Sunday, December 3, 2017

BAT/MORE's Jake Jaobs: Money Talked: Little Known Leaks From 2014 Show Input of Wealthy Privatizers on Hillary Clinton's Education Policy | Alternet

A leaked policy book captures the influence of billionaire donors looking to overhaul and privatize public education.
In previous speeches, Clinton campaign manager John Podesta indicated that recruiting and grooming younger, more compliant teachers was the plan to overcome resistance to corporate education reform over the long term..... The revolving door was also in full swing, with top Clinton and Obama administration officials working for “non-profits” run by Powell Jobs and Tom Steyer. In the end, the influence of the various well-connected “experts” advising Clinton could be felt in an official education platform that endorsed a test-centric approach that was increasingly unpopular with parents, students and educators, and  out of favor with voters.  .... Jake Jacobs -
While the role of the union was not the purview of this article, I find it interesting how so many are willing to let Randi and the entire UFT/Unity operation off the hook when we talk about the Democratic Party complicity. You can't talk about how the Dems and Clintons screwed unions and teachers without talking about how our own  union has been a handmaiden to ed deform. I think it needs a part 2.

But still great work by Jake Jacobs posted by Michael Fiorillo who says: While it’s a given that Trump is beyond awful, this should serve as a little reminder about how Hillary would have screwed educators.

That the article doesn't address Randi/AFT/UFT complicity with the Clintons ed policy -- well, forever, is bothersome - see my post (How Education Reform Ate the Democratic Party - Cl...) and gives Randi some cover when it mentions her pushing community schools with Hillary. Note that the BATS seemed to have some kind of working relationship with Randi at the 2016 AFT convention in Minneapolis so stepping on her toes may be off the agenda.

Despite all this it is a must read article.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful article- interesting comments after the Alternet version. I like Bernie, but I won't vote for anyone who is not committed to public schools. Also, the arrogance of the billionaires and the fawning of the campaign to call them "experts"!

Anonymous said...

The AFT and NEA endorsed Clinton. Perhaps the rest of her policies were worth the sacrifice of public schools. Or maybe the meetings with the billionaires were the real lies. Maybe in the end public schools were safe.
Unfortunately, without a history of public school support or at least stated support for public schools and disparagement of privatization, there is really no way for voters to hold candidates accountable after the election.
The right candidates are out there, luckily the wrong ones keep showing their hand.

Harris L. said...

A very comprehensive summary of what we all already know. We are very good at making pretty much the same points over and over again to each other and at diagnosing the problems without charting a plan to change the playing field on which national education policy is made.

1. How do we make education policy salient in federal elections? If education isn't even discussed during an election there is no way to pressure anyone to look at ed policy differently. We made some progress here in NYS because parents became enraged and put unrelenting pressure on their state and local elected officials. People decide how to vote in federal elections for many good and bad reasons, as we've found out. Most folks who are not involved professionally in education don't consider education to be a "single-issue" consideration when they decide how to vote, as do people who, say, oppose abortion. How do we, without much money or access to media, force the issue closer to the top? I don't know and I've never heard a good plan from anyone else, either.

2. How do we develop and communicate a short, forceful argument on behalf of public education that doesn't require the listener or reader to know all the details about testing, teacher evaluation and charter school funding? People don't read long journal or newspaper articles about education policy. It took me nearly two years of following the issues closely before I really understood much of it or could explain any of it to someone else who doesn't have a lot of time for or interest in ed policy.

3. What's the political consequence of all this analysis? If the Rs and Ds really are the same when it comes to ed policy what do you do if you want to change any of it? If all this means that folks want to support a third party in 2020 that won't just split the anti-Trump vote then everyone needs to be raising money and knocking on doors RIGHT NOW. If you aren't working today on building an effective third party alternative in 2020 beyond the second coming of Jill Stein you will forego the right to complain about any of it when it's too late. Folks who read this blog may not find this heartening but if the Ds don't tear themselves apart before 2020 most folks will have supporting any reasonable non-Clintonian candidate to end T#ump as the foremost consideration.

I don't plan to get involved in anything to do about what happens to the Ds beyond winning at least one house in Congress next year. Ds will disagree violently again about who should be nominated but the votes in 2020 will not turn on education policy unless folks figure out how to answer some of these questions soon. Repeating persuasive arguments to ourselves about the perfidy of education privateers isn't, at least by itself, part of the answer.

Michael Fiorillo said...

What you say is largely true, Harris, but the point is not to re-hash the 2016 election, but to remove the Clinton/Obama/Neo-liberal death grip on the Democratic Party, which continues. One way to do this is to expose their duplicity and collaboration with so-called education reform, so that perhaps one day teachers and their unions (or what's left of them, post-Janus) will toss them aside.

ed notes online said...

As you say, what has happened in ed takes years to understand and Jake's piece is informative to many who do not know the history. We can't move forward without understanding what happened. Now given the upcoming Dems battles real ed reformers may have to just give up the ship on public education and fight other battles that may be bigger. I often think -- am I fighting to save public ed run by De Blasio or Bloomberg or whatever ends up running it? Am I fighting to save a union run by Unity? Maybe just give up the ghost and do other stuff.

Anonymous said...

You can look at the glass half full too. Lots of this info was circulated on ed blogs for years, but now it is in more mainstream media. Even the NYT has written some negative articles on charters. The parent test revolution probably turned the tide on charters. Also the election of Trump is causing activists to dig in their heels.
Two points- once, while anti-common core was rising up, I read a very conservative blogger. The anti- common core comments were almost identical to comments I read on the more liberal blogs. Parents across the political spectrum are not happy. Also, most parents like their local schools. They like the local school boards and having a say in their children's education.
There are definitely social problems that need to be addressed- but saying that schools are the cause is not correct.

Anonymous said...

You make many valid points Harris L. I can't even influence people I know. I see no hope for the Dems. Their refusal to reinvent the party does not portend well for the future. In the meantime, white supremacists and their ilk are taking center stage.

Abigail Shure

Jake Jacobs said...

Thank for the repost - regarding Randi Weingarten and the AFT, there were only two mentions in this particular Policy Book, the first in full:

"Stand Up for the Common Core.
There is strong agreement that we need high academic standards in our public school system and that the Common Core will help us to be more globally competitive. There is recognition, however, that the implementation of Common Core and the interaction with the testing regime has made many supporters nervous (including Randi Weingarten). However, all agree that you must stand for common core while working on the real challenges of how to implement it in a way that supports teachers."

The only other mention was the AFT calling for community schools:

Incentivize the Creation of More Full-Service Community Schools. Randi Weingarten is pushing community schools as an alternative to charters and vouchers, and one that more accurately addresses the needs of students and their families to succeed. Mayor De Blasio just announced the creation of 40 new full-service community schools in New York."

They do mention that they would be interviewing Randi in early 2015. Other leaks show secret coordination between Randi and the Hillary campaign, not to mention secret relationships with high ranking members of the NEA and many other labor unions.

There was also a meeting with the campaign attended by Mulgrew to discuss "questions around testing" as NY stayed the course. The education-related leaks have not been covered much in media, if at all, but showed secret coordination to secure endorsements for Hillary.

One impropriety may be this question by, which was Robby Mook's account: "I agree we should push to keep those other unions neutral. Any word on their boards and if we can lobby members individually to block a vote?"

Another never covered was the question of the AFT needing approval from the AFL-CIO to endorse early. It appears the question was asked in a heated debate in the internal Political Committee, but Trumka cut off debate.

Another article asking about the AFT's involvement in the campaign is here: