Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Laugh of the Day from the Times and Stand for Children

Honestly, I think sometimes the Times does not think much of its readers.  For many of their education stories, they always manage to leave out very basic information.  Almost as if they wanted to slant a story.

The latest laugher comes via Washington Stand for Children and their "petition" to the Legislature over voting to link test scores to teacher evaluations.  The House will have a public hearing on their bill on Monday.

Along with supporting this bill, Stand for Children, one branch of a national advocacy group, has also lobbied for stricter teacher evaluations and more school choice.

The group collected the 20,658 signatures mostly online over the past year, said spokeswoman Jeanette Lewis. It vetted the signatures by deleting those with duplicate or invalid email addresses.

What's missing - from a reporting standpoint - is not truly explaining who Stand is and who funds them (Gates).  I note the Times uses the cagey "nation advocacy group" and NOT "parent advocacy group."  Why?  Because it's not.

Update from a reader via the Gates Foundation

Date: October 2014
Purpose: to support Common Core implementation and teacher effectiveness programs 
Amount: $2,551,388
Term: 13
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Portland, Oregon
Grantee Website:

End of update
The group collected the 20,658 signatures mostly online over the past year, said spokeswoman Jeanette Lewis. It vetted the signatures by deleting those with duplicate or invalid email addresses.

That's even odder still as this bill has been revamped with an amendment added just this session so how did Stand start collecting signatures a year ago?  Oh right, they probably have some broadly worded issue statement and that's how they got those signatures.  I'd love to see an actual petition and I challenge Stand to show those signatures are all from in-state.  

In an interesting NY Times article about the hard choices that Hillary Clinton must make when she runs for President is who she will chose to align with on public education reform.  

Embedded in that article is a memo by the head of Stand for Children, Joe Williams.  It's a doozy.

He appears to give credit to Stand for changes in public education. He praises Obama as their "ally" in the White House.  And - wait for it - he actually says things ARE getting better with higher grad rates and a closing of the achievement gap.

 He also explains they took a survey of parents about public education and the survey was done by the same company doing strategy and polling for Clinton.

If you read the memo carefully, you'll note that the questions seem fairly broad and the answers may not reflect reality (if you believe Williams that things are getting better).  Meaning, the public may have heard the drumbeat of "public education is terrible" rather than really knowing what is happening in their local district or in their own state.

He says that candidates will be "marginalized" if they don't support ed reform.  As usual, the corporate ed reformers present the issue as an "either/or" place.  It's not.

Being against corporate ed reform does NOT mean you support the dreaded "status quo."  It means that there are those of us who believe change does need to happen (and please, find me one person in the U.S. who thinks all is well with public ed) BUT it does not have to come at the hands of Bill Gates and his wealthy friends.


seattle citizen said...

So some quick research shows that Stand for Children (A Gates product, awarded over $13,000,000) and the Seattle Times (another Gates product, awarded $700,000)have pulled a fast one:
At Stand For Children- Washington, we find a blog post about delivering the signatures in support of SB5748, which changes the teacher evaluation system to include test scores.

Yet on Stand's homepage, there is also a link to what is, apparently, the petition, which, when one clicks on that link, doesn't mention anything about teachers and using test scores to evaluate them. It merely says:
No Child Left Behind is an outdated federal law that shifts millions of dollars away from classrooms -- where it’s needed most -- to pay for private tutors instead. In total, Washington schools are losing control of more than $40 million every year.
Join 20,000+ supporters in saying 'no' to No Child Left Behind and 'yes' to standing up for Washington students and teachers."

Sounds great, right? You fill it out with your info and then hit "sign" and you've done good, you've stood up for students AND teachers!

Except...if one clicks on the To learn more about our campaign to Protect School Funding, click HERE link on the bottom of that page, one learns that hey, it's also about nailing teachers to the VAM wall, too bad, so sad.

Many of the signers likely never clicked that little link, and merely signed a petition to "say no" to No Child Left Behind.

And then the Times dutifully reported that "parents" went to Olympia in support of SB5748....

I guess the $14,000,000 spread between Stand On Children and the Seattle Times buys a lot of propaganda.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good find, SC. Not surprising,though.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Melissa, I knew you would not fail us.

Beleaguered Public School Teacher

Watching said...


Thank you for your work. The blog is an important mechanism to keep the public informed.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I just want to say that yes, I am hard on Stand. They are not particularly transparent and that's troubling. This is engrained in their history.

My issue with the Times is that they just tell the WHOLE story. They continue to leave out important facts and I think the general public does not get the nuance they should from these stories.

seattle citizen said...

The Times just keeps throwing them out; Gates is getting his money's worth. Here's another, just posted:

Lawmakers should not fail state’s students

Today, they write that "The Seattle School District alone lost control of $2.7 million..."

Four days ago, they wrote that
"Seattle Public Schools — lost access to $1.3 million for services..."

Damn, another 1.4 million in just four days! It's a hemorrhage! Act now!
; )

seattle citizen said...

Here is the co-founder of Stand For Children on a 15 minute video describing, no reveling in, his take-down of an Illinois teachers union.
Not much about kids here, just anti-union politics. Must be nice making money being the lap-dog of anti-labor free-marketers.

Stand for Children Co-founder describes Illinois take down of teachers and their unions

Anonymous said...

After reading the article in the Seattle Times this morning about Stand for Children, I did some research on the group. Apparently it started in the late 1990s (around 1998) as an organization advocating for pubic schools. The founder is Jonah Edelman, son of Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund.

Somewhere along the line, Jonah turned the organization from advocate of children to advocate of corporate interests in education. It's shocking to see how far he and Stand for Children have strayed from their original goals. Apparently, former staff members now call it "Stand on Children."

Roosevelt Mom

Anonymous said...

I think the Times's headline should have read "20,000 parents support giving in to bullying." It's amazing to me that the only reason cited for supporting the teacher evaluation bill is the need to preserve control of the $40 million. That's not a reason to support the bill! Then again, Seattle Citizen is right that the petition signers didn't even know what they were signing.


Anonymous said...

The article states that Stand collected 20,000+ signatures for their petition over the course of a year. Really people that is not very many for a year long campaign, especially when you consider how many public school parents there are in WA state. Actually it's kind of pathetic.


dan dempsey said...

Seattle Citizen makes excellent points. The Gates plan of influencing or funding or founding a large number of groups to push its message is NOTHING NEW.

In the 1960s the CIA did exactly the same thing. Only it influenced about 80% of student organizations in almost exactly the same way as Gates.

See this link=>
Patriotic Betrayal

Anonymous said...

This is certainly an unethical distortion of a petition. An astroturf petition like this should be illegal, but I doubt that it is.

It is too bad that the Seattle Times prints whatever press release blather ed reformers spit out.

Grass Roots