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Isn’t it Amazing When Deformers Pull Back the Curtain?

July 11, 2011

Sometimes you just happen to come across individuals in positions of power who show their hand and speak the truth at inconvenient moments. Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children, one of the many well-funded, manipulative organizations that play three card monte with the public dropped this revealing moment. At a recent Aspen Institute funded event, Edelman gloats over how they bamboozled their way past any ethical restraint in order to push forward unjust legislation.

Edelman reveals how eager he and others are to use the corporate money at their disposal to exploit the United States political system in order to shift laws in favor of the ruling class’ interests. Edelman apologized to our ally Fred Klonsky and his blog’s readers. Evidently, revealing this type of truth couldn’t stand without quickly going into damage control mode.

Since this story broke, Jim Horn at Schools Matter has analyzed the funding and power behind Edelman and other similarly fraudulent powerbrokers involved in hustling corporate education reforms in states throughout the nation. Horn broke down the PIE (Policy Innovators in Education) Network, which includes many of the usual corporate vulture philathropists (Gates, Walton, Broad) as well as their “policy partners“.

Also Caroline Grannan of San Francisco has transcribed a crucial segment of the Edelman speech, posted on the Parents Across America site as follows:

…After the election, Advance Illinois and Stand [for Children] had drafted a very bold proposal called Performance Counts. It tied tenure and layoffs to performance; it let principals hire who they choose; it streamlined dismissal of ineffective tenured teachers substantially – from two-plus years and $200 thousand-plus in legal fees on average to three to four months with very little likelihood of legal recourse. And most importantly, called for the reform of collective bargaining throughout the state, essentially proposing that school boards would be able to decide any disputed issue and impasse – so a very, very bold proposal for Illinois and one that six months earlier would have been unthinkable, undiscussable.

And so in Aurora, Ill., in December, out of nowhere, there were hearings on our proposal. In addition, we hired 11 lobbyists, including four of the absolute best insiders, and seven of the best minority lobbyists – preventing the unions from hiring them. We enlisted a state public affairs firm. We had tens of thousands of supporters. … We raised $3 million for our political action committee. That’s more money than either of the unions have in their political action committees….And all this with the narrative of union leadership because it was a fait accompli and the unions decided the smart way that they would pursue a win-win we gave them the space to win. We’ve been happy to dole out plenty of credit and now it makes it hard for folks leading unions in other states to say these types of reforms are terrible because their colleagues in Illinois just said these are great. So our hope and our expectation is to use this as a catalyst to very quickly make similar changes in other very entrenched states.

This last statement that Edelman makes is particularly interesting and alarming. That the supposed success of tactics in Illinois will be leveraged to pressure similar reforms in several other “entrenched states” should awaken us to an arresting political dynamic. We have an urgent need to further build an authentic grassroots education movement made up of parents, students, rank and file teachers, progressive union leaders, community members and any one else that claim to care about children and the state of public education.

While this effort is anything but simple, moments like this should further emphasis the dire need to build up focused collaborative forces with agreed upon goals, tactics and strategies in this “battle for the soul of our schools”. In this spirit while building in this struggle, I look forward to establishing and nurturing relationships and alliances with like minded individuals and organizations in DC at the end of the month for Save our Schools and beyond.

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