One of the candidates is Councilman Tim Burgess. The Councilman has been deeply involved in Seattle public education and was a big supporter of the Families & Education levy. He also has shown a propensity for behind-the-scenes con-fabs with high-level SPS leaders and it is unclear to me whether he ever shared any of this information with other councilmembers. (We have public disclosure e-mails to thank for this info.)
Now I see that Councilman Burgess is being thrown a fundraiser this week by the following people:
Michael and Marie DeBell, Sherry Carr, Clover Codd, Bree Dusseault , Chris Eide, David Elliot, Christina Gonzalez, Chris Korsmo, Peter Maier, Lisa Macfarlane, Harium Martin-Morris and Steve Sundquist.
I'm assuming the other Board members weren't invited but who knows?
I have a request into the Councilman's campaign office to ask about this fundraiser vis a vis his vision for Seattle public education and ed reform. I note that that sponsor list is a virtual who's who list of ed reform supporters in Seattle.
I also wanted to bring up what is happening out in LA with their Board elections via the Daily Kos:
A group of billionaires and astroturf groups is trying to buy a Los Angeles school board election to expand the corporate education policy agenda in that city. One big goal is to defeat one-term incumbent and former teacher Steve Zimmer. The "Coalition for School Reform" has gotten $1 million from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But the group wasn't exactly broke before Bloomberg's contribution, according to the LA Times:
Education and arts philanthropist Eli Broad leads the way with a contribution of $250,000 to the coalition, which includes L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Also in for $250,000 is billionaire A. Jerrold Perenchio, who headed the Univision network for years. Lynda Resnick, the entrepreneur behind POM Wonderful pomegranate juice and other ventures, has donated $100,000 to the coalition. Investor Marc Nathanson and his wife, Jane, have together given $100,000.Bloomberg's former schools chancellor, Joel Klein, who now runs NewsCorp's education division, looking to turn corporate "reform" into profit for Rupert Murdoch, also chipped in $25,000, followed by another $25,000 this week. Also this week, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst threw in $250,000.
Millions of dollars for a School Board seat? Things that make you go, "hmm."
From the LA Times:
The 2013 school board races have barely started and they have already attracted more than $4 million in donations. Compare that to 1978, when Bobbi Fielder spent $56,000 to win a seat on the board.
Unlike in Fiedler’s time, most of the money this year isn’t coming from individual donations. It’s coming from independent committees that can raise unlimited amounts of cash.
For years the teachers union was the outside group that spent the most. It got Mark Slavkin elected in 1989. But the scale was still much smaller.
“Mostly we were getting checks in the mail every day from individual teachers to $10, $12, $15,” he said. “It was a massive, grass roots effort and at the end of the day all this combined, we raised just over $250,000.”
Spending jumped again in 2009. That’s when new laws removed limits on how much independent expenditure committees for school board races could raise and spend. By this time L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had renamed Riordan’s group the Coalition for School Reform.
The Coalition’s campaign manager, Janelle Erickson, said the group supports candidates who’ll push for reforms to teacher evaluations, grow charter schools, and support Superintendent John Deasy.
“What’s at stake (is) our superintendent who’s turning our school district around and what’s at stake is a reform minded, progressive school board,” Erickson said.
From the LA Times:
Veteran journalist Jamie Alter Lynton also has donated $100,000. She's married to Michael Lynton, chairman and chief executive officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Like Chernin, she's on the board of the fundraising nonprofit organized by Deasy.
Lynton's new venture, launched in August, is the L.A. School Report, which has covered the school board elections extensively. In a December editorial, she criticized the teachers union for opposing legislation that would speed up the dismissal of teachers accused of gross misconduct, faulting union leadership for continuing "to insist on sacrificing student well-being to protect even pedophiles."
First of all, no teachers union is protecting pedophiles. That is a nasty and unpleasant thing to say without a shred of evidence.
Second, is this what is coming for us? I predict:
- At least one ex-TFA being a School Board candidate (and let's just go with Chris Eide since he seems to be trying (desperately it seems) to have a high profile in this town
- Massive amounts of money spent including money pouring in from outside interests. Now this seemed to not matter a whole lot for the charter schools campaign so maybe it won't matter come this fall to voters. That said, one person donating a million dollars to a school board campaign would likely get a lot of attention.
- A very nasty and not-focused-on-what-REALLY-needs-to-get-done campaign.
We might to start connecting the dots now for people who might be missing what is coming.