The DNC Convention Education Elite Recap: Does it Channel Marc Tucker’s “Dear Hillary” Letter?
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The LA School Report, a news outlet covering the LA Unified School District, was taken over in February 2016 by Campbell Brown’s privately funded education reform organization, The 74million.org. From The Seventy Four, founded by controversial advocate, takes over LA School Report:
The organization’s name is a reference to 74 million students attending public schools in the United States. The site was co-founded by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, who is part of a lawsuit seeking to overturn tenure protections for teachers in New York.
The group’s entry into Los Angeles has alarmed union leaders and some supporters of traditional public education. They say it could undermine trust in the reporting of education controversies. They had expressed similar concerns when The Times recently accepted outside funding to supplement its education coverage.
The Seventy Four, based in New York City, describes itself as a nonpartisan news site with the mission of exposing an education system “in crisis…to challenge the status quo, expose corruption and inequality, and champion the heroes who bring positive change to our schools.”
The group’s funders include a roster of charter school supporters, such as the Walton Family Foundation, the Doris & Donald Fisher Fund and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The 74million group has been accused by public school advocates as wanting to replace public schools with privatized charter schools:
“Is there a connection between the Seventy Four’s takeover of LA School Report and the Broad-Walmart plan to privatize LAUSD schools? Of course there is,” said Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of the local teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles.
Broad is not listed as a funder on the Seventy Four’s website.
“Campbell Brown is not about fair coverage,” Caputo-Pearl said. “She is about ‘reform,’ which is often a code word for criticizing teachers and advocating that public schools get turned into charter corporations.”
Drucker, of the Seventy Four, said that its news stories are fair and fully reported and should not be confused with opinion pieces, including those by Brown.
The LA School Report (written in partnership with 74 Million) writes a factual piece on the Democratic elites’ plans for education reform in Democrats flock to Philadelphia: Here’s where 14 DNC elites stand on education. As you study their beliefs on education, do most of their policies create freedom for school districts and states to set their own educational policies and direction, or do these many of the policies create more Federal oversight and control over local education? Are the reforms put into place via representative government channels…such as voters having a say whether they should be implemented in their states/local communities or are they mandated reforms?
As the country’s electoral sweepstakes moves a few hundred miles east from Cleveland to Philadelphia, where Democrats are set to nominate Hillary Clinton, discussions of policy look to become more substantive.
Unlike Trump, Clinton has a substantial education record – during the campaign, she released detailed proposals on home visits and the school-to-prison pipeline. She recently addressed the country’s largest teachers union and was booed for mentioning charter schools; only a few months before she was criticized for suggesting that charters don’t enroll highly disadvantaged children.
In addition to Clinton, other high-profile Democrats who will address the convention have extensive education policies.
• Read more on the live blog: The 74 and Bellwether Education Partners are partnering to cover both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
Here are the edu-creds of 14 marquee names set to take the stage in Philly:
Vice President Joe Biden — During his time as vice president, Biden has taken a lead in the effort to reduce sexual assaults at colleges and universities. While a senator, Biden twice sponsored the Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights Act. He also introduced a bill that would identify top-performing, low-income eighth graders as part of a program to guarantee them Pell Grant funds for college.
Former President Bill Clinton — In his 1999 State of the Union address, Clinton proposed what could be seen in retrospect as a prototype of No Child Left Behind. In exchange for federal funds, states would have to end social promotion, issue report cards on school performance, hire better-trained teachers, and “shake up failing schools,” as the Los Angeles Times put it. During his tenure as governor of Arkansas in the 1980s, Clinton pushed to direct more money to the state’s schools, set new academic standards, and required competency testing for teachers. Arkansas schools remained among the worst in the country.
President Barack Obama — The president is in some ways the model DFER-style Democrat, promoting education reforms like charter schools and data-driven teacher evaluation despite backlash from traditional allies in labor. His edu-legacy will live in the Race to the Top program (including the Common Core and teacher evaluations tied to student test scores), his push for federal pre-school spending, spotlight on the school-to-prison pipeline and, in higher ed, reforms to student loans, call to make community college free, and a crackdown on for-profit colleges.
Michelle Obama — The First Lady is probably best known for her Let’s Move initiative promoting physical activity and healthy eating to combat childhood obesity. The program set off a conservative backlash around issues of cost and government intrusion, particularly in response to her efforts to incorporate more produce and whole grains and less salt in school lunches. She also launched Let Girls Learn, aimed at helping the 62 million girls currently not in school worldwide to access a quality education.
Sen. Bernie Sanders — Vermont’s progressive sensation focused primarily on higher education during the primary and sometimes stumbled when trying to address K-12 issues, like charter schools. While in Congress he introduced bills to pay for extended school days and years, fund dual college enrollment, promote community schools, and support high school reentry. Sanders voted against No Child Left Behind as a member of the House.
Astrid Silva — Silva is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. She arrived as a penniless small child but grew up to become a political activist whose story has often been cited by Democratic lawmakers and President Obama in arguing for passage of the DREAM Act, which would allow young people brought to the country illegally to work and go to school legally.
Sen. Cory Booker — Best known for his role in Newark’s state-run schools during his tenure as mayor, Booker pushed to include stronger accountability measures in last year’s Senate rewrite of No Child Left Behind.
Gov. Jerry Brown — The California governor approved a state budget last month that will allow for the expansion of pre-K, help with hiring teachers, boost spending for charter school start-up costs, and increase per-pupil funding. He has also resisted the national trend toward data-based school accountability.
Mayor Bill de Blasio — Improving schools has been central to the first-term agenda of New York City mayor. He has fought to retain mayoral control of the city’s schools while launching a universal preschool initiative and allocating significant extra funds to poor-performing schools. He has had a fraught relationship with charter school operators but says he doesn’t oppose charter schools.
Sen. Al Franken — The former Saturday Night Live star and comedian has focused on combating bullying against LGBT students, education technology and its possible consequences for student data privacy, and the education of Native American students, particularly those in Bureau of Indian Education schools.
Sen. Tom Harkin — The former senator and past chairman of the Senate education committee was long an advocate for early childhood education. He tried to rewrite No Child Left Behind twice and oversaw the release of a key report on wrongdoings by for-profit colleges. He is best known as the author of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Mayor Jim Kenney — Philadelphia’s top official made national news recently for successfully pushing to increase taxes on soda and other sugary drinks to pay for expanded pre-K and the creation of 25 “community schools” in the city.
Sen. Chris Murphy — The Connecticut senator was one of Cory Booker’s partners in the push for increased federal accountability standards in the Every Student Succeeds Act. He has also advocated for stronger federal restrictions on the use of seclusion and restraint for students with special needs.
Gov. Tom Wolf — The first-term governor of Pennsylvania was elected in part because voters saw the deep cuts to schools made by his predecessor as destructive. He has spent much of his time in office battling the Republican-led legislature over the state budget, a fight that had a drastic impact on Keystone State schools — particularly in poor districts — last year.
Save for a nod by Senator Franken to data privacy advocates concerned about the data mining of student information, these 14 Democrat elites primarily call for expanded federal regulations and programs which will increase federal control and state debt. They support current NGO crafted education reforms calling for increased privatization of public education, the continuation of Common Core Standards, and the expansion of pre-school programs. Regardless if voters agree with these programs, they are never given a voice determining whether or not they want them in their community. Are reforms such as charter schools, CCSS, and pre-school programs voted up or down by the voters paying for them, or are they legislated/regulated into place?
The LA School Report notes Unlike Trump, Clinton has a substantial education record – during the campaign, she released detailed proposals on home visits and the school-to-prison pipeline. She certainly does have a substantial education record. The Dear Hillary Letter immediately comes to mind. This was the 18 page letter written by Marc Tucker to her in 1992 outlining the Federal Government takeover in education. Many of the proposals in that letter are present in current 2016 reforms. Clinton is supportive of programs designed to centralize education and deliver powers to the Federal Government in educational matters which are not granted to that branch of government.
But why bother with either state constitutions or the US Constitution? Representative government is just so antiquated. Asking any of these elites about the fiscal note on these programs and how they are to be funded is irrelevant and the questions are ignored. The NGO/Federal Government created reforms in the disguised quest for equity (it’s really about control), ignores the voters and how programs are to be paid for in light of our current national debt are never addressed. Instead of eliminating even more our liberties, why aren’t politicians and NGOs such as The 74 Million
- cognizant of representative government abilities/constraints
- concerned about our enormous debt?
Many taxpayers burdened with even more regulations, laws, and unfunded debt want to hear the elites’ ideas on those two questions.
Those two questions are not addressed in its recap of the Republican convention either. It’s the Dear Hillary Letter playing out in real time in 2016.
Opening graphic may be found here.