The Shill-y Season

Where does Democrats for Education Reform’s single-issue extremism lead? 

At a time when Democrats and their party are, by virtually every index, moving left, a powerful center-right pressure group within the liberal universe has nonetheless sprung up. Funded by billionaires and arrayed against unions, it is increasingly contesting for power in city halls and statehouses where Democrats already govern…

Entering-Somerville.jpg (500×332)Quick reader: why does this pithy description of the charter school lobby, quoted from a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, sound, um, so accurate? If you answered *because this is exactly what’s playing out in Massachusetts,* you would be correct. To see for ourselves, we need travel no further than Somerville, MA, which is the site of a somewhat, ahem, unusual political showdown. In one corner is Senator Pat Jehlen, a longtime progressive leader in the state Senate and public education champion. Her opponent, Leland Cheung, is a former Republican legislative candidate from Virginia turned Harvard student turned Cambridge City Councilor turned Democrat for Education Reform. Thirsty already, reader?  Continue reading →

Damn It Feels Good 2 Be A Reformer

My day (and night) of living large

reform robeReader: since the moment I first learned of the deluxe camp for education reformers in the Adirondacks being hosted by my friends at Democrats for Education Reform, I longed to join in the fun. But there was a problem. As a member of the press (technically) and a low net worth individual (most definitely), the exclusive doors of Camp Philos were shut tight against the likes of me. Then, genius struck, as it so often does around the cocktail hour. If I couldn’t actually attend Camp Philos, could I not try on DFER’s *reform robe* for a day (and a night)? Why yes I could!  Continue reading →

Piketty in the Pines

Going camping with the 1%one percent_flame4 (1)

Reader: even upon today’s comically overpopulated education reform landscape, the men of Democrats for Education Reform or DFER (say it with me: DEE furr) stand alone. That’s because, with their unapologetic ties to all things hedge fundy, DFER man’s net worth towers above even his well-off reform-minded peers. Also, that master of the universe quality, so handy for picking winners and dumping losers, isn’t always so pleasant when viewed from close up. In other words, DFER man is a type a-hole. Let’s get to know him, shall we? Continue reading →

Biz School Boyz 4 Reform

In their first official foray into Massachusetts politics, DFER spent big but came up short.

Say you’re a young man who is all about *crushing* the achievement gap and you just happen to have a cool $20K of daddy’s money to plunk down in order to influence an important local election. But who do you support? Do you go with the first-generation Haitian-American who would be the first minority OR woman to represent a part of Boston still scarred from the busing wars of the 1970’s? Or do you go big and bold, backing the white guy with the Irish name from a powerful South Boston family of the sort that has dominated this part of Massachusetts for decades? Continue reading →

The Passions of Ann Romney: Horses, Charter Schools

In a new interview with Good Housekeeping Ann Romney reveals that her major passions include horses and charter schools.

Reader, I have been so worried about what will happen to the most vulnerable among us should Mitt Romney win the election: children Democrats for Education Reform. What if, even though DFER’s positions on education are straight out of the ALEC playbook, these scrappy ascot wearing advocates for reform should find themselves without a seat at the table after the election—and all because of a pesky little symbol after their name: IV ‘D’?

So what a relief it is to find out that Ann Romney has so much in common with the hedge fund men of DFER, not to mention their striving little siblings, the prep school contingent that is Students for Education Reform. Ann likes horses, DFER and SFER both grew up riding, even though mummy and daddy made them leave Foxy at home when they went off to Deerfield Academy. Ann and Mitt had some hardscrabble years when they were barely scraping by on stock options. DFER and SFER get by on their passion for the civil right$ i$$ue of our time, boosted solely by occasional donations from the Walton family and an extensive network of hedge funder friends. Continue reading →