Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drunks

Friday, July 27, 2012

Charter Schools Backers Spend Big on Sylvester Cann

Posted by on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 4:05 PM

One of the issues that led us to endorse incumbent state Representative Gerry Pollet over challenger Sylvester Cann is charter schools. Cann told us he opposes charter school legislation, yet he enjoys broad support from charter schools advocates. And man have these charter schools supporters been doubling down.

According to his most recent disclosure reports, Cann has received $900 each from Democrats for Education Reform WA PAC, Education Voters Political Action Fund, and Stand for Children WA PAC, all organized in support of charter schools, as well an additional $500 from Democrats for Education Reform director Lisa MacFarlane.

Cann has also received another $1,800 from Revising the Status Quo PAC, which is largely funded via a $5,000 contribution from Stand for Children and a $1,000 contribution from Democrats for Education Reform, effectively achieving an end-run around their $900 each primary campaign contribution limit.

(Tangentially, Stand for Children's biggest contributor, at $75,000 is Jeff Bezos' father Mike. The Bezos family has also contributed another $450,000 to the charter schools initiative directly. So yeah. Celebrate their money for the causes you like, and you lose the moral authority to criticize them for causes you don't.)


Comments (15) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
"Celebrate their money for the causes you like, and you lose the moral authority to criticize them for causes you don't." Money's just another form of power. I'll praise a powerful advocate for his good positions and slam him for his bad, losing none of my (anyway nonexistent) moral authority in the process. On a pure money level I celebrate the public's decisions to use its civic treasury to fund things I approve of (libraries, juvenile facilities) and demean it when it funds things I think aren't worth the candle (arenas).
Posted by gloomy gus on July 27, 2012 at 4:11 PM · Report this
the stranger loses their right to criticize "ineffective seattle legislators" by endorsing folks like gerry pollet and sarajane siegfriedt.
Posted by h8r on July 27, 2012 at 4:13 PM · Report this
I don't have to agree with Sly on every issue to know that he's better than Gerry Pollet, a no-results publicity hound.
Posted by c'mon girlfriend on July 27, 2012 at 4:42 PM · Report this
treefort 4
Ok, I'm not getting this charter school thing. Democrats don't like them because they don't perform as well, and Republicans like them because why?
Posted by treefort on July 27, 2012 at 6:44 PM · Report this
Goldy 5
@4 Republicans like the because they're a step towards privatization. The market fixes all!
Posted by Goldy on July 27, 2012 at 6:53 PM · Report this
@3, what "results" have Cann gotten?
Posted by sarah70 on July 27, 2012 at 9:50 PM · Report this
treefort 7
Ahh, that's right. Thanks, Goldy. I guess I can't expect it to make too much more sense than that.
Posted by treefort on July 27, 2012 at 9:52 PM · Report this
Whatever. Sly's going to be a great legislator. Gerry's going to be a sore loser, as always.
Posted by J.R. on July 28, 2012 at 9:25 AM · Report this
@6, Sly's a challenger. He just needs to convince that he'll be better in the future than Gerry will be. Gerry seems much more concerned with pet issues that get his name in the paper (towing reform bill that was poorly written, mismanaged through the process, and went nowhere, stores posting liquor prices with tax included unlike every single other product sold in stores where the price doesn't include sales tax) than with bread and butter issues. Gerry has only had a short while but I was not at all impressed. Sly is a smart guy who listens. I also think that while demographics aren't all-important, they still do matter. He's young and black. I think the old white dude demographic will still be pretty well represented even without Gerry.
Posted by c'mon girlfriend on July 28, 2012 at 9:35 AM · Report this
@4, @5, I know very loyal Democrats who like them because they are an alternative to the only other choice they have, which is more violent, more dirty, and more crowded. What do you tell people like that? "You don't deserve another education choice because we don't like the ideological implications?"

The "they don't perform as well" argument is useless, as "perform" means "score high on arbitrary and meaningless tests based on arbitrary and meaningless curriculae." And even then, there is zero evidence that charter schools generally perform worse on these arbitrary and meaningless tests. And even then, think about what it means to tell low and middle-class parents, "the neighborhood school you and your children prefer doesn't perform well on standardized tests, so now you must go to a more violent, more crowded school." It's a pretty awful position.

Charter schools are no more or less flawed than public schools, all of which are as flawed as the individuals running them. In the meantime, opposing the opportunity for lower income parents to have more educational choices for their kids is not a very compassionate position to take.
Posted by LJM on July 28, 2012 at 2:42 PM · Report this
What's to celebrate? Nowadays charter school = corporate school. Inc. has taken over the healthcare and prison systems and they're moving onto the education system. Harrumph.
Posted by Ana2 on July 29, 2012 at 1:15 AM · Report this
#4 and #5

Yes, charter schools are a means to privatize school systems. But that is not the whole story - ultimately the rightwingers want to make education, grade school through university, a 'privilege' (and not a community supported basic service), that you the private citizen must finance on your own if you want to attend. The reason they want to do this is not to make the educational system work better, but to 'suppress' education, or to 'christianize' it. Most of all this latest attack on public education by the rightwing is just one part of an old and ongoing campaign to limit opportunities for the less well-off to become financially secure, thoughtful and critical voters and citizens. Nothing scares the rightwing more than an intelligent and informed electorate, whose lives aren't ruled by fear and hate.

Once charter schools are in place, the extent to which charter schools teach fundamental christian dogma will determine the the extent to which rightwingers will support financing even those schools. If charter schools pass, you can start the clock to counting down to the end of secular, broad-based, inclusive, accessible to everyone, public education.
Posted by screed on July 29, 2012 at 11:38 AM · Report this
@12, funny how so many charter schools are secular and meet the needs of liberal, lower class parents and students. And it's funny how baseless fear mongering is used by those on the left as well as the right.
Posted by LJM on July 29, 2012 at 11:11 PM · Report this
C'mon Girlfriend: If you think Gerry is only concerned "with pet issues" you haven't been paying attention. Gerry has been working hard and volunteering to improve PUBLIC schools and universities for well over a decade now. That's what age and experience can get you: someone who has a solid reputation, knowledge, and understanding. Gerry knows why charter schools are a bad idea.

LJM: You're pretty funny! Is it possible you are unaware that the main argument for charter schools is that students of public schools perform poorly on standardized tests and therefore should have more choices; and now the charter schools, who get to cherry-pick their students, are performing no better on these same tests?

Scott White was a great senator in many ways, but he also did some unglamorous horse-trading, and this is where Gerry's opponent got his political education.
Posted by Just Wandering on August 3, 2012 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Maybe I'm confused, but aren't these guys a charter school?…

TAF was founded by Trish Millines Dziko, a lesbian and former Microsoftie turned social entrepreneur. I'm having a hard time accepting that she used her non-profit to setup a charter school to convert children into Christians as part of a Republican plot to privatize education. I guess there might be a black LGBT religious conservative Republican who would want poor kids of color to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math. But wouldn't the appearance of such a chimera coincide with other unexplained phenomenon like hell freezing over and pigs with angel wings soaring overhead?

We all know Republicans have fetishized privatization and public education has been in their cross-hairs for years. Nonetheless, everyone who is interested in charter schools is not a Republican, Christian, or wants to dismantle public education. Saying that kind of stuff seems more like a scare tactic to keep anyone from talking about it for fear they get slimed... a way to shame people into maintaining the status quo even though everyone openly acknowledges it is broken. That doesn't sound very democratic or liberal to my ears. That sound more like the kind of tactics conservatives typically use to win their arguments.
Posted by Eleven Finger Freak on August 3, 2012 at 2:30 PM · Report this

Add a comment


Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy