Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wealthy Political Donors Are Sad Some Republican Candidates Are Running Away From Common Core

Some Common Core shills seem unaware that Common Core is about as popular as Ebola these days with a good segment of the population.

Take the editorial boards at the Washington Post and NY Times, both of whom recently wrote up glowing assessments (yeah, I'm using that word on purpose) to talk about the wonders of Common Core and the ancillary tests that go with them and tow warn about the dangers of opposition to the Core (and the tests).

In reading the Washington Post editorial, you'd think it was still 2011 and Common Core opposition was "fringe" instead of increasing by the year.

It's not just clueless newspaper editorial board shills who don't get what's happening with Common Core with the general populace.

The Wall Street Journal today has a piece that says wealthy GOP donors are getting bummed out that Republican presidential candidates are trashing the Common Core.

The Journal reports that wealthy donors are sticking by the Core and pulling support away from candidates like Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker who initially supported the Core but now oppose it.

Candidates who continue to support Common Core are getting love - and dollars - from the Wall Street Common Core-lovers:

Mr. Bush’s approach is drawing a section of donors who have previously backed education accountability efforts in New York and New Jersey. Daniel Loeb, a New York City hedge-fund manager who encouraged Mr. Christie to run for president in 2012, has given $2,700 to Mr. Bush’s campaign, according to the Bush campaign’s financial disclosure. New Jersey education-minded donors that have given to Mr. Bush include Rick Rieder, of BlackRock Capital, Joseph Amato of Neuberger Berman, and Richard Pechter, the past chairman of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, the filing shows.

In July, a fundraiser for Mr. Bush was co-hosted by Mr. Lilley and David Tepper, a billionaire hedge-fund manager who helped cofound the Better Education for Kids organization in New Jersey. Members of the organization that advocates for high education standards have donated to Mr. Christie previously.

Alan Fournier, founder of Pennant Capital Management and co-founder of the New Jersey education organization, gave at least $14,400 to past Christie campaigns, records show. Mr. Fournier gave $50,000 to a super PAC supporting Mr. Bush, disclosure reports show. Mr. Tepper has also given $250,000 to the pro-Bush group, Right to Rise.

Mr. Lilley said his support for Mr. Bush is separate from his official role with Better Education for Kids. A spokesman for Mr. Tepper declined to comment. Mr. Fournier didn’t respond to a request for comment.

So even as opposition to Common Core continues to mount around the country, our "betters" - wealthy Wall Street and hedge fund donors, the newspaper editorial boards that shill for them, and at least two GOP presidential candidates - continue to support it.

As a sidenote, some of those donors backing Bush also back Andrew Cuomo, another lover of Common Core and Common Core testing.

Until the politicians who support the Core are made to pay a political price for that support, we're going to continue to see the political establishment push it.

Christie, Jindal and Walker made political calculations that they would pay a political price for continued support of the Core in a GOP presidential primary race and dropped their support it, with Jindal the strongest in opposition.

There are a whole host of reasons why Christie is losing the backing of donors that have nothing to do with education - he has plummeted in polls (indeed, he may not even qualify for the top ten in the next GOP debate), Bridgegate and other scandals hang around his neck further weighing him down and New Jersey's poor financial health and quality of life have made him a target of barbs from other candidates.

But as the money starts to dry up from CCSS-supporting donors, Christie may start to wonder if he made the wrong calculation in turning rhetorically against the Common Core.

Ironic thing is, since New Jersey still gives the Common Core tests, even though Christie claims he's against the Core, the practical effect is that CCSS will still be taught in schools to ready students for the state tests.

So Christie has the worst of both worlds with the Core - he's really not dropped support for Common Core in effect, since the state tests are still CCSS-tied and schools will have to teach it, but since he's talking trash about CCSS, he's losing some wealthy donors over it.

Jindal was never really a top tier candidate, so I'm not sure his opposition to the Core matters in the GOP money race one way or the other.

Walker, on the other hand, was top tier but has seen his brand and poll numbers drop since Donald Trump entered the race.

He's the guy to watch to see what happens as a result of his "turning" against the Core (I put "turning" in quotes because like Christie, his opposition is more rhetorical than practical in consequence.)

Does Walker pay a political consequence - i.e., have trouble raising money from wealthy donors - because of his turning on the Core?

I'm skeptical that Common Core will be a big reason why Walker has potential money problems, given how the rest of his politics cohabits quite well with the GOP donor base.

If Walker has money problems in the future, it will more likely be due to his poor debate performances and rote campaign stump appearances that give him the reputation of being overly calculated and unable to generate real excitement for his candidacy.

In any case, the Journal piece goes to show that the politics around Common Core remain dicey even for Republicans, where opposition to Common Core is strongest.

The base hates Common Core but the moneyed classes love it and that dichotomy has got even Jeb Bush twisting himself in circles trying to please both.


  1. We as public school teachers should not fool ourselves to think that any of these candidates is thinking hard about education or protecting teacher rights or the profession. Even Sanders has not thought much about it. Education is a mere sound bite in the process. Easiest thing is either to oppose Common Core or say something vague about the importance of education, children, our nation's future. The extreme right is opposed mainly because they see it as Federal power and they want to be able to teach, frankly, their own version of things. The Wall Street hedge funders support Common Core because they ideologically want to wreck teacher unions, public schools, support APPR, support charters, make money off all of this. Meanwhile, their kids will all go to private schools and colleges and never have to be in a Common Core classroom. What shocks these hedge funders - many of whom are neo-libs or neo-cons, is that their candidates are not embracing this position in public enough, yet. They thought these folks were mostly bought and paid for. The neo-libs are in some cases socially liberal/progressive but politically more like moderate republicans. Most of their position on Common Core is not popular outside the circles of affluence in which they live. But they will double down with their money and influence as the real campaign gets underway. Sadly for most teachers [many who have no idea what is going on politically] the best hope for ending the Common Core may be the right wing of the Republican party. Hillary will not rock this boat if it means losing Wall Street, especially if Jeb is still in it, which is likely if the money keeps flowing to him.

  2. I think you will get a kick out of this piece. It really gives insight to how and why people like Reforms--MONEY!!

    Schoolgal ;)

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  3. Jeb Bush doesn't have a shot. It either going to be Trump or Christie. In that scenario, I hope it's Trump - he doesn't need their money. If he comes out strongly against CC he'll get a lot of votes.