Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, August 22, 2013

DFER's Ally With Tea Party To Bring Charter Schools To Kentucky

One of the arguments we have heard from education reform groups like Democrats For Education Reform for why progressive educators shouldn't ally with right wing Tea Party types in a common cause against Common Core is that right wing Tea Party types hold views in anathema to progressives on other issues - from vouchers to teaching evolution in schools to sex education and Obamacare - and progressives shouldn't join with these people in common cause against anything.

Back in May, Education Week laid out the blueprint for how the DFER's are employing this "divide and conquer" strategy to try and keep progressive educators from joining with Tea Party types to fight the Common Core:

Stand for Children Indiana, a pro-common-core group, which supports broad early-education opportunities and charter schools, released two different 30-second TV advertisements, one on March 5 and another on April 16, defending the standards. The campaign also included radio spots.
A spokesman for the group, Jay Kenworthy, declined to disclose how much it spent on the ads and said it hadn't decided whether to renew the public relations push when common-core hearings get underway in Indiana this summer. 
That state is also ground zero for a pro-common-core argument aimed at a liberal audience: that many of the loudest common-core opponents hold other political views that the audience would find abhorrent.

For example, Larry Grau, the director of the Indiana affiliate of Democrats for Education Reform, or DFER, wrote on the group's blog April 23 that GOP Sen. Scott Schneider wants schools to teach creationism and has sought to make enforcement of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act a felony. DFER Indiana has also used language that warned about "bedfellows" in the anti-common-core movement that could cause someone to say, "I hate myself for this in the morning." Mr. Grau said he wanted the group's rhetoric to be "a little edgy."
He argued that Democrats suspicious of other policy proposals, like vouchers, should not let those views lead them to lash out at the common core. "They're not thinking before they're saying who they're partnering with on the common core," Mr. Grau said in an interview.

Last week we learned from a reformer at another prominent education reform organization that the reform movement is truly "terrified" that progressive educators and Tea Party types will join together to fight the Common Core, so the reform movement will do anything to divide these groups and make sure they don't join together against the Core.

Thus the argument about "How Can Self-Respecting Progressives Join With These 'Inherit The Wind' types to fight Common Core?" stuff.

The funny thing is, today at Politico we learn that the DFER's are joining with Tea Party hero Rand Paul to try and bring charter school's to Paul's home state of Kentucky:

CHARTER CAMPAIGN – Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell today kick off a campaign to bring charter schools to their home state of Kentucky. They’ll be joined by various pro-charter groups, including one from across the aisle – Democrats for Education Reform. Why focus on Kentucky? Look at the map, DFER’s policy director, Charles Barone, tells POLITICO. Just eight states in the U.S. block charters from opening, and several of the holdouts are so rural (looking at you, North and South Dakota) that they don’t have the population centers needed to support robust competition in public education. Kentucky, however, seems ripe for reform, Barone said.

It won’t be easy, though. Two other Southern states, Alabama and West Virginia, have rejected charter laws time and again. In another pocket of resistance, Washington state, it took charter backers 16 years, four ballot measures and an $11 million campaign to finally get voters to authorize charters last fall. Barone says he has no idea what a campaign will cost in Kentucky, or how long it will take. “We’re just getting our feet wet,” he said. As for that whole strange-bedfellows thing, Barone says DFER is not exactly allying itself with Republicans Paul and McConnell, though they all share the same goal. “We’re not really doing this with them,” he said. “We just both happen to be there at this event.”

I see - so it's okay for the DFER's to work with (though not exactly ally themselves with) Tea Party types like Rand Paul to try and bring charter schools to Kentucky though it's not okay for progressive educators to work with (though not exactly ally themselves with) Tea Party types to fight the Common Core.

What political expediency and hypocrisy these DFER's engage in, eh?

The next time you hear one of these guys ask how progressive educators can work with Tea Party types against Common Core even though Tea Party types hold views in anathema to many views that progressive educators hold on other issues, ask how it is the DFER's can work with Tea Party types to expand charter schools even though Tea Party types hold views that are supposedly in anathema to ones the DFER's have on other issues.

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