry - Gotham Capital, co-founder of Harlem Success Academy Charter School, NYC.

Andrew Rotherham - Co-Founder and Publisher, Education Sector, former White House education advisor to President Clinton, author of the blog, Eduwonk.com.

Whitney Tilson - T2 Partners and Tilson Funds, vice chairman of KIPP Academy Charter Schools in NYC, co-founder of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.

(Note - Organizations listed here are for identification purposes only and do not imply an endorsement or affiliation.)

The DFER Board of Advisors

William Ackman - Founder, Pershing Square Capital.

Steve Barr - Founder and CEO, Green Dot Public Schools.

Cory Booker - Mayor of Newark, N.J.

David Einhorn - Founder of Greenlight Capital, LLC.

Joel Greenblatt - Founder and Managing Partner of Gotham Capital.

Vincent Mai - Chairman of AEA Investors, LP.

Michael Novogratz - President of Fortress Investment Group.

Tom Vander Ark - Partner, Revolution Learning.



http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/article.asp?article=1468&cat=139

Democrats for Education Reform
A new grassroots lobbying group plans to shake up its party's positions on education
Justin Torres
June 19, 2007



Whitney Tilson has had enough when it comes to Democratic opposition to education reforms. There are millions of kids out there who are being failed by the system, and our party is looking the other way. Its morally bankrupt and politically suicidal, and you can quote me on that, he says.

Tilson, a hedge fund manager and longtime Democratic funder and activist, is looking to shake up his partys positions on education by co-founding Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), a new grassroots lobbying, funding and advocacy group that plans to challenge the entrenched party power of teachers unions and other education sector interests, who largely define the official Democratic position on education issues. DFER believes that high standards, innovation and accountability for successqualities in short supply among the establishmentare essential for fueling excellence in education and giving all children an equal opportunity to succeed.

...

Of equal importance to DFER, which officially launches on June 5, 2007, is reaching out to Democratic presidential candidates, all of whom are looking for ways to distinguish themselves from the pack. Tilson believes that with the presidential race and the effort by candidates to stake out fresh and interesting positions, the climate is better than ever for having a discussion on education reform in the party.

The group also plans to raise several million dollars over the next 15 months to support reform-minded Democratic candidatesand DFER members are hoping that raising those funds will create a greater willingness among candidates to speak out about their pro-reform views. Unfortunately, we may have far more Democrats who will give money to this sort of effort than we will have deserving candidates, notes executive director Joe Williams, a former New York Daily News reporter.



http://www.dfer.org/list/about/staff/
http://www.dfer.org/2007/09/the_dfer_staff.php#more



Joe Williams

Articles in this list link back to phony education website hosted by three RW think tanks:
http://educationnext.org/

The Hoover Institution
http://www.hoover.org/

Program on Education Policy and Governance
Harvard University
http://www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/

Thomas Fordham Institute
http://www.edexcellence.net/template/index.cfm

Our Funders:

http://www.edexcellence.net/index.cfm/our-funders


Our Funders
2007-2010



The Achelis and Bodman Foundations

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation

The Broad Foundation

The Brookhill Foundation

The Louis Calder Foundation

The Challenge Foundation

Doris and Donald Fisher Fund

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace

The Joyce Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

The Koret Foundation

The Kovner Foundation

Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation

The Robertson Foundation

Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation

Searle Freedom Trust

The William E. Simon Foundation

The Spencer Foundation

The John Templeton Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation



http://edreform.blogspot.com/2010/03/speaking-of-union-hypocrisy-heres.html
(Whitney Tilson's blog)

Friday, March 19, 2010
Speaking of union hypocrisy, heres a message from DFERs Joe Williams:


Friends:

I was struck by the comment that appeared in the NY Times over the weekend from Zeph Capo, a union boss with the Houston Federation of Teachers.

The story, if you didn't see it, looked at growing frustrations with President Obama among teacher union bosses nationwide.

"I ripped the Obama sticker off my truck," a pissed-off Capo told America's newspaper of record.

Hmmm. What do you suppose was underneath this Obama sticker??? Could it have been a... Hillary sticker?

The Houston Federation of Teachers, like many teacher union locals around the country, did NOT support candidate Barack Obama in the primaries. It is important to remember, despite attempts to re-write history that are in full swing in teacher union HQ's all over the country, that teachers unions spent MILLIONS trying to make sure that Barack Obama did not become president. The prolonged presidential primary where the unions were decidedly trying to keep Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations on life support, lawsuits to close down Obama-friendly polling places, etc.

By the time candidate Obama survived these prolonged AFT-NEA attacks, he had also built the most incredible INDEPENDENT fundraising machine we have ever seen in American politics.


O rly, Joe?

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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 01:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. Charters!
It's the new Us-Them!

:think:
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Dhalgren Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
2. Who would have thought that Obama would be the one to start
the wholesale dismantling of the teachers' unions and the destruction of the public school system? There is no bottom to this tub...
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LisaM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Didn't you listen to him during the primaries?
This is no surprise to me at all, though I am very angry about it.
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. You need a big tub for all that money.
It's a plan no Republican would be bold enough to embark on.
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
5. More DLC privatization/anti-union trash.
Watch out, Social Secuirty and Medicare -- you're next. :scared:
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Yep

Bush did as much damage as he could but he couldn't go there. Takes a Democrat to destroy a Democratic constituency.

k&r
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Thanks for the rec bp.
I used to search these things out to find crap about Republicans. Looks like I'm going to get to stay in practice on the Dems.
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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. "wooly-headed liberal thinking" ????
omg...
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
7. Whitney Tilson: I can haz moovie?



http://edreform.blogspot.com/

Monday, April 05, 2010
WELCOME TO MY BLOG


For more about me and links to my favorite articles, posts and videos on education reform, see my School Reform Resource Page at www.tilsonfunds.com/Personal/SchoolReform, in particular my Powerpoint presentation entitled A Right Denied: The Critical Need for Genuine School Reform, which is posted at www.tilsonfunds.com/Personal/TheCriticalNeedforGenuineSchoolReform.pdf.



The idea for this came to me after watching An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's documentary about global warming. After seeing it, I thought to myself, "That's exactly what school reformers need as well!" My presentation is meant to be a collection of data and arguments that forcefully advocates for an urgent school reform agenda. I gave this presentation at an event in Washington DC on Nov. 4, 2009. Here are links to the videos:



Part 1: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2crd5D8ZW1k



Part 2: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiKvBJtUct0



Part 3: www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVkeB58INIE



It has also been made into a documentary, which will be released this month. You can see the trailer and, if you wish, pre-order it at: www.2mminutes.com/films/a-right-denied.asp.

posted by Whitney Tilson at 9:07 AM



http://www.2mminutes.com/films/a-right-denied.asp


A Right Denied: The Critical Need for Genuine Education Reform

Whitney Tilson and True South Studios present A Right Denied: The Critical Need for Genuine Education Reform. Education reformer Whitney Tilson gives the most in-depth exploration ever committed to film of the twin achievement gaps that threaten our nation's future: between the U.S. and our economic competitors, and between low-income, minority students and their more affluent peers. After spending more than two decades on the front lines, witnessing first-hand public education's shocking failures and remarkable successes, Mr. Tilson was inspired to assemble a powerful and at times unsettling presentation about the twin achievement gaps and what must be done to address them. He utilizes the latest data and research to paint the most detailed portrait of American public education ever committed to film. More importantly, he presents us with a way forward so our nation can deliver on its promise to all of its children and ensure its long-term future.



I note that they left out the fact that he's a popular and well-known hedge fund manager too.
http://www.tilsonfunds.com/bio_w.html



About Whitney R. Tilson

Whitney Tilson is the founder and Managing Partner of T2 Partners LLC and the Tilson Mutual Funds. The former (http://www.T2PartnersLLC.com) manages three value-oriented private investment partnerships, T2 Accredited Fund, Tilson Offshore Fund and T2 Qualified Fund, while the latter is comprised of two value-based mutual funds, Tilson Focus Fund and Tilson Dividend Fund (www.tilsonmutualfunds.com).

Mr. Tilson is also the co-founder, Chairman and co-Editor-in-Chief of Value Investor Insight (www.valueinvestorinsight.com), an investment newsletter, and is the co-founder and Chairman of the Value Investing Congress (www.valueinvestingcongress.com), a biannual investment conference in New York City and Los Angeles.

Mr. Tilson writes a regular column on value investing for the Financial Times and Kiplinger's, has written for the Motley Fool and TheStreet.com, was one of the authors of Poor Charlies Almanack, the definitive book on Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, and teaches financial statement analysis and business valuation for the Dickie Group. He was one of five investors included in SmartMoneys Power 30, was named by Institutional Investor as one of 20 Rising Stars, has appeared many times on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox Business Network, Lou Dobbs Moneyline and Wall $treet Week, was on the cover of the July 2007 Kiplingers, has been profiled by the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, and has spoken widely on value investing and behavioral finance. He served on the Board of Directors of Cutter & Buck, a public company that designs and markets upscale sportswear for two years until the company was sold in early 2007.

Prior to launching his investment career in 1999, Mr. Tilson spent five years working with Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter studying the competitiveness of inner cities and inner-city-based companies nationwide. He and Professor Porter founded the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, of which Mr. Tilson was Executive Director. Mr. Tilson also led the effort to create ICV Partners, a national for-profit private equity fund focused on minority-owned and inner-city businesses that has raised nearly $500 million.


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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. This piece of astroturf "movie" is premiering tomorrow in New York
Panels to be led by the Usual Suspects

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/new-education-documentary-featuring-whitney,1235375.shtml

Barf.


Documentaries about education reform have done their part to alert people of the need for change in our public school system, said Compton. But whats special about this film is that it also presents us with a way forward so our nation can deliver on its promise to provide all children with a quality education.

After spending more than two decades on the front lines, witnessing first-hand public education's shocking failures and remarkable successes, Tilson created a powerful and, at times, unsettling presentation about the twin achievement gaps and what must be done to address them. He utilizes the latest data and research to paint the most detailed portrait of American public education ever committed to film.

...

Those participating in the afternoon discussion panel include Dacia Toll, co-founder of Amistad Academy and Achievement First, Deborah Kenny, founder and CEO of Harlem Village Academies, Evan Stone, founder of Educators 4 Excellence (E4E), Drema Brown, director of Aspiring Principals and Student Achievement for New Leaders for New Schools, Kevin Chavous, chairman of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and Norman Atkins, founder of North Star Academy, Uncommon Schools and Teacher U.

...

Among those participating on the second discussion panel are Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America, David Levin, co-founder of Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), Eva Moskowitz, CEO of the Success Charter Network, Shavar Jeffries, founding board president of KIPP Newark, and Joe Williams, executive director of Democrats for Education Reform.


http://edreform.blogspot.com/2010/03/diane-ravitch-changed-her-mind-to-what.html
Whitney Tilson has a link on his website to this article praising it so this must be in line with his views:

Peter Murphy of New York Charter School Association makes this braindead statement:
http://blog.nycsa.org/2010/03/diane-ravitch-changed-her-mind-to-what.html


Diane Ravitch "Changed Her Mind" to What? Not Much.
Longtime author and education historian, Diane Ravitch, has come full circle on education reform. Once its champion who supported school choice using charter schools and increased accountability, her new book, "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education," now makes her a fierce critic of education reform.

Dr. Ravitch discusses her new book in today's Wall Street Journal (here) in overwrought fashion by writing the "current emphasis on accountability has created a punitive atmosphere in the schools" and accuses the Obama administration of believing the solution is to "fire teachers and close schools." She also faults the Bush era No Child Left Behind Act as imposing "draconian penalties" on schools failing to make AYP. This would be news to many, including the Journal, which was a critic of Bush Education Secretary Margaret Spellings' refusal to actually impose penalties on states that receive billions in federal education aid without enforcing the corrective actions required of failing schools.

She also attacks charter schools as ineffective and failing in their promise, while acknowledging they remain only 3 percent of the total number of public schools. Dr. Ravitch's criticisms of charters mirror many of Michael Mulgrew's UFT talking points. The Chalkboard previously pointed out her "negative waves" about charters here. What she omits is that the charter laws in many states themselves are ineffective and permit not much more than district-type schools.

Coming Full Circle to Conventional Thinking

Dr. Ravitch, for all her knowledge and experience, comes off with her latest treatise as oh-so-conventional by falling back on the same shibboleths and excuse-making typical of so many urban school districts. She even dusts off that golden oldie: blaming "poverty" for low student academic performance, rather than the adults in charge of the school systems doing such a disservice to so many young people in need. Weak-kneed public officials and stultifying teacher union contracts she finds no fault, even as Time magazine's Joe Klein (here) and Newsweek's Evan Thomas (here) challenge this ongoing education malpractice.


Oh yeah, gods forbid we should mention the elephant in the room. The poor kids in the poor communities are suffering from lack and want, but this is just a "golden oldie". I'm glad we have rich guys around to tell us that poverty is not really that big of a problem.











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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 03:12 PM
Response to Original message
8. Here's Bob
And who is the films producer? Some scrappy little indy production house called 2MM. Or so they'd like for you to think. Let's meet this intrepid fellow.


Call me Bob


Welcome to my site. If you havent picked up on it yet my name is Robert Compton but my friends call me Bob. I have been around since the fifties and am glad to have lived during such interesting times. I have a wide range of interests and I hope that you and I can learn something from each other.

I graduated from Principia College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After graduation I began my career in systems operations with Telenet Communications, the first X.25 communications network. I joined IBM Corporation initially as a systems engineer, and later became a sales representative selling mainframe computer systems. I left IBM to continue my education at Harvard University Graduate School of Business where I received my Masters in Business Administration.

A year after Harvard, I landed a position at First Chicago Venture Capital. From there, I moved to Indiana where I served as a general partner at CID Equity Partners from 1987 to 1997. My signature deal was help-desk software developer Software Artistry, which went public in 1995 and was acquired two years later by IBM for about $200 Million. I was President and Chief Operating Officer of Sofamor Danek Group, Inc., which at the time was the worlds largest supplier of implants, computer-assisted surgery products, and biologics for spinal surgery. Medtronic acquired Sofamor Danek Group, Inc. in January 1999 for $3.7 billion. I have served on numerous corporate Boards of Directors in an array of industries and have been the lead investor in over 20 businesses, five of which have had successful public offerings. I am currently the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vontoo Corporation, the Founder and CEO of True South Studios, as well as the Founder and Chairman of Indian Math Online.

I am an active philanthropist, who has endowed scholarships at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, given a grant to support Teach for America and the University of Memphis School of Business. I have given research grants to InMotion Musculoskeletal Research Institute, St. Jude Childrens Hospital, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I have also given money to support St. Georges High School, Exchange City, Memphis, and the Indie Memphis Film Festival.


He has an initiative on his website
http://www.2mminutes.com/petition/

Children 4 Change

Since we have a four paragraph limit here, I will only list four:

3. Pay For Performance - use rewards and incentives to keep talented teachers in the schools that need them the most and demonstrate we value their skills.

4. Recruit Best and Brightest to Teaching - support efforts to fast-track private sector professionals with advanced degrees into teaching and push for expansion of Teach For America.

5. Remove Poor Performing Teachers - challenge State and school districts to quickly remove ineffective teachers from the classroom. A child has only one chance at an education - they deserve the best teachers.

6. No Restrictions on Charter Schools - This means that school boards should not limit the number of charter schools; should allow charter schools to create their own rules regarding hiring, curriculum, tenure and unionization; and per student funding should be equal to that of other public schools within the same district. High-quality charter schools give children and parents the option to find the school that best fits their needs.

His blog:
http://2mm.typepad.com/usa/2010/03/teachers-unions-block-states-from-applying-for-race-to-the-top-funds.html


March 29, 2010
Teacher's Unions Block States From Applying For Race To The Top Funds

Jim Lehrer produced a remarkable 6 minute video where Union leaders at the State level show no shame in blocking Federal funding to improve education for our children.

"It would mean changing our contracts and my members are vehemently opposed to that," stated one State Union leader.

In other words, screw the young people of America - Teacher's come first. Unbelievable what these Union presidents say and believe. Well worth watching.



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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
10. Charter Schools are "Toyota 20 years ago"
Edited on Tue Apr-06-10 04:44 PM by Starry Messenger
Article from 2007 from Elizabeth Green. I haven't checked yet, but I'm pretty sure it's the same Ms. Green who wrote the notorious NYT article we discussed here recently. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/magazine/07Teachers-t.html

http://www.nysun.com/new-york/how-new-generation-of-reformers-targets-democrats/55537/


Teachers' unions may give a big boost to the Democratic Party, but so do those working in finance. If Democrats for Education Reform can convince them to press issues like length of the school day and merit-based teacher pay, it could force a dramatic swing in the party itself.

Last week, Mr. Curry made his pitch to the Fortress Investment Group's head of global investments, Mike Novogratz, in a meeting in Mr. Novogratz's Midtown office. Leaving, Mr. Curry wondered whether Mr. Novogratz, whose company recently went public and made him a fortune, would sign on. He seemed to have bought the sell about leverage, and the possibility of enormous change from a relatively small amount of money. But would Mr. Novogratz, a major Democratic fund-raiser, be wary to "break any glass"? Mr. Curry found the answer in his e-mail inbox: "I'm in." Mr. Novogratz has pledged $50,000 to Democrats for Education Reform.

Last week the group hosted a dinner for State Senator Malcolm Smith, the minority leader, one day before he was scheduled to attend a fund-raiser hosted by the president of the United Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten. "Nobody's going to be bought here," Mr. Williams said. "Any reasonable person that wants to become the Senate majority leader should be talking with Randi. We just want him to be talking to us too."

As investors, the group's leaders spend their days searching for hidden diamonds in the rough: businesses the market has left for dead, but a savvy investor could turn for a profit. A big inner-city school system, Mr. Tilson explained, is kind of like that the General Motors of the education world. "I see very, very similar dynamics: very large bureaucratic organizations that have become increasingly disconnected from their customers; that are producing an inferior product and losing customers; that are heavily unionized," he said. A successful charter school, on the other hand, is like "Toyota 20 years ago."


What happens when the Charters turn into the Toyota of today? :(

And what happens when these rich guys get bored and take their toys and go home?

http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/article.asp?article=1616&cat=149

Patrick Byrne, son of Geico insurance rescuer John J. Byrne, today owns Overstock.com which I'm sure we've all heard of. He's a disciple of Milton Friedman and is a "venture philanthropist" in schools here and abroad. Here's him talking about what he did with a school in Calcutta.


PHILANTHROPY: Has your work funding school choice efforts in the United States given you any perspective on your funding of private education overseas?

MR. BYRNE: Yes. I used to support a school for orphans and kids with physical disabilities in India. It had about 600 kids from the slums of Calcuttaas poor as you can get. All of the instruction was in English, and the students were performing at an amazingly high level. Well, soon enough, some middle-class families began to see that these poor kids from the slums were speaking better English than their children. Before you knew it, middle-class and even wealthy families were trying to get their kids into this school that was originally set up for the poorest of the poor.

Now, in India you need a special license to run a school that teaches in English. And what started happening? The government schools in Calcutta began putting pressure on the state bureaucrat who issues that license. They wanted him to revoke the license of the school I was funding because the parents in the government schools were starting to ask, Why arent our kids getting as good an education? Of course, the response of the government schools wasnt to say, How do we improve our schools? It was, Lets take away their license.

I eventually withdrew my support for this particular school after its founder passed awayI didnt want to work with the people who replaced him. But the whole episode was a perfect illustration of what happens when the state has power over the education system.



Yeah, he really cares about them kids. edit to add: er, perhaps I wasn't clear, but abandoning this school when he got bored with it was probably really detrimental to the school and is what will probably happen in this country. This whole movement is founded on right wing principles by libertarian and conservative think tanks. I think that's stupid.
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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. sounds like the perfect illustration
of some of the responses I hear now....



MR. BYRNE: Yes. I used to support a school for orphans and kids with physical disabilities in India. It had about 600 kids from the slums of Calcuttaas poor as you can get. All of the instruction was in English, and the students were performing at an amazingly high level. Well, soon enough, some middle-class families began to see that these poor kids from the slums were speaking better English than their children. Before you knew it, middle-class and even wealthy families were trying to get their kids into this school that was originally set up for the poorest of the poor.

Now, in India you need a special license to run a school that teaches in English. And what started happening? The government schools in Calcutta began putting pressure on the state bureaucrat who issues that license. They wanted him to revoke the license of the school I was funding because the parents in the government schools were starting to ask, Why arent our kids getting as good an education? Of course, the response of the government schools wasnt to say, How do we improve our schools? It was, Lets take away their license.


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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 04:35 PM
Response to Original message
11. Great find!
Thanks for posting! ;)


DEMOCRATS For Education Reform:
Statement of Principles

A first-rate system of public education is the cornerstone of a prosperous, free and just society, yet millions of American children today - particularly low-income and children of color - are trapped in persistently failing schools that are part of deeply dysfunctional school systems. These systems, once viewed romantically as avenues of opportunity for all, have become captive to powerful, entrenched interests that too often put the demands of adults before the educational needs of children. This perverse hierarchy of priorities is political, and thus requires a political response.

Both political parties have failed to address the tragic decline of our system of public education, but it is the Democratic Party - our party - which must question how we allowed ourselves to drift so far from our mission. Fighting on behalf of our nation's most vulnerable individuals is what our party is supposed to stand for.

Democrats for Education Reform aims to return the Democratic Party to its rightful place as a champion of children, first and foremost, in America's public education systems.

We support leaders in our party who have the courage to challenge a failing status quo and who believe that the severity of our nation's educational crisis demands that we tackle this problem using every possible tool at our disposal.

We believe that reforming broken public school systems cannot be accomplished by tinkering at the margins, but rather through bold and revolutionary leadership. This requires opening up the traditional top-down monopoly of most school systems and empowering all parents to access great schools for their children.

We know that decisive action today will benefit our children, our party and ultimately our nation.

http://www.dfer.org/about/principles/

What We Stand For

* We support policies which stimulate the creation of new, accountable public schools and which simultaneously close down failing schools
* We support mechanisms that allow parents to select excellent schools for their children, and where education dollars follow each child to their school.
* We support governance structures which hold leaders responsible, while giving them the tools to effectuate change. We believe in empowering mayors to lead urban school districts, so that they can be held accountable by the electorate.
* We support policies that allow school principals and their school communities to select their teams of educators, holding them accountable for student performance but allowing them flexibility to exercise sound, professional judgment.
* We support clearly-articulated national standards and expectations for core subject areas, while allowing states and local districts to determine how best to make sure that all students are reaching those standards.



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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-10 03:05 AM
Response to Reply #11
19. your repeated cut & pastes of PR-speak indicate you believe words = deeds.
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 05:19 PM
Response to Original message
14. Eli Finally Won
Edited on Tue Apr-06-10 05:33 PM by Starry Messenger
This is from a year ago, but it seems even more significant this year.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-vander-ark/eli-finally-won_b_174152.html


Eli Broad paved the way for radical moderates. He was a New Democrat before Clinton. He was a Democrat for Education Reform before there was a DFER.

But yesterday, Eli won. Obama's speech sounded like Eli wrote it. It was about choice and charter schools, human capital and performance pay. It was right on message from pre-school to college. We've never had a Republican president that so clearly articulated a Republican strategy. Only it's the new New Democrat strategy. It's Eli's strategy. He finally won.


From the Perimeter Primate in 2007 about the Broad circus in my old hometown of Oakland, CA:
http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2009/09/introducing-broad-report.html


Eli Broad is a wealthy and well-connected individual who has acquired an incredible amount of influence over a very important public sphere. He is also an unelected person who plies his trade in back rooms, or at by-invitation-only affairs. He never presents himself at truly public forums, thus conveniently protecting himself from any public response which would be negative. Those of us in the trenches are left to our imaginations to come up with strategies to counter what he's doing.

I started researching Broad and his effects a few years ago after my daughter's principal started complaining about the "Broad-people" who had taken over "downtown" (also known as the school district's central office). I had never heard the word "Broad" before, other than when it was used to refer to the home building company Kaufman and Broad. This particular principal was an excellent one and very highly regarded. She was a school budget expert who was extremely creative with finding ways to bring good things to her students. Close to retirement, she soon just decided to bag it rather than try to fight with the "downtown" mess being caused by the Broad-takeover.

At that time, Oakland was being subjected to the first of three successive Broad-trained state administrators who assigned a host of Broad Residents to important positions in the OUSD administration. These people drastically altered our district during the six years they were here. The breakdown was what the principal had been witnessing.

During the Broad-trained state administrators reign, which was very likely facilitated by Broad and other pro-charter heavies who had made huge contributions to the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction campaign of Jack OConnell, charter schools were opened, traditional public schools were neglected and/or closed, the community voice was blocked, etc. The damage to the integrity of our already less-than-strong community, as well as to our district's institutional memory, may never be regained. Of course, this was exactly what they were after, as their personal storyteller, Joe Williams (now executive director of Democrats for Education Reform), reports here. The more you look into it, the more you become aware that this is a very cozy group.




"Temporary Opportunity"?? Nice language! Shitty way to refer to takeover of the schools in a struggling community

edit to add: link to PP's analysis of the Joe William's "report" on the Oakland Broad Experiment--

http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2009/02/national-model-or-temporary-opportunity.html


The document reveals that, A group of Oakland small school creators, activists, technocrats, and philanthropists decided that the conditions were indeed ripe to try something big. They had been waiting for a politics free zone to push their agenda; it was created once the state obtained control of the district. The speed at which they worked is evident today, as our district is, quite frankly, in a state of disarray. The morale of parents and OUSD staff has been deeply affected. In combination with the demands of NCLB, relief from the stress is desperately needed.

The report states: Speed was important, said Hall, who noted that all of the conditions that were in place in Oakland convinced the foundation it was a good investment. We felt that if this happened slowly, you would give the forces of opposition too many opportunities to stop it in its tracks.

It is bluntly revealed in this document that OUSD was a test case for the pro-charter movement, so much so, that OUSD worked with the New Schools Venture Fund to create a charter management organization which specialized in converting schools in need of Program Improvement to charter schools. Today this organization is Education for Change (http://www.efcps.org/) located on Hegenberger Road. EFC was founded in 2005 by Kevin Wooldridge (also current CEO) who had been an elementary school Executive Director in OUSD. This organization immediately obtained approval from OUSD as the manager for Cox Academy, Education for Change World Academy, and Education for Change Achieve Academy.

...

This is the legacy of the Broad-originated operation in OUSD. The CER report concludes that there are lessons the charter school movement could learn from what was done in Oakland. It admits that the reform attempt here was less than successful, mostly because it was too aggressive and fast, and that the academic outputs (test scores) never measured up to the programs inputs (the money that was spent). However, the reform movement hopes the root of their project here has extended deep enough into our community so it can continue to live. They aren't particularly confident that it has.


Appalling.
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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 07:43 PM
Response to Original message
16. Thank you Starry!
Edited on Tue Apr-06-10 07:43 PM by maryf
Fantastic finds here! So when do we hit the streets, general teachers' strike and rally? on edit, K&R of course!!!
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 08:12 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. I'm ready to hit the streets
This is all out war. :grr:
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maryf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-10 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. Too many teachers
seem willing to wait...I'm on the constant lookout!
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-10 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
18. Democrats for Education Reform?
http://newpolitics.mayfirst.org/node/267


March 20, 2010
Anyone who doubts that the Democratic Party has morphed from liberal to neoliberal in regard to education policy should check out the Democrats for Education Reform (DER).

Their program is straight from the neoliberal thinktanks, and they make no effort to disguise the origins of their ideas or politics. In Denver they are hosting a talk with Rick Hess, who heads the education policy unit at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Ten years ago AEI would have been called far-right wing. But since high-profile Democrats, like Cory Booker, the African American mayor of Newark, NJ, (who is on the Board of Directors of Democrats for Education Reform) now march to AEIs tune about schools, maybe we have to refer to AEI as centrist?

By entrenched interests they do NOT mean the for-profit companies that run schools and take care of outsourced school services, like school lunch, teacher hiring and professional development. Nor does DER want to toss out corporations that produce and grade standardized tests and in doing so control what is taught to our kids. They think what what Stephen Ball refers to as education for sale and the commodification of everything. is just dandy. Nope, the only entrenched interests they want to control are. teacher unions.

Their attack on unions is straight out of the neoliberal blueprint for education, articulated in its most unvarnished form in a draft report of the World Bank Making Services Work for Poor People.

As this playbook for crushing the unions puts it , teachers and their unions are a threat to global prosperity. Why? Because "With their political power, teachers and doctors are able to protect their incomes
when there is pressure for budget cuts.. Many governments have responded by creating a second class of teachers who are outside the civil service, and are correspondingly paid less with fewer benefits. The experience in several West African countries shows that there are many people willing to take these jobs (a recent announcement in Senegal generated 30,000 applicants for 1,000 positions); even if they are less qualified, the
evidence on student performance is mixed;
and, over time, these contractual workers have come to dominate the public service, as in Benin." (p.6)


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tonysam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-10 02:42 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. And as long as people are stupid enough to believe education is about the kids,
Edited on Wed Apr-07-10 02:42 PM by tonysam
they will continue to flock to colleges and universities to get certified.

But eventually the college graduate requirement will be gone, and teachers will be nothing but "technicians" making minimum wage and won't even need college.

People need to AVOID teaching, period.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-10 03:07 AM
Response to Original message
20. The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation = funder of far-right causes along with
scaife. if you seem any of the scaife foundations funding something, bradley will usually be there too.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-10 06:10 AM
Response to Original message
21. I'm a huge Cory Booker fan
:shrug:
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 03:25 AM
Response to Reply #21
24. .
http://www.nysun.com/new-york/school-reform-group-hails-jersey-victories/56031/



A new city-based political action committee celebrated its first electoral victory yesterday in a New Jersey primary race.

The Democrats for Education Reform gave money to a slate of six candidates backed by Newark Mayor Cory Booker, covering about a quarter of their campaign costs, a co-founder of the group said. At least four of them won, beating incumbent opponents.

The group aims to shape the Democratic Party's position on education, pushing openness to innovations like charter schools and merit-based teacher pay.


Its founders learned about the New Jersey victories at their Tuesday night launch party, the co-founder who hosted the event, Ravenel Boykin Curry IV, said. Mr. Curry sent an e-mail message to supporters yesterday morning notifying them of the wins.

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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 12:28 AM
Response to Original message
25. great research.
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-25-10 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Oh thanks!
At the time I wasn't sure if I had tinfoil on about this stuff, but they do seem to be what I feared. They've been oddly busy at work in (big surprise) Milwaukee:

http://blogs.artvoice.com/avdaily/2010/05/03/education-reform-nows-hedge-fund-buddies/



Heres an interesting story from the Express in Milwaukee, where Education Reform Now (ERN) and Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) have been lobbying big time to grab control of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS).

In Saturdays Buffalo News, ERN Executive Director Joe Williams forgot to mention that the ERN board is made up of businessmen from hedge fund groups who see charters as a hot cause. These folks work for Hawkshaw Capital, Gotham Capital, SAC Capital and Maverick Capital.

Maybe thats why Andrew Rudnick referred to the Buffalo Public Schools as a big business. This is a billion dollar budget. You need committed, reform-minded folks to be the board of directors.




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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-26-10 08:20 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. Whitney Tilson is buying up BP shares now
Of course he is.

http://www.benzinga.com/trading-ideas/long-ideas/10/06/321298/whitney-tilson-says-he-is-long-bp-shares-bp#

"Hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson said that he is long BP (NYSE: BP) shares, saying that the stock is "just too cheap" at this point. He said that this is not a short term position for his firm, T2 Partners, and he fully expects for the BP headlines to be terrible for some time to come. He said that his long BP position amounts to only about 4% of his portfolio, which is a smaller percentage than many of his other holdings.

Tilson said that he does not expect for BP's dividend to be cut, citing the fact that such a development would be detrimental to U.K. pensioners and retirees. He said he did not think that either the U.S. or U.K governments will take the step of forcing the company to cut the dividend at the expense of shareholders. The hedge fund manager said that BP is one of the most profitable companies in the world, and that while the oil spill was inexcusable, he thinks that the price of BP is very compelling at current levels."


I feel like this completes some circle. Ruining education is just his hobby. Rolling the dice on the stocks of the country's biggest disaster is really what he gets up in the morning for. Oh wait! He JUST CARES SO MUCH!!!1111


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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-07-11 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
28. I'm kicking this up for all the folks who asked about Whitney Tilson.
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
29. If you are a hedge fund manager, there are two sentences and six words you can say about ed reform:
''I am sorry. Raise my taxes.''

and maybe, ''Your honor, I plead guilty and request the maximum sentence.''
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