Monday, May 17, 2010

Letter from Jonah Edelman

Here's a letter from Jonah Edelman (son of Marion Wright Edelman), the CEO of Stand for Children, an organization similar to DFER that correctly calls education reform "this generation's Civil Rights Movement."  His letter includes a speech by Lindsay Neil, Executive Director of the Colorado affiliate of Stand for Children, at the NewSchools Venture Fund Summit on Wed.  Here's an excerpt from Lindsay's speech about the political campaign waged by reformers in CO that resulted in the bill being passed.  Needless to say, we need to be doing this ALWAYS and EVERYWHERE!


Here are some highlights from the campaign for you:


1.      More than 50 education, community and business organizations signed on in support


2.      Personal endorsements from more than 20 civic leaders including 4 Colorado Governors and the Commissioner of Education. 


3.      School board members, superintendents, principals and teachers – including the American Federation of Teachers Colorado on board


4.      Polling showing overwhelming public support for the key tenants of the bill


5.      More than 10 supportive Denver Post editorials and columns


6.      Over 3,000 calls and emails [to targeted legislators]


7.      At least 150 positive news stories and letters to the editor from parents, teachers and business leaders across the state


8.      200 people at the capitol meeting with legislators. 


9.      Testimony by Tim Daly from the New Teacher Project and the behind the scenes support of key national leaders, many of whom are in the room today


All of this was critical to counter CEA's threats to withdraw campaign contributions to Democrats in the fall elections, their six figure radio ad buys, and the scores of CEA teachers who were at the capitol telling legislators, "Poor and minority children have too many challenges to overcome - they can't learn, and I can't be held accountable for teaching them."


The bottom line is that Colorado Education Association was completely alone in their opposition of the bill, which we illustrated in a full page Denver Post ad listing supporters on the same day as a key committee vote.

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