$tand for Children calling 50,000 Chicagoans tonight

This is the kind of thing a group can do when it’s getting big bucks from Bill Gates, WalMart and other folks who are working to destroy public education.

Saying that they just want to hear from parents, and “help” them, the astroturf group Stand for Children has paid for a radio ad blitz supporting school turnarounds, and follows that up tonight with a telephone blitz on the South and West sides of the city. Will you be one of the 50,000 they call?

If you do get a call, you may want to ask them about what happened to the SFC chapter in Portland, Oregon (where the group originated) and why several active parent members felt the need to resign. Here’s what one former SFC member said:

Parents and community members most likely do not know that SFC now has private equity investors and venture philanthropists on the board, making decisions for the organization as it grows new chapters. And, grow they will, as they have announced the need to hire a National Expansion Manager, having raised over a million dollars in funding from the Walton Foundation, and over three million dollars from the Gates Foundation. My fear is that unwitting parents and community members will join SFC because they want to rectify the problems they see every day in their children’s public schools, such as underfunding, lack of arts programs, large class sizes, and cuts to the school year, only to find that they get roped into very different goals.

Or, you might want to ask them about disgraced national SFC leader, Jonah Edelman, who admitted last year that SFC, “in lockstep with Advance Illinois,” manipulated the Illinois state legislature to pass SB7, a bill which essentially gutted teacher union rights in Chicago. On a public panel last summer,  Edelman said:

“we interviewed 36 candidates in targeted (Illinois legislative) races. … I’m being quite blunt here. The individual candidates were essentially a vehicle to execute a political objective, which was to tilt toward Madigan. The press never picked up on it…. (The SFC/AI proposal) 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….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 so essentially what we did in a very short period of time was shift the balance of power….we had clear political capability to potentially jam this proposal down their throats the same way pension reform had been jammed down their throats six months earlier.

Now, how is this group planning to listen to and help parents???

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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.