"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Koch Ca$h Not Enough to Save Privatizers

If you are a Nashville school board member with ideological or financial ties to the corporate reform school crowd, you should look out.  A wave is building that is not for you to ride.

from Valerie Strauss:
It was a bad night for conservative school reformers in two Colorado elections being watched nationally in the education world — and public education advocates did well in key Philadelphia races as well.

Voters in the Denver suburb of Jefferson County on Tuesday tossed out three conservative members in a recall vote that was marked by some $1 million in spending, including support for the incumbents from a Koch-backed organization. The school board earned national attention when the members in 2014 said the Advanced Placement U.S. History course was not patriotic enough and needed to be changed.

In Douglas County south of Denver, voters who in 2009 and 2013 supported conservative reformers for the school board voted against three of them who had pushed controversial measures, including a voucher program.

According to the Denver Post,  the votes weren’t close, as predicted. It said that in Jefferson County, the recall won 64 percent to 36 percent. In Douglas County, the incumbents lost 58 percent to 42 percent.

In Jefferson County, Julie Williams, Ken Witt and John Newkirk  have been in office for two years. They won seats in 2013 on the five-member board and moved quickly to institute controversial school reforms, including a merit pay system for teachers and an educator evaluation system that used student test scores.

Public school activists charged that the three were part of a reform movement trying to privatize public education and started a recall effort that attracted national attention, including money from outside the state from partisans on both sides. Americans for Prosperity, the national organization founded by Charles and David Koch, contributed to the reformers, while unions supported their opponents. Some $1 million was believed to have been spent in the race, one of a few local elections around the country in which outside money played a role.

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