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Billionaire-funded ed reform group moves into North Carolina. Plus new Rhee/Klein group to NY. [View All]

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-04-12 03:11 PM
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Billionaire-funded ed reform group moves into North Carolina. Plus new Rhee/Klein group to NY.
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The group called Campaign for Achievement Now is funded by the Gates Foundation and the Walton Foundation among others. They say they are building "citizen" movements, but with that much money it sounds more like a top down push.

From the Parents Across America website:

Billionaire-financed Astroturf Group Coming to North Carolina

PAA affiliate Mecklenburg Acts just learned that the astroturf Campaign for Achievement Now has targeted our state for its next legislative drive. According to the website, the Campaign plans to spend more than $700,000 in our state to advance its charter and testing-focused agenda in 2012 alone, most of it apparently financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This is in addition to the $850,000 being spent in our state for the charter-focused North Carolinians for Educational Freedom. We will be working with our allies in our recent fight against testing madness to combat their efforts.

Campaign for Achievement Now is already operating in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Minnesota and New York, thanks to funding from the Walton Foundation. According to their Website, they plan to continue to expand into other states. Look out for them!

Heres the message Mecklenburg ACTS sent to our supporters:

The Campaign for Achievement Now has set its sights on North Carolina as its next target for reform. Although the groups leaders claim to be focused on grassroots advocacy, they are bringing a very specific agenda which includes more high-stakes testing, more use of test scores to evaluate educators and schools, and expansion for charter school funding.


Also the New York Times covers a group being formed by Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein to counteract the teachers' union in New York in the 2013 mayoral election.

Group Aims to Counter Influence of Teachers Union in New York

Leaders of a national education reform movement, including Joel I. Klein and Michelle Rhee, the former schools chancellors in New York and Washington, have formed a statewide political group in New York with an eye toward being a counterweight to the powerful teachers union in the 2013 mayoral election.

The group, called StudentsFirstNY, is an arm of a national advocacy organization that Ms. Rhee founded in 2010. Like the national group, the state branch will promote the expansion of charter schools and the firing of ineffective schoolteachers, while opposing tenure.

Led by Micah Lasher, who is leaving his job next week as the director of state legislative affairs for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the campaign is beginning while advocates of reform have an ally in the mayor. But their eyes are focused on 2014, when a new mayor most likely one who is more sympathetic to the teachers union than Mr. Bloomberg has been enters office.

Members of the group worry that without a significant marshaling of forces, their achievements could be dismantled. Their aim is to raise $10 million annually for five years, hoping to make an imprint throughout the next mayors first term.


There are so many of these "false front" groups now that it is hard to keep up with what's real and what's astroturf. I can't forget that one of these groups funded by Betsy Devos actually used a delightful children's book to attack teachers' unions. Here is that video from Fox News attacking a children's book called Click Clack Moo.

The latest right-wing loony accusation is delivered by Kyle Olson of the Michigan-based grouplet, the Education Action Group.

Olson parades around as a concerned parent of a kindergartener. But we have pointed out that the EAG is secretly funded, has close ties to the Koch brothers, Andrew Breitbart and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The Mackinac Center has recently been exposed for secretly sending emails and lobbying Michigan legislators in violation of their non-partisan tax status.

...This week, Kyle went on Fox (surprise) to denounce the use of Click Clack Moo. Cows that Type to indoctrinate kindergarten students in pro-union ideology. He accused a Chicago teacher of sneaking the word, negotiate, into a vocabulary lesson."


Money and power are moving into our public schools like a steamroller. Both students and teachers are the victims in this education reform movement.
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