Wednesday, June 16, 2010

DFER’s impact in Michigan

A great story of DFER's impact in Michigan:


Early this year, Blackmond teamed with Joe Williams, executive director of the national Democrats for Education Reform, to launch a state branch of the organization, joining the ranks of education leaders in nine other states that are bucking the teachers unions that have dominated their party for decades.
     Since February, the Michigan DFER has swelled to over 1,400 supporters, including several key state lawmakers. DFER is shaking up the Democratic Party in Michigan by questioning the MEA's agenda and supporting Democratic leaders willing to do the same. 
     "I think that the MEA and the (Michigan Federation of Teachers) have put the interests of adults ahead of those of children," Blackmond, the first state director of Michigan DFER, said in an interview with the Insider. "The union has resisted significant change in the way we provide education to our children.
     "The only change they advocate for is more money and lower class size, and that benefits them," Blackmond said.



     Blackmond points to Michigan's participation in the federal Race to the Top grant competition as evidence that reform is gaining traction in the Wolverine State.
      Improvements to the way the state manages charter schools, somewhat better methods for closing failing schools, and other minor reforms in Michigan's RTTT application were a step in the right direction, Blackmond said. But perhaps more importantly, it served to inspire Democrats who are willing to part with traditional party policies and put kids first.
     "I think that one thing that happened that was good is you saw a lot of Democrats bucking the teachers union. I think we saw more Democrats supporting meaningful reform than since 1994, when legislation passed starting charter schools," Blackmond said.


June 8, 2010


More state Democrats willing to challenge MEA

Democrats for Education Reform attracts 1,400 supporters since February

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