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Tue Jun 17, 2014, 12:09 PM

RAVTICH: Mother Crusader Follows the Money in Vergara Tenure Busting Decision

So a bunch of billionaires including real estate mogul Eli Broad funded the group that paid for the lawsuit that struck down teacher tenure in California.

And one of the big funders was Arne Duncan's Assistant Secretary of Education for civil rights.

How does it help kids civil rights if teachers are further demonized and driven out of the profession?

Who is going to want to teach in a tough neighborhood if they know they could lose their jobs because their students don't get the same test scores as suburban kids whose parents hover over them and make sure they do their homework every night?

The Obama administration is doing real, lasting harm to education by pursuing these mean-spirited, corrupt education "reforms."

Obama still has time to change course here.

But not much.

by dianeravitch

Mother Crusader, written by New Jersey parent Darcie Cimarusti, determined to find out who was putting up the millions to beat teacher tenure and seniority in California. She examined the 990 tax forms for "Students Matter, the organization that led the battle against the California Teachers Union.

Students Matter spent more than $3 million from 2010-2012; the amount spent in 2013-14 has not yet been reported.

"The 990's also reveal that the money behind the suit wasn't Welch's alone. The two largest contributions did indeed come from Welch; $550,000 from "The Welch Trust" and $568,357 from "LRFA, LLC" which is some sort of business entity that links directly back to Welch's Infinera.

So that's well over $1M from Welch.


The next biggest dollar amount came from none other than Eli Broad, who kicked in $200,000 to buy the Vergara ruling."

"The next biggest dollar amount, $100,000, came from "Tammy and Bill Crown." It took some digging around to figure out that William H. Crown, who seems to split his time between Chicago and Portola Valley, CA, is one of the heirs to Chicago billionaire Lester Crown's fortune.

"Lester Crown, 80, chairman of Henry Crown & Co., the privately held company that is the vehicle for much of the family's investments
......

"William H. Crown, 41, general partner in Henry Crown & Co.; president and CEO of another family-run investment company, CC Industries Inc. (son) Bucks: Regulars on Forbes' billionaires list, Lester Crown and clan ranked 52nd this year with an estimated net worth of $4 billion."

And then there is this: "A $30,000 donation from the Emerson Education Fund may be one of the most interesting, however. The Managing Director of the Emerson Education Fund is Russlynn Ali, who also just happens to be on the Students Matter Advisory Board." Ali was at Education Trust before she became Arne Duncan's Assistant Secretary of Education for civil rights. Recall that school segregation has been soaring in the past decade. Could it be because the U.S. Department of Education believes that tenure is a greater threat to civil rights than segregation?

Darcie likens Vergara to the Parent Trigger, which brings disruption to communities, not much else, and she concludes:

"It's my greatest hope the Vergara decision does not spread to other states, and is overturned in California on appeal due to pressure from the actual parents, teachers and students who would be affected but this reckless ruling. I don't know about you, but personally I'm pretty sick and tired of monied interests buying legislation, and now a court decision, that could potentially impact my (and your) kids and their teachers."


dianeravitch | June 17, 2014 at 9:00 am | Categories: California, Corporate Reformers, Teacher Tenure | URL: http://wp.me/p2odLa-86t

8 replies, 1567 views

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Response to yurbud (Original post)

Tue Jun 17, 2014, 12:21 PM

1. Chris Hayes (MSNBC) said last night that the expert witness used made-up numbers...

on how many teachers are actually ineffective. He basically pulled the number out of his ass, based on personal observations. Hope that will be grounds for an appeal or even a mistrial!

I tried to find a link, but the MSNBC website sucks.

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Response to femmocrat (Reply #1)

Tue Jun 17, 2014, 12:24 PM

2. I was surprised how flimsy the "evidence" sounded but ALSO the complete non sequitur of the solution

ending tenure and generally treating teachers like shit is not the way to attract the best and brightest to the profession.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 17, 2014, 12:48 PM

3. Aha! Link found, right here on DU!

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Response to femmocrat (Reply #3)

Tue Jun 17, 2014, 03:00 PM

4. thanks from a manocrat or malocrat

although the latter would be bad in Spanish.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #2)

Tue Jun 17, 2014, 03:22 PM

5. It's not typically the best and brightest that enters the profession.

Which is part of the problem.

In my time spent observing teachers, I've seen a social studies teacher who insisted the 1st amendment says noting about religion; a physics teacher who got angular momentum seriously wrong; a chemistry teacher who couldn't balance the chemical equations she'd picked out as part of the lesson in explaining chemical equations; English teachers who couldn't make their way through Shakespeare or failed to be able to give plausible definitions for words that they were teaching their kids. This was over several school districts, a couple of schools in each. In one school, a teacher decided to can several units because she didn't understand the material, and in another instance a teacher who was supposed to be teaching astronomy said that he didn't believe that astronomers had any clue how far away stars were or what they were made of. (He also didn't understand emission spectra or Hubble shift, so maybe there's a bit of cause and effect there.)

In each school there were truly qualified teachers. I've known PhDs in bio and physics, in literature and in history who were teaching high school. But there were far too many of those who really fit the research results of being in the bottom third of their class and from schools that couldn't even dream of ever being Tier I.

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Response to Igel (Reply #5)

Tue Jun 17, 2014, 05:28 PM

6. getting rid of tenure and keyring people who know nothing about education dictate policy and curricu

Won't fix that.

Autonomy, smaller classes, and more respect in the community might.

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Response to Igel (Reply #5)

Tue Jun 17, 2014, 05:32 PM

7. Under what circumstances did you observe all these teachers?



Many times teachers are "checker-boarded" by the administration into teaching their minor subjects or subjects they haven't taught in 20 years or more. This is a common practice that the administration uses to get veteran teachers to retire. For example, a math teacher with a minor in science could be put into chemistry or physics after many years of teaching geometry. A secondary teacher could be put into a first grade classroom, if certified.

It takes them out of their comfort zones and sometimes causes enough anxiety to get them to retire. I once saw a long-time elementary reading specialist being moved to middle school computers. Yep, she retired. It works.

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Response to femmocrat (Reply #7)

Tue Jun 17, 2014, 05:55 PM

8. That is outrageous and does not serve the children..ugh. n/t

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