Tuesday, July 05, 2011

An update and call to action by DFER’s Joe Williams:


Dear friend,

Four years ago this month, a bouncing baby political action committee was born. In 48 months, Democrats for Education Reform has led the important fight that has been playing out within the Democratic Party to save public education from itself.

We couldn't have gotten this far without your help.

There is an unprecedented push from coast to coast today to advocate for policies promoting the need for a great teacher in every classroom and a great school option for every family. We are working with partners all over the map to push the envelope and shape the debate, but only DFER is focused on attacking the education/political problem head-on at the core – in the heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

Our theory of change has always held that if we can successfully encourage/ push/ prod/cajole our friends within our party to prioritize education reform issues, this incredible force from the left will create the tipping point that has eluded past reform efforts.

We've made progress that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago, and now we need your help more than ever to continue fighting this fight.  As we gear up for elections this fall and next, it is crucial that we have support to share with champions nationwide on our issues.

The good news: There are more Democrats out there than ever who are willing to (1) admit we have a serious problem in our schools that needs fixing, and (2) are willing to discuss and promote reforms which are bold enough to even begin the process of positioning American public education to survive and thrive for another generation and beyond.

The challenge: Those politicians are still feeling the pull in the other direction from interests which have long dominated the discourse within the Democratic Party. We need your help to support Democrats who are willing to break from the mold which has held our party back (and turned public education into one of the most conservative, change-resistant forces in the nation) for years.

How can you help us reach the tipping point?

1. Make a contribution to DFER's political action committee today. Your voice, combined with the voices and resources of other education reformers around the nation, will continue to be heard loud and clear by policymakers. It's easy to contribute online.

2. Make it a part of your monthly routine to support DFER's  "Education Reformer of the Month." Our champions include leaders at all levels of the political structure, including President Obama. A small contribution, combined with contributions from people like you across the country, makes a loud statement about the growing strength of our movement.

3. Talk to your elected officials and those running for office in your community. Make it clear that it is unacceptable to sit back doing nothing when so much is at stake for our schools. Your voice is valuable.

Thanks again for everything you do for better schools. Let's win this once and for all.


Filing Deadlines for Some of our Friends

The end of June marks an important campaign finance reporting deadline for many candidates for office around the country. Last year, we created a "DFER Hot List" of candidates we're supporting in response to queries from people like you who wanted to be helpful.

Our new "Hot List" is up on our website - https://secure.actblue.com/page/dferhotlist - and will be updated throughout the next year. Please support some of these education champions.


Recent DFER Blog Highlights

-- Is "100% by 2014" the Biggest Hoax in the History of Federal Education Policy?

In a post last Friday, I mentioned that I have doubts about the so-called "train wreck" that is supposed to occur in or before the year 2014 when, as a perceived result of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), virtually every school in the U.S. will be labeled a "failure" because 100% of its students are not proficient in math and reading.


-- NCLB Reauthorization, Waivers, and the Third Variable Problem

Most of the inside-the-beltway chatter this week was around Secretary Arne Duncan's announcement on Monday, via Politico, that if A.: Congress did not act soon to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, he would B.: proceed to "develop a plan that trades regulatory flexibility for reform." I can't confirm this, but the rumor is that the plan arrived at OMB last night, and will be finalized in August. At any rate, it doesn't seem like they're playing games on this one. All signs suggest that they plan to follow through.


-- Mayor Frank Jackson: Courageous Democratic Leadership

Congratulations to Democratic Mayor Frank Jackson of Cleveland and Eric Gordon, the new CEO of Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), for their courageous stance in support of the educational achievement of students!



Support DFER's Ed Reformers Of The Month

DFER's mission is to encourage a more productive dialogue within the Democratic Party on the need to fundamentally reform American public education. Each month, we identify one candidate who is standing up for meaningful reform and innovation, and we help demonstrate the broad base of support for his or her efforts.

To make a monthly commitment as part of the Reformer of the Month movement, click here.


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