It's no secret that CA State Senator Gloria Romero (and Chair of the Senate Education Committee in CA) is a major fan of charter schools, competition, and Race to the Top. She's either written or supported a variety of school choice bills, pro-charter legislation, and she never hesitates to bash public education. Her webpage claims she wrote the Parent Trigger legislation, but the reality is she was just the mouthpiece of a movement spearheaded by the various charter school organizations backed, of course, by the philanthrocapitalists looking to push their education agenda. Romero is currently running for Superintendent of Public Instruction, one of the top education positions in the state of California. Below is a list of her funders (pulled from here; h/t to David Cohen on Twitter for bringing this to my attention):
Donald Fisher - 4/3/2009 - $6,500Doris Fisher - 4/9/2009 - $6,500Reed Hastings - 6/24/2009 - $6,500Ana F. Ponce, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, Principal - 6/15/2009 - $250Sean E. Peake, VP of Insurance CA Charter Schools Association - 6/15/2009 - $100Lisa Berlanga, GM of CA Charter Schools Association - 6/15/2009 - $100Peter H. Hanley, Director of Oakland Charter Schools - 6/15/2009 - $100Myrna Castejon, SVP School Development, CA Charter School Association - 6/15/2009 - $100Diane S. Tavenner, Executive Director of Summit Preparatory Charter HS - 6/15/2009 - $100William Ouchi, UCLA Professor (Business Management, not education) - 6/20/2009 - $1,000Orbach, Huff & Suarez LLP (involved in K12 construction litigation) - 6/20/2009 - $1,000Joseph Castillo, Contractor for Premier West Contractors (involved in K12 education construction) - 6/20/2009 - $500Javan Nabili, GKK Works Inc (involved in K12 construction) - 6/20/2009 - $500Friends of Monica Garcia 2009 (Garcia is on the LAUSD Board) - 6/30/2009 - $1,000Steinberg for Senate 2010 (Steinberg is State Senate Pro Tem) - 6/30/2009 - $3,900Education Management LLC (large post-secondary for-profit education provider) - 6/30/2009 - $3,000Association of American Publishers, Inc PAC - 6/30/2009 - $1,000Edythe Broad (listed as "homemaker")- 6/30/2009 - $6,500Edythe Broad - 6/30/2009 - $6,500 (*update 8:41 PST 3/8/10: I think this may be an error - not sure you can make 2 donations of this size in one year, but there are also 2 different transaction numbers for them)EdVoice for the Kids PAC - 6/30/2009 - $6,500Lawrence Stupeski - 6/30/2009 - $6,500Gregory Penner, Investor at Madrone Capital Partners - 6/30/2009 - $6,500Eli Broad - 6/30/2009 - $500Eli Broad - 6/30/2009 - $500Roger Lowenstein, LA Leadership Academy charter school - 6/18/2009 - $1,000Marco Petruzzi, Green Dot Public Schools - 6/29/2009 - $250Branche Jones, VP CA Charter School Association - 5/27/2009 - $600Lawrence Stupski - 8/19/2009 - $6,500Joyce Stupski - 8/19/2009 - $6,500Elizabeth Fisher - 8/19/2009 - $6,500Joyce Stupski - 8/19/2009 - $6,500Donald Fisher - 8/19/2009 - $6,500Robert Fisher - 8/19/2009 - $6,500John Fisher - 8/19/2009 - $6,500Doris Fisher - 8/19/2009 - $6,500William Fisher (Manzanita Capital) - 9/18/2009 - $6,500Disney Worldwide Services Inc - 9/21/2009 - $1,000Vanir Construction Management, Inc. (involved in K12 construction management) - 10/13/2009 - $6,500Michael Piscal (ICEF) - 10/20/2009 - $500HMC Architects (involved in K12 construction) - 10/20/2009 - $5,000Richard Riordan - 11/20/2009 - $6,500Christopher Crane, President of Eduleap (fiance for Christian schools in Africa) - 12/18/2009 - $6,500Majestic Realty Co - 12/31/2009 - $6,000Majestic Realty Co - 12/31/2009 - $500Majestic Realty Co - 12/31/2009 - $6,500 [These three may be $6,500 total, not $13,000]Kent Valley (of Majestic Realty Co) - 12/31/2009 - $2,000David Wheeler (of Majestic Realty Co) - 12/31/2009 - $1,000Whitney Tilson - 9/14/2009 - $250Charles Ledley (Cornwall Captial) - 9/14/2009 - $1,000Marcia Aaron (KIPP LA schools) - 9/14/2009 - $500John Petry (Gotham Capital) - 9/14/2009 - $250Alex Johnson (ConCann) - 9/21/2009 - $100John Petry (Gotham Capital) - 10/14/2009 - $250Joe Williams (DFER) - 9/8/2009 - $250
You can see the full rundown of Gloria's piggybank here. She reported $334,299.34 in contributions in 2009. $143,000 of that came from high-rollers donating the maximum $6,500; the total of the above contributions total $171,100. It should be noted that some labor unions have donated to Romero, but the majority of her funding comes from philanthropists pushing charter schools, construction companies, and even some NYC hedge fund managers.
The typical offenders show up on her list: much of the Fisher Family, Eli and Edythe, EdVoice, and even Whitney Tilson cut a $250 check despite being very busy with his near-fraud shenanigans and his STOP THE PRESSES!!! e-mail blasts.
By the way, how many of the above contributors would stand to gain from the potential expansion of charter schools and associated construction/legal fees?
At least one of Romero's competitors has presented a very different education agenda.
California, let me introduce you to Leonard Martin. He's pushing for a revamp of California's school financing system (including a 2% tax on California's wealthiest citizens and a repeal of at least some, if not all, of Proposition 13); he's opposed to privatization and restructuring of schools; urges CA to make all schools safe for children; opposes the use of standardized testing; supports bilingual education; opposes politicians taking over schools; does not approve of military recruitment in public schools; and opposes commercialization of public schools.
Leonard needed 10,000 signatures by February 25, 2010. He did not reach this threshold, which means he had to pay $3,000 to get on the state ballot (the funds are due this Friday). 3K is a lot of money - unless you have philanthrocapitalists, hedge fund managers, or construction companies showering you with their gifts. You can donate to Leonard's campaign here.
Be sure to check out Leonard's website. Sure - he doesn't have an education background, but his platform treats children and educators with respect, and he stands opposed to the privatization agenda of Romero and her opulent backers. This man certainly deserves our support.