DFER Tries Bullying and Shaming over Charters

So over at the Democrats for Ed Reform site, the one-hand band that is DFER Washington, Lisa Macfarlane, wrote a column about going to the Democratic National Convention.  Coincidentally, I had just watched former President Clinton's barn-burning speech in Charlotte.  It was all about a big tent and working together and, most of all, recognizing differences but remaining unified.

That is not the theme in her column. Frankly, we hear a lot of this nagging and ultimately, bullying from Dems in high places.  Earlier this year, Nick Hanauer (a big Dem donor and co-founder of LEV) threatened to support McKenna over charters.  Macfarlane just goes for the shaming tactic.  What is confusing is this idea that one sub-topic (not the whole topic of education but just charter schools) should be their line in the sand whether you are a good Dem or not.

Gentle Washington State readers know that we have a well-deserved reputation as a laggard when it comes to education reform.

Really?  I guess we can wear that proudly because it's not like we haven't considered ed reform.  In terms of charters, we did it three times already.  That it was not the outcome that she wanted does not make us "laggards".  If she's talking about teacher performance, then she's out of touch because Seattle has a brand-new teacher performance matrix and now, this year, so does the entire state.

In our state, Democrats who support the kind of education reforms championed by President Barack Obama and loads of Democratic governors, mayors, and lawmakers need serious armor. 

That's true but that's loads of non-Washington state governors, mayors and lawmakers.  Education is a local control issue and the only person I know who disagrees with that is Michelle Rhee.

She then says this:

The union and Party quickly turn on and eat their own, as they did with Seattle School Board president, Steve Sundquist and his colleague Peter Maier. Both Sundquist and Maier lost their school board seats after a bruising financial scandal and a steady pounding from the labor and Democratic Party establishment over their support for Teach for America.

First, School Board elections are non-partisan so saying the Dems "turned" on Maier and Sundquist is not true. 

That bruising financial scandal?  That was both of them looking the other way (and, in Peter's case, not releasing information to other Board members).  

This is the first I am hearing that they lost over TFA and if that were the case, why not Carr and Martin-Morris?   (That Sundquist told voters he was NOT for charters and then changed his stance almost immediately after the election should tell you something.)

Some days it feels like someone has poisoned our water (more likely our coffee) or implanted blinders to prevent us from knowing or caring about what is happening elsewhere in the country. It is like we have been afflicted with some kind of preserve-the-status-quo virus. 

No, I think she has that wrong.  Washington State voters are not dumb or blind.  In fact, we refuse to drink the kool-aid that other states have.  That would make us smart. 

Then there is President Barack Obama, our fantastic Reformer-in-Chief. (See DFER's Infographic: 6 Reasons Why Obama Has Proven Himself Reformer-in-Chief here.) He gets that schools need both reforms and resources. Now we just need Washington’s democratic policymakers to get the memo. If you want to get better results for kids, it is not just about more money.

Yes, but Obama also says class size matters and uber-reformer Bill Gates says it doesn't.  Good people on the same side can have honest disagreements without being bullied or shamed.

No, it's not just about money but we don't even fund to the national average in Washington State.  What if we tried that - with our existing schools that struggle financially - BEFORE bringing on more underfunded schools?  

The discussion truly should be about money but that's the tough one.  It's very easy to try to distract both voters and law-makers away from that tough discussion to an easier one over "it's for the kids."


Anonymous said…
Lisa Macfarlane is a shrill shill --e.g. increasingly unhappy one-note-paid pr person -- for venture capitalists and charter operators who want to open new business opportunities.

See for yourselves.

Here's the list of VCs and Charter Organizations making up DFERs board.

Here's Macfarlane's ongoing shrill shill blog. (Oh, which doesn't allow comment feedback.) This blog can be shrill, but at least it's not a shill.

Sign me:

"Fed Up With DC/East Coast Private Industry Edu-Lobbyists"
Anonymous said…
But here is a compliment for DFER. It manages to be better than Stand on the Children. DFER doesn't try to hide its distaste for public education. It happily proclaims on the national site that it wants to rip it up. At least its honest, which is more than Stand is, which tries to do its work in the backhalls of state legislatures and not have its paid members see it. -- e.g. Jonah Edelman, head of group, caught on tape crowing about sticking it to teacher bargaining units.

Sign me:

"Fed Up With DC/East Coast Private Industry Edu-Lobbyists"
mirmac1 said…
Speaking of shrill shill, here's Lynne Varner carrying Debell's water again...

Anonymous said…
there are these 'moderate' quotes of ronnie raygun floating around the tubes, and they're being used (in my circles) to show how completely nuts the current thug party is compared to raygun.

the thing is, those quotes from back then were fracking lies, and they had nothing to do with the right wing policies raygun's minions were pushing 24*7.

part of pushing those lie based policies meant attacking those who were critics of the lies - the coal mine canaries from the 80's - for not being bi-part-i-zany, and not being compromising, and not being conciliators.

if mcfarlane's big lie crowd devoted themselves to attacking 'health' insurance management so consistently, we'd all be using our driver's license at the doctors - with sundry co-pays depending on income.

of course, then mcfarlane's big lie crowd wouldn't be cashing bill gates paychecks ...!

the real question -- how many of mcfarlane's opponents will take the chum, and attack the critics of mcfarlane's lies, in the interest of being balanced moderate compromizers?


Georgi K. said…
Today I wrote a letter to Lynn Varner of the Seattle Times criticizing the daily promotion of charter schools right before the election. I said that many older readers do not read the online comments opposing its editorials, so it represents a biased viewpoint.

Lynn wrote me back with 3 links to critiques of charters dating from January, February and March of this year. Here was my response to her:

Ms. Varner,
Three short editorials with critiques about charters from last winter do not erase daily plugs for charter schools in the Seattle Times right before the election. An opposing argument must be more timely and more detailed.

The best folks to address it are Melissa Westbrook or Charlie Mas from the Seattle Schools Community Forum. They understand the legislation very well. I will reprint this letter in their blog and suggest they send you their comments.

My personal opinion is that charter schools will result in something much worse than our current public schools. The charters would pick off students without showing any better results (per the Stanford study). The most impoverished and special education students would remain in public schools without sufficient funding or parental support. It will not be a better system.

—Melissa and Charlie, I would love to see your rebuttal in the Seattle Times on charter schools.

Georgi Krom

Popular posts from this blog

Tuesday Open Thread

Seattle Public Schools and Their Principals

COVID Issues Heating up for Seattle Public Schools