Outside interests poured money into Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's war chest for this week's school board elections in an attempt to influence education reform here and nationwide. But when the votes were tallied, the group could count only one clear winner.
The mayor's political action committee, which amassed more than $3.9 million on behalf of three candidates, secured just incumbent Monica Garcia's seat.
In the other two races, the Coalition for School Reform lost its bid to unseat incumbent Steve Zimmer, who was backed by the teachers union. The group's other favored candidate, Antonio Sanchez, is headed for a May 21 runoff.
The results were "a loss for the mayor and the future of reform in the district," said former state Sen. Gloria Romero, who is generally allied with Villaraigosa's education agenda.
But American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten summed up Tuesday's election this way: "Big monied interests — most of whom live far away from Los Angeles and virtually none of whom have children in LAUSD schools — were rebuked by parents, teachers and the community."
Leaving aside the audacity of Weingarten bragging about parents, teachers and a local community beating back monied interests from outside the district when she often helicopters into districts from her DC home to try and influence policy and contract negotiations in places like Baltimore, Newark, New Haven and Philadelphia, let's just assume that the losses suffered by the ed deformers in the LA school board race will not deter them from trying to buy the next school board elections.
Let us assume that the lesson they will take from this is throw more money into the race - or circumvent the democratic process completely and engineer backroom deals that disenfranchise parents, teachers and the local community from having a say in the process.
Isn't that what ALEC is all about?
Isn't that what the Common Core Federal Standards movement was all about?
Isn't that what the Gates Foundation, Broad Foundation and Bloomberg's political PAC all about?
Bloomberg in particular has a few scalps in his PAC belt.
You can bet a couple of percentage points loss in this school board race won't deter him from trying to buy future school board races or simply force through his policy preferences in some backroom deal.