Four candidates won the primary in order to run for two at-large seats. Rebecca Gagnon, an incumbent, and Iris Altamirano are DFL-endorsed. Ira Jourdain is another. The other is Don Samuels, who is regarded by many as an ally of the corporate movement that seeks to undermine public schools.
In the aftermath of a failed 2013 bid for mayor, former Minneapolis city council member Don Samuels is running for a spot on the school board. If he wins, he will undoubtedly be able to thank the extensive financing and canvassing support he’s received from several well-heeled national organizations, such as the Washington, D.C.-based 50CAN, an offshoot of Education Reform Now called Students for Education Reform (SFER), and various people associated with Teach for America, which has been called a “political powerhouse” for its growing influence in policy and politics beyond the classroom.
These groups often project an image of grassroots advocacy but are in fact very well-funded, often through the support of extremely wealthy hedge fund managers and large philanthropic foundations. Together, they and like-minded “education reform” proponents have dramatically, but not necessarily democratically, altered how public education works throughout the United States…
So what might out-of-state investors hope to gain from helping Don Samuels get on the Minneapolis school board?
The answer may lie in the well-documented, billionaire-led push by education reform proponents to privatize the nation’s public school system. This is often accomplished through efforts to expand “school choice” through district and charter school competition, with the accompanying goals of weakening or eliminating both teachers unions and democratically elected school boards. The infamous Koch brother-funded “American Legislative Exchange Council,” or ALEC, has also used its political muscle to push pro-charter bills through state legislatures across the country.
(Sarah Lahm/In These Times)
And here is another must-read article, from Salon: “The great charter school rip-off: Finally, the truth catches up to education “reform” phonies.” Enjoy the great writing and despise the reality presented, all at once.
If you’re in Minneapolis and support public schools, don’t go defeatist. Deform candidates have been having their butts electorally handed to them on a regular basis, nationwide. When it even happened in Oklahoma – Oklahoma – you know it’s for real.