Marking a significant shift in its lobbying strategy, the influential charter school advocacy group Families for Excellent Schools will not hold a political rally in Albany this legislative session for the first time since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, several sources confirmed.
A spokesperson for FES did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. But sources close to the charter school advocacy sector said the group was no longer getting policy results from the costly rallies, all of which have sought to boost charter schools and critique de Blasio.
This isn't a surprise - the rallies themselves have become the focus of the coverage this past year or so - both the one in Albany and the ones in the city.
Some of the coverage engendered by previous rallies (these are just off the top of my head):
How much cash is FES dropping on the rallies?
How much is Jennifer Hudson being paid to sing at the rally?
Why won't Jennifer Hudson allow herself to be videotaped at the rally?
Why does FES chief Jeremiah Kittredge get so coked up before he goes to talk to the press at these things?
Why won't Eva make herself available for questions?
You can see why FES might have finally come to realize the rallies are counterproductive - they've been done before and nobody other than the charter shills are interested in the pre-fabricated messages and images.
Instead, FES and Eva (and they're pretty much synonymous - the rallies are overwhelmingly attended by Success students, parents and staff) are out on the defensive in the coverage, so much so that it seems they've decided to stop doing them - at least for now.