Groups Muster More Money to Fight for Education Overhaul
A nice article in the WSJ about the rise of DFER and Stand for Children:
Two national education groups have plowed about $3.5 million into local campaigns in Illinois, Colorado, New York and other states, in an effort to challenge teachers unions' longstanding clout in the political arena.
Stand for Children, based in Portland, Ore., has given $1.5 million to candidates who support overhauling teacher tenure policies. The group has pumped $600,000 into Illinois alone.
Democrats for Education Reform, which lobbies for charter schools and tougher teacher evaluations, has spent about $250,000 of its own money and gathered another $1.7 million in fund-raising efforts that went to candidates, mainly in New York and Colorado, said Joe Williams, executive director of the New York-based advocacy group.
That compares to $75,000 and $200,000 that Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform, respectively, spent on 2008 state races, according to the directors of the two groups.
Even the groups' fresh spending is significantly smaller than that of teachers unions. The Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association, for example, are outspending Stand for Children by 3 to 1.
But the latest infusion of cash shows how groups seeking change in education are flexing their political muscle with cash for candidates.
"We've learned the hard way that if you want to have the clout needed to change policies for kids, you have to help politicians get elected," said Jonah Edelman, who founded Stand for Children and runs its Illinois operation. "It's about money, money, money."
…"The reformers have largely been absent from the political process," Mr. Williams said. "This year, we wanted to show that we understand the rules and protocols that most other interest groups follow."
· NOVEMBER 1, 2010, 6:35 P.M. ET