Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

June 11, 2012

National Voucher Group, Democrats For Education Reform, Calls for Using Public Dollars to Lobby

Filed under: Charter Schools,Right Wing Agenda — millerlf @ 4:50 pm

Democrats For Education Reform Head Says Charter Schools Should Use Per Pupil Dollars For Lobbying

By posted Apr 2nd 2012 on Republic Report

One of Big Money’s last targets for privatization is America’s public schools. Using a variety of policy schemes ranging from school vouchers to for-profit charter schools, the education privatization movement seeks to take over America’s largely public K-12 education system and put it in the hands of some of the very same people who caused the financial crash on Wall Street.

One group that has been successful in pushing this wave of privatization is Democrats For Education Reform (DFER), a group of largely finance industry Democrats who advocate for expansion of charter schools and high-stakes testing, among other policies.

Dissent Magazine uncovers a conference that DFER executive director Joe Williams spoke at in 2010. At that conference, Williams actually advocated for charter schools to spend money on advocacy organizations and lobbying through their “per pupil dollars” — meaning the very same funds that are supposed to be used to educate students. Williams justified this by saying that charters are an attempt to run a school “as a business” and that businesses of course allocate their funding “right off the bat” to “lobbying, advocacy work“:

Another of Williams’s comments reveals what is so misguided about this brand of education reform: “I think charter schools should be paying advocacy organizations for their advocacy work out of their per pupil dollars. If you think of running a school as running a business, any sound business is going to allocate right off the bat a certain percentage of their funding towards lobbying, advocacy work.”

William’s comment is revealing. DFER appears to view education as no different than any other for-profit business. And just as America’s other big industries spend enormous amounts of money to influence our politics, DFER appears to have no problem with charter schools digging into funds that should be used for student education to seriously impact public policy.

1 Comment »

  1. Wow! Using taxpayer dollars for the purpose of lobbying is sooooo wrong. I cannot imagine how the public would react if local school districts used money to do this. I guess many ill informed voters already think that they do. Many “concerned taxpayers” have trouble distinguishing between taxpayer dollars used for education and money out of the paychecks of school employees who pay union dues, so I would imagine that they think the current educational lobby operates the same way that this “Democratic” organization proposes. It just goes to show that the two party system is broken and outdated.

    Comment by Jason — June 12, 2012 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

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