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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why Are Charter Schools Advocates Spending Heavily on a Candidate Who Says She Doesn't Support Charter Schools?

Posted by on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Why is charter school advocate Stand for Children spending money electing a candidate who says she opposes charter schools?
  • Why is charter school advocate Stand for Children spending money electing a candidate who says she opposes charter schools?

We kinda liked Stephanie Bowman at our 11th Legislative District SECB interview, but gave our endorsement to Rob Holland for a number of reasons, not the least of which being our unease over Bowman's endorsement by charter schools advocate Stand for Children. Bowman told us she opposed charter schools. But in politics, money tends to follow votes.

Well, since her SECB interview our suspicions have only been further confirmed by generous "independent" expenditures on Bowman's behalf. Stand for Children has spent $18,749 supporting Bowman, and the pro-charter Education Voters PAC $19,269... both through media consultant Amplified Strategies. In fact, Bowman is by far the number one beneficiary of Stand for Children's many independent expenditures this cycle on top of the maximum $1,800 they also contributed to her campaign.



Comments (15) RSS

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Maybe because Charter Schools are not their only issue and she is good on other things they like?

Posted by giffy on August 1, 2012 at 4:13 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 2
I'm not sure "charter school advocate" is fair characterization of Stand for Children. It makes it sound like that's its overarching mission. Based on what they've accomplished legislatively in the past, charter schools seems to be far from their primary focus.

For example, how does pushing for all-day kindergarten and free community college for poor students equal charter-school advocacy?
Posted by Free Lunch on August 1, 2012 at 5:56 PM · Report this
@1&2: "Forget it,'s Goldytown."
Posted by DonServo on August 1, 2012 at 7:01 PM · Report this
Maybe because she will support charter schools once elected.

And sorry, Free Lunch, but Stand for Children is a charter school advocate. It is a VERY fair characterization. It isn't their over-arching mission - that's busting the teachers' union - but charter schools are a fundamental point for them.
Posted by Charlie Mas on August 1, 2012 at 8:23 PM · Report this
Stand puts very little effort into other advocacy efforts, in comparison to the amount of energy (especially PR) they put into policies like charter schools, test-based teacher evaluations, and ending seniority-based hiring practices. It's never time to talk about their other priorities, there is always a big teacher-focused piece of legislation everyone has to get behind.

I'd love to see these groups (Stand, LEV, Excellent Schools Now, A+ Washington, the "Parents Union" and all the other many heads of the astroturf hydra) stand behind full funding for early childhood education and all day kindergarten, and actually put enough pressure on to get it done. Honestly, though? Those are just window dressing in the platform. I hate to be so cynical but I doubt we'll ever see 3 million dollars in tech billionaire money to lobby for useful reforms like early learning.
Posted by tacomamama on August 1, 2012 at 9:57 PM · Report this
Stand for Children's newest best friend & funder is the Walton anti-union machinery. Stand doesn't give a rip about what is best for kids as long as unions are trounced. And who knows? Maybe their is a profit to be made off of our kids' education?
Posted by 1971 on August 1, 2012 at 10:02 PM · Report this
Stand For Children is an oxymoron. They "stand" for union busting, charter schools, and privatization; Jonah Edelman was caught on tape crowing about his "accomplishments" in Chicago Public Schools.
All of these groups - LEV, Stand, Students First, etc - are all full of shit when they claim to support kids and/or public education. They have their own agendas, none of which includes actually helping students. While they may have once been legitimate, they have lost their way, and now support unproven ed "deform" tactics that put money and power into their pockets, while using kids as their guinea pigs. I would be very leery of a candidate taking money from these groups.
Posted by StuckInUtah on August 2, 2012 at 4:20 AM · Report this
The Gates Foundation (along with their billionaire-funded lookalikes) funds a handful of astro-turf organizations like Stand for Children, League of Education Voters, Democrats for Education Reform, and more - even the Washington State PTA has been bought and co-opted by the Gates Foundation. It takes money to buy a ticket and vote on the PTA platform at the state level. They also provide the primary funding for media like Crosscut. Then they use all of these entities to create a chorus of voices calling for charter schools (or some other Education Reform boondoggle). It creates the illusion of consensus because their money makes them the loudest voices, but they are all finger puppets on a single hand. It is really just one voice. It is a minority view that pays for the majority of the talk to create the illusion that it is a majority view - or at least a moderate view or a well-reasoned view.

It is NOT the majority view. The vast majority of people, when surveyed, like their teachers and their schools and think they are doing a good job. Most of the dissatisfaction with public education that we see voiced has been fostered with propaganda campaigns. Yes, education has problems, but the system is not as bad as these folks would have you think.

It is not a moderate view. It is an extreme view. The charter school initiative in Washington would allow for unprecedented teacher and family triggers that could convert public schools to charter schools. This is not "based on the best charter school laws around the country". Not at all. It is all about busting the teachers union to reduce teacher pay, to reduce the tax burden on the rich.

It is not a well-reasoned view. Charter schools don't work (for the most part). They don't work for the simple reason that they don't address the real problems in our schools. There are a few charter schools that do work, but they are no more common than public schools that work. There is nothing that a charter school can do for students that a public school cannot do. Charter schools are a solution looking for a problem.
Posted by Charlie Mas on August 2, 2012 at 6:25 AM · Report this
Also, I live in the 11th District and I have a STACK of mailers from Stephanie Bowman. If for no other reason, I will vote for someone else because she sent me too much. It's creepy. I'm suspicious of anyone who's campaign is that well funded.
Posted by Charlie Mas on August 2, 2012 at 6:27 AM · Report this
Hey Goldy, the "colorway" of that flyer looks incredibly much like an envelope I got in the the mail from one Maureen Judge (I think you know her) - is there a highly paid political consultant saying go with the muted greens and olives this year?
Posted by JAT on August 2, 2012 at 8:07 AM · Report this
Big Sven 11

So basically, the WEA wants what's best for kids, but kids parents don't want what's best for kids. Nor do any of the advocacy groups that don't agree with the WEA. Nice strawman.

...even the Washington State PTA has been bought and co-opted by the Gates Foundation. It takes money to buy a ticket and vote on the PTA platform at the state level

I was THERE when the PTA Lege Assm voted to support non-profit charter schools. Were you? Local PTAs typically cover the cost of attending, including for the last-minute teachers that showed up just to try to kill the effort (I've been going for five years, and all the parents from my district I knew. The teachers were all new.)

We supported charter schools because the folks who argued for it were persuasive, and the folks against it were a bunch of WEA zealots who in their 45 minutes gave 50 minutes of poorly prepared remarks so that they wouldn't have to take any questions.

Posted by Big Sven on August 2, 2012 at 8:56 AM · Report this
Ed reform IS Stand's ONLY issue so yes, Goldy is right in being suspicious. Stand was started by Jonah Eldman who famously bragged about how Stand was taking over the Illinois legislature last summer and drove a wedge in the teachers union. (It's on YouTube.)

#2 - Stand DID start out on a good foot for public education but in the last 3-4 years has largely ignored all the good stuff for charters and testing. Early Stand supporters (see Oregon supporters) have publicly jumped ship and denounced the changes.

That so many of these so-called Dems take money from Stand and then say they are against charters - it's highly suspect.

When the charter initiative fails (and it will if voters can take the time to learn about charters in general and this initiative in specific), it will take a lot of nerve to come to the Legislature and say "oh we need charters."

By the way, go to the Yes on 1240 and see if you can find one word written on the specifics of this initiative and what it would mean to Washington State districts (particularly Seattle and our rural/small districts which would take the greatest impact and were the ones who said no the loudest in the charter loss in 2004).

You will not find any specifics at Yes on 1240 because they don't want you to know them. You have to ask yourself - why are these out-of-state people (again, because it was the same people in 2004) telling us how to educate our children and why don't they want you to know and understand the ramifications of 1240?

No on 1240.
Posted by westello on August 2, 2012 at 9:03 AM · Report this
"But in politics, money tends to follow votes."

I think you got that backwards, Goldy.
Posted by PCM on August 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM · Report this
BigSeven, I was THERE also when the latest charter school resolution passed at the spring PTA convention and the facilitators cut off debate before the entire resolution had even been read. Apparently, the person motioning for more time was supposed to knock down the person at the microphone even though she could be plainly seen on the big screen.

I was there to see that nearly half of the room came from *one region* - the East Side Bellevue/Issaquah crowd. There was plenty of opposition from the Seattle/Tacoma contingent but fewer of us could be there since the vote a) was held on a Friday night b) required us to be there to obtain a voter credential prior to 5:30, c) required us to pay expensive fees for parking, d) required a credential (which had to be exchanged for another piece of paper at the event) that was mailed to the home of the PTA president, even if the PTA member's attendance was paid for by their local PTA and even if the person who wanted to vote *was the PTA president.* (Yes, I met a local unit president who was turned away.) and last but not least e) required a $150 advance registration, which is, actually, a very big deal for some PTAs in high poverty areas.

So no, I wouldn't say that is an open process. "Celebrate diversity" ribbons aside, it's a process that only a Florida Secretary of State could love.
Posted by tacomamama on August 2, 2012 at 5:45 PM · Report this
Wow, tacomamama. That's about it in a nutshell - just how politics work in this country these days. All about the few with privilege and access.
Posted by northender on August 5, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Report this

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