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 →

Separate but Innovative: MLK 2.0

If Martin Luther King Jr. returned today, would he be an achievement gaptivist? And which billionaires would fund his important work?

No one could lead a civil rights movement like Martin Luther King Jr. But let’s face it: the movement he led was old school. The civil rights issue of our time is the achievement gap, and closing it often requires doing the opposite of what Dr. King stood for. Which raises some important questions: if Dr. King returned today would he be an achievement gaptivist? Which billionaires would fund his important work? And with poverty and racism now officially regarded as excuses, what would he talk about? Meet Martin Luther King 2.0, now with more excellence.

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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 →

Whiteface Rulez

Will you help me realize my dream of attending Camp Reform-a-Lot?

Whiteface Lodge - look how nice it looks!

Whiteface Lodge – look how nice it looks!

Reader: it’s a well known fact that nothing thrills me more than the prospect of attending an elite gathering of education reform elites. Which is why when I learned about this all-star camping trip of elite reform all stars, to be held next month at none other than Whiteface Lodge in the Adirondack Mountains, I knew that I had no choice but to go. Alas, there was a problem—actually a great many problems. You see, it turns out that all-star camping is not an inexpensive proposition. And to put students *first class* costs even more. Continue reading →