Face of astroturf “parent” reform groups running for mayor

Bad fairy of school reformPatricia Watkins, who puts both a Rev. and a Dr. in front of her name and Bill Gates money in her pocket, is running for Mayor under the name Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins.

PURE Thoughts readers know that I am not a big fan of this particular Rev. Dr. In fact, I’ve called her the “bad fairy” of school reform because of her habit of showing up here and there to proclaim the bad news about our schools.

It’s hard to trust a person who is so willing to serve as “the token parent” for corporate reform shills such as Advance Illinois. 

She’s headed so many “grassroots” groups in such a short time that if the grass was real, her running shoes would be bright green. There’s the SAGE group (stands for Statewide Action and Grassroots
Education), the Target Area group, the PRISE group, and the City Wide Education
Organizing Campaign
. Watkins is also a paid staffer for Grow Your Own Teachers.

You’d think with all that great school reform experience, Watkins would have an extensive education platform. Here it is:

Lack of access to quality education in our society is a driving force
behind increases in crime, disinvestment, and community disintegration.
Improving our school system across the board has to be job
one. Concentrating on programs such as Strategic Learning and Focused
Instruction may be a better long-term solution than closing schools.

Not exactly a recipe for success, but some improvement over Rahm Emanuel’s proposal for a local Chicago Race to the Top….

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.