Election Returns

In Colorado the grand bargain finance reform measure failed with voters.  It would have, among other things, raised taxes, sent more money to poor districts, and expanded pre-K education in the state.  The defeat again raises the dilemma that underpins much of the education debate today: Given voter sentiment waiting until all the conditions for reform are in place sure seems like it’s going to be a long wait for students.

In Virginia a lot of speculation about what Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe will do on schools.  But keep an eye on the Commonwealth’s senate, too.  It’s a jump ball now pending some special elections and party control there will impact education policy.

2 Replies to “Election Returns”

  1. In Bridgeport:

    As reported in today’s Connecticut Post article, “City school board tips away from Finch,” thanks to broad support from Bridgeport voters, Democrats and Working Family Party members opposed to Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas, and the corporate education reforms being pushed by Governor Malloy and Mayor Finch have taken a control of Bridgeport’s Board of Education.

    The change will mean that Kenneth Moales, Jr., Finch’s controversial campaign treasurer, will be removed as chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education and replaced by someone opposed to the Malloy/Finch/Vallas initiatives.

    The Bridgeport Board of Education race has garnered national attention and is now seen as proof that parents, teachers and public school advocates can use elections to beat back the corporate education reform industry.

    The Malloy/Finch/Vallas defeat reiterates questions about what role Governor Malloy and the Democratic State Central Committee played in the Bridgeport election process.

    According to reports filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission, the Connecticut State Central Committee spent just under $63,000 between July 1, 2013 and October 17, 2013.

    Of the money spent to support candidates, more than 95% of the State Party’s money went to fund the pro-Finch/Pro-Vallas Democratic slate that lost to the Democratic challenge slate in the September 10th Democratic Primary.

    In addition to providing the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee with $20,000 to pay for canvassers the day before the Democratic Primary, the State Party paid for the three direct mail pieces that were sent out in support of the pro-Finch endorsed slate.

    Due to what appear to be campaign finance violations, the amount spent on the endorsed slate might be even high.

    But despite that massive financial support from the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee, the endorsed slate lost by a significant margin and the Democratic challenges have gone on to win control of the Board of Education with the help of the Working Families Party candidates.

    Neither Governor Malloy nor Democratic State Chairman Nancy DiNardo has explained why they diverted tens of thousands of dollars in state party funds to support the Finch candidates in the Bridgeport Democratic Primary.

    It is also not clear whether the Democratic State Central Committee even authorized the unprecedented expenditure.

    One clue about the politics behind the decision to spend money to beat fellow Democrats instead of using those funds to campaign against Republicans may be the fact that of the funds raised by the Democratic State Central Committee, a large sub-group of contributions came from wealthy charter school advocates.

    The Democratic State Central Committee report shows contributions totally $20,000 from Jonathan Sackler and his wife. Sackler is on the Board of Directors of Achievement First, Inc. ConnCAN, 50 CAN and has been a major donor to other corporate education reform endeavors including a $50,000 check to support Mayor Finch’s failed attempt to do away with a democratically elected board in Bridgeport and replace it with one appointed by the mayor.

    Achievement First, Inc, of course, is the large charter school management company co-founded by Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor.

    The Democratic State Central Committee also received $8,000 from Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad whose foundation is one of the three largest corporate education reform funders in the country.

    And Richard Ferguson, who serves as Chairman of Achievement First’s Elm City School, donated $2,000 to the Democratic State Central Committee.

  2. 66 was a Trojan horse for reformers and the Pearsons of the world. Of course, it would have supplied more money for worthwhile things like ECE but overall I’m glad it failed. It was also sad to see the unions groveling for any scraps of money no matter how much they were selling their own interests short–I think a better word would be prostituted.

    Meanwhile, reformers now enjoy a 6-1 advantage in Colorado’s largest school district, Denver. And in wealthy Douglas County, the Tea Party wingnuts were able to hold on to their school board apocalypse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.