Saturday, May 5, 2012

The suns sets in the west: we now discover that special interests on both sides organize for school board elections

Transparent Christina makes a big issue out of the Delaware Chamber of Commerce's Rich Heffron apparently appealing to his members to "buy" school board elections.

If you follow the link John provides, here's what Mr. Heffron says,
Rich Heffron of the Delaware
Chamber is on the right; that's
John Kowalko on the left.

"The leaders of our business community need to identify good candidates, recruit them to run, and assist them with their campaigns.  Furthermore, they must instill in their employees the importance of school board elections, encourage them to participate in campaigns."

In the context of the article, "good" clearly means people who support education reforms like Vision 2015.

Oh.  On the right is Frederika
Jenner with Lillian Lowery and
Jack Markell at a Vision 2015
event.  Who knew?
Now let's look at what the DSEA's Frederick Jenner said, right after successful school board elections in 2009:
‘We have a winning strategy–we have proven it twice in Red Clay. Identify good candidates with great public appeal, plan a 2-3 month campaign from filing through Election Day, involve all critical stakeholders, be willing to spend some money and commit some time, and then run the plan."
In the context of this article, "good" clearly means people who support the agenda of DSEA.

If you read the whole segments from both, you will discover that they are . . . pursuing exactly the same electoral strategy.  In fact, Mr. Heffron's piece could almost have been clipped from Ms. Jenner's in terms of the importance of such elections to his constituency, and the importance of organizing a special interest group to be successful.

Pretty much all that has been discovered here is that the business community was slower on the uptake than the teachers' union (by about three years), and that this is the first school board election to be fought out since Citizens United changed the playing field for the worse.

Folks, the real answer is that they're ALL playing us.


john said...

Steve, to be fair, you selectively left off the following quote:
"If Vision 2015, Race to the Top and STEM are to be successful, then it is important that dedicated citizens, ones who understand the goals of these programs, and how they can be successfully implemented, run for election to their local school board"

I didn't realize that submitting to their litmus test on agenda supersedes the desire to serve the interests of children, first.

john said...


I will never make an excuse for DSEA on this, but they sold out completely at the behest Jack Markell under the "leadership" of Diane Donohue. A mistake they will regret deep into the future.

The only reason they are at the table is so they are not on the table. You do know this in your heart, right?

Steve Newton said...


I said in context what "Good" meant. Virtually the same sort of quote exists in the Jenner article.

I stipulate that they're looking for reform-friendly candidates, just as DSEA is looking for union-friendly candidates.

Both would deny that this means they don't serve the interests of kids first.

And both would be fooling themselves.

Steve Newton said...

The only reason they are at the table is so they are not on the table.

OK it has been a long day, but John I don't know if I know that in my heart or not because (I'm not kidding here) I don't know what you just said.

Steve Newton said...

Wait, I got it.

Didn't see the "on" in the second clause.

Now at least I know what you said.

No, I don't agree. I think that the senior leaders of DSEA have their own personal agendas that are not those of the majoriy of their constituents.

I think they have rationalized that with sentiments such as the one you expressed (and I finally understood).

john said...

Steve, fair enough. I am directly suggesting that the DSEA is a "willing" partner, merely to avoid being devoured by Edreform plans/logic

Steve Newton said...

John, in return, fair enough.

If I were a DSEA strategist (which I am obviously not), from 2009 forward I would have been recruiting anti-reform candidates.

That's not what DSEA did, and most of the candidates the organization did support are at least open to the reform agenda.

If you also take a look at which legislative candidates DSEA has been supporting you'd come back to a comment Barbara Finnan made over on Kilroy's when Mark Murphy was nominated.

(I paraphrase cause I'm too lazy to look it up): she said that Markell's rubber stamp General Assembly would give him exactly what he wanted, whether it was good for education or not.

And my thought was--after having spent over a million bucks primarily to elect DSEA-friendly candidates to the General Assembly, somebody needs to be asking for their money back!

john said...

Steve, no problem, we just disagree on that point then.

john said...

100% agree on money back comment.

kavips said...

So how do you propose we fix it?

DSEA candidates got us into this mess. Probably not in reality, but at least the perception is there. The Race To The Top candidates have no way of getting us out..

Before school board candidates were always at the mercy of someone.

I think what you need are smart people who have no agenda, and have the capacity to sort through facts, and derive the best possible solution for that time.

Which means, we probably won't be getting any change soon.

Steve Newton said...

To be clear: DSEA candidates did not get us into this mess; DSEA campaign donations started it and the Rodel folks ham-handedly upped the ante.

Unfortunately, the system is now so thoroughly broken that I have come around (reluctantly, very reluctantly) to believe that the only possible solution is to move school board elections to November.

kavips said...

That would a) make it partisan, and b) we'd be having the discussion when our minds were ready for it, and not on some random day in spring when, face it, the last thing I want to do, is walk inside a building....

Whereas the issues today probably resonates within 10% of the population, during November, they would most likely resonate with around 48% of the population.

However, post thought, their could be a risk. Someone says No to all taxes and that theme carries straight down the ticket with no one giving it thought.

Still, despite the risk, I'd say lets work to get them in on November 2014.... For one, it would cost less money keeping the polls open on one more extra day....