Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jonah Edelman Caught With His Pants Down

OMG, the wires are buzzing with the ed deform gaffe made by Jonah Edelman at the Aspen Festival of Ed Deform where he bragged about manipulating Teacher Unions. Below are the links - go forth and vomit - or rejoice in the Rupert Murdoch-like scandal. Where do we start? Kudos to Ohanian, Schmidt and Klonsky. I just kept cut'n n past'n. The video is playing all over the place. Here it is at Queens Teacher:
Oh, so many more goodies. How about the Illinois Teacher Union conspiring to leave the Chicago TU isolated? Edelman brags that the CTU can never strike because they would need 75% of the vote, which they will never get. Hmmm. Keep up the ed deform work of chopping at teachers and ya never know. I just read that the UFT's first strike was illegal and also had about 2-3000 teachers out but managed to disrupt the schools to such an extent they won. Wouldn't it be nice to see Rahm rammed? Ya never know.
By the way, note how Edelman mentions that there was push back in the Chicago TU at Pres. Karen Lewis and the leadership responded. (Boy did I hear stories in Chicago last week but I'd have to kill all of you if I tell). Try that with Unity Caucus here in the UFT in NYC and see the response.
Come on now, don't you find it hard to believe that Randi didn't have her hand somewhere in this?
Ohanian Comment: Look what happens when I go out of town for two days. Valerie Strauss covered this story at Washington Post, though she provides a broken link to the video, which was taken off the Internet. Ha. Fred Klonsky had already captured it. Kudos to Fred. His readers/ reactions to "The Apology" reveal great anger. And rightfully so.

I've been covering Edelman and Stand for Children for several years. Put it into a 'search on this site.

  • Read Substance coverage.

  • Read what Susan Barrett wrote on on Parents Across America about why she stepped down as a volunteer

  • Put "Stand for Children" into a search at Schools Matter but start with this great metaphor: The Whale Coughs Up Jonah to Do Damage Control.

    This is a tempest in a teapot (though it may be personally damaging to Jonah. The real point here is that we must remain vigilant and not be satisfied with the 15-minute scandal. There are a few of us staying the course, trying to present analysis along with headlines. He, enjoy the tempest, but stick around for the fight.

    'Stand for Children' leader insists he's not a union busting kind of guy... Jonah Edelman 'apologizes' to just about everybody for Aspen Institute remarks

  • From Schools Matter:

    The Whale Coughs Up Jonah to Do Damage Control.

    Back Row: A-Hole Edelman Staring Into Space
    Photo by George Schmidt for Substance News (Jonah the Day He Got Made and Swallowed)

    The Oligarchs' lawyers were up late last night spinning a line of contrition for the arrogant a-hole, Jonah Edelman, after his 14 minutes of fame that was publicized days ago by George Schmidt at Substance News in Chicago and Susan Ohanian and later picked up by Fred Klonsky.  Here is one example of, first, Jonah today, and, second, Jonah a few days ago, as the Prince of Neoliberal Arrogance said what he really meant: MORE

    More from Susan Ohanian:

    Jonah Edelman on outfoxing teachers’ unions: Transcribed remark

    Note: As Substance has reported in considerable detail. . . for months, Stand for Children is:
    a front group for the wealthiest people in the USA, the same people who are pushing the privatization agenda to wreck public schools, vilify teachers, and privatize the public's wealth, adding to the personal wealth of men like James Crown (and his family), Kenneth Griffin (and his entities), and Chicago's infamous Pritzker tribe of billionaires.
    Also Note: The video of Edelman's talk--and his attempt at an apology--are here
    by Caroline Grannan for Parents Across America

    Jonah Edelman, son of revered children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman, leads the organization Stand for Children, which began as a grassroots children’s advocacy organization in Portland, OR, but has evolved into a billionaire-funded operation moving into other states to support corporate education reform. Edelman spoke on a panel at the recent Aspen Ideas Festival (June 27-July 3, 2011) about how Stand for Children maneuvered in Illinois to get the state’s teachers’ unions to support legislation that severely curtailed their rights and their members’ job security. Edelman declares that the defeat for Illinois teachers’ unions will weaken teachers’ unions in other states.

    I transcribed the key 14-plus minutes of Edelman’s talk. I’ve omitted minor asides, indicated with ellipses.

    Now Edelman Apologizes
    George Schmidt & Jonah Edelman

    Listen to the speech in which Stand for Children's Jonah Edelman brags about how clever they were. Then read his apology. Not so clever now. Enjoy the tempest. Stick around for the fight.

    The union-busting billionaires behind phony 'grass roots' groups like Stand for Children and Advance Illinois have emerged from the shadows... Complete transcript of the remarks of Ross Wiener, James Crown and Jonah Edelman at the Aspen Institute

    Aspen Ideas Festival

    Fred Klonsky is also all over the story.

    If you sit at the table with dogs, don’t complain when you get up with fleas.

    Statement from the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Illinois Education Association, and the Chicago Teachers Union, regarding the comments by Stand for Children’s CEO, Jonah Edelman, recorded at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
    For more information on this story, go to: July 12, 2011 -
    We were disappointed to hear the views of Stand for Children’s leader and his own assessment of his organization’s involvement in Illinois politics. We heard a lot from Jonah Edelman about power in politics, power over unions and management power over teachers. Sadly, we didn’t hear anything in that hour-long session about improving education. Frankly, Edelman was never actively engaged in that collaborative process. By falsely claiming to have manipulated people engaged in honest negotiations, Stand for Children’s leader jeopardizes the ability of education stakeholders to work collaboratively in the future. That can make it harder to improve education quality for children. That’s wrong. What’s worse is that these false claims clearly show an organizational agenda that has nothing to do with helping kids learn. Jonah Edelman’s mischaracterization of the SB7 negotiations will not change our commitment to do what is right for kids and to make sure the adults are treated fairly. However, his openness about Stand for Children’s tactics and agenda will make it very difficult for any education advocate or politician to interact with the organization in the future.
    That it? That’s their statement?
    According to the joint statement of the IEA, the IFT and the CTU, Stand for Children is an organization that has an agenda that has nothing to do with helping kids learn.
    As the kids say, “duh.”
    So what the hell were our union leaders doing sitting at the table with them and Advance Illinois, another corporate group who has an agenda that has nothing to do with helping kids learn, to negotiate a school reform bill?
    Oh, and please. When do we get to put to rest the I’m for the kids argument?
    In Jonah Edelman’s lengthy apology, he claimed he was for the kids.
    Every stupid policy, program and organizational agenda is there for the kids.
    Many of us were appalled at Edelman’s arrogance and boastfulness.
    But  the union leaders go beyond that and say Edelman mischaracterized the collaborative process that led to Senate Bill 7. They say he lied.
    But then the statement from the Illinois union leadership also criticizes Edelman for being too truthful. They say that his openness about SFC’s agenda and tactics will hurt their future work together.
    Hey, guys. Pick one story and stick with it.
    As for me, I thank Jonah for his openness.
    Maybe the next time the IEA leadership argues their sit-at-the-table strategy, members will ask, “Don’t you guys ever learn? Not this again.”

    Jonah story makes it to the Washington Post.

    July 11, 2011
    by Fred Klonsky
    Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post dedicated her column to the Edelman story today.

    It’s not often that we hear education reformers bragging in public about how they got the better of a teacher’s union.

    The reason the video is worth watching is because the details behind the campaign are fascinating and reveal how some modern school reformers work politically behind the scenes.

    The video of the panel was posted by Fred Klonsky on his blog, giving it enough visibility to prompt Edelman to send to Klonsky a remarkable apology in which he says he was sorry that he sounded so arrogant.

    Jonah may say he’s sorry, but what about the Walton Foundation and Bill Gates?

    July 11, 2011
    by Fred Klonsky

    Parents Across America posted this article by Susan Barrett, former leader of Jonah Edelman’s Stand For Children in Portland.

    I recently stepped down as a volunteer co-leader of a Stand for Children (SFC) team in Portland Oregon, the headquarters of this organization.  Being a SFC member has meant fighting for the needs of children and better public schools for all students in this state (see this pdf.) However, things have started changing here in Oregon, and I worry that SFC is headed down the path that disaffected parents, like me, identify as the corporate reform movement.

    I was prompted to write this piece for a couple of reasons: One, I have seen characterizations of SFC as one of the “astroturf” organizations that have recently sprouted up like weeds, generated by the fortunes of billionaires and hedge fund managers to push their particular preference for implementing business strategies in education, attacking teachers and their unions, and promoting privatization. SFC is not astroturf, and that can make them perhaps more deceptive if we are not paying attention.
    Read the entire post here.

    IEA leadership response to Edelman: “Don’t look at us.”

    July 11, 2011
    by Fred Klonsky
    The IEA leadership that appears to have been snookered or worse by Stand For Children’s Jonah Edelman has responded to the video and the Edelman apology to this blog’s readers.

    Despite building the state’s largest political war chest and suggesting his organization had the power to “potentially jam this proposal down [the education unions’] throats,” SfC failed to get its bill passed. Instead, SfC was forced to collaborate with a coalition of education employee unions, lawmakers, school administrators and other education stakeholders who had been working together for years, on comprehensive reform package that puts students first. Senate Bill 7 (SB7), the bill that emerged from the talks, differed greatly from the SfC proposal: It maintained the right to strike, due process rights (tenure) and retained seniority as a component in personnel decisions. The bill passed with the overwhelming support of both political parties and cited as a model for reform.

    Once you strip away the arrogant tone of Edelman’s presentation, “If it can happen in Illinois, it can happen anywhere,” it is clear that Edelman got the IEA leadership to agree to exactly what Edelman wanted, either through incompetence or connivance.

    I say connivance on the IEA though not the CTU. I use this last item from Klonsky to remind you that I still compare many of our teacher unions with the exception of the very few to Vichy.

    Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.


    Anonymous said...

    Karen Lewis does not come off very well here. Any response here?

    Anonymous said...

    IEA comes off lousy too.

    ed notes online said...

    she's not randi. when rank and file were critical she responded,

    ed notes online said...

    of course, edelman says they went along to isolate ctu and aft wants to do so also. i heard rahm emanuel accused lewis of wanting randi's job. shows how much ed deformers want randi to help with dirty work. they will do what they can to get core out of power.

    Anonymous said...

    What struck me was that Edelman, at times, was incredulous that the union people were such soft adversaries. He seemed shocked at times that the union people would give in so easily. "Like taking candy from a baby." He was as incredulous at times as the average rank and file teacher here who has scratched his head and muttered "I can't believe they (union) are giving that away so easily.When he explains how the union thinks, he remarks that they think of union dues first. He paints them as slow moving, and preictable. Parts of his testimony are no different from listening to a group of veteran teachers speaking about our own union weakness the last few years.

    ed notes online said...

    Except there's a major difference here. The union people here were teaching in a classroom a little over a year ago vs. the UFT Unity leadership in power for 50 years.

    The CTU is also considered renegades even by the AFT so they are surrounded on all sides. Both Randi and Rahm want the old gang in power again. So imagine the pressure Lewis is under. CORE didn't expect to win and they are only 3 years old - still organizing at the school level. If they keep power from accumulating at the top and organizing and mobilizing the members (always problematical) they may be able to get stronger and more resistant. Imagine if they could get 75% of the members willing to strike and also be able to collect dues without dues checkoff - which I think ultimately undermines a union's ability to fight back.

    Anonymous said...

    Yes, the union people there are going against formidable opposition on all levels, as we see and hear in Edelson's comments. And, Lewis and her people aren't as skilled in this Machiavellian world. I WILL pray for them...