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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Corporate Ed Reform Money Can't Buy LA School Board Seats

As you may recall, there was a school board election in LA in April that had an odd feature - millions of dollars poured into it by corporate ed reformers from outside the state.  Even in mega-large, uber-urban LA, there was surprise over why this was happening.

Out of three candidates, one ed reformer won, one moderate won (who had been targeted nonetheless by the ed reform crowd) and one seat went to a runoff.

Yesterday that runoff was held.

The ed reform candidate, Antonio Sanchez, had an interesting combo - labor unions and money from the political-action committee formed by outgoing LA mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa (which was more than $1M).

His opponent was Monica Ratliff, a career teacher.  She went out and got newspaper endorsements and relied on small donors.  She raised about $50k.

I don't see that the race has been called but Diane Ravitch is reporting that Ratliff has won, with 52% of the vote.  Unless something really shifts, I suspect Ratliff will be the winner.

I hope, truly hope, that this is a clear signal to any of our School Board candidates that it would be a very big mistake to include outside money.  Anyone who wants to be an ed reform candidate certainly can be and make a case for reform but, for myself, I would view anyone taking money from the Waltons or Mayor Bloomberg or any political-action committee from outside the state, very poorly. 

These are local races and they need to stay that way.

I note that in the waning days of Tim Burgess' campaign that he was asked about mayoral control of the schools and he said he didn't support it.  That was confusing because over at Crosscut he cited a study that supported the benefits of mayoral control and the mayor appointing some or all of the school board.  Crosscut also reported that Burgess had brought in a local mover-and-shaker, Frank Greer, who is very much in the ed reform camp.  

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree. PLEASE get your rich buddies to pony up the mega bucks. Show your true colors!

I know whose side deformers are on, and, it isn't on the side of us in the buildings and it isn't

OnMySide

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't think you will need outside money to figure out who is ed reform and who isn't.