Posts Tagged ‘astroturf’

It’s spring, and the astroturf is spreading like crabgrass!

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

What's underneath???

It seems that every time you turn around, there’s another astroturf education group sprouting up. The fertilizer, of course, is the money of wealthy privatizers and union busters, not to mention the rich manure of corporate reform rhetoric.

It’s gotten to the point where you have to worry that, if a group has the word “students,” “children,” “reform,” or “first” in it, you’ve got to first hide your children!

And now they’re going after college kids.

The latest eruption is called Students for Education Reform, and they are sponsoring a kick-off event Saturday at Roosevelt University in conjunction with Stand for Children (event flier).

This is a local chapter of a suspiciously new network of college campus affiliates with a suspiciously familiar agenda. SFER’s web site claims it already has chapters in 28 states, although several of its key web site sections remain under construction. For example, you can apply for a job with SFER – no lack of funds for staff here – but the “advocacy” section is “coming soon.”

A glance at the gauzy statements on the SFER site can’t hide the real agenda of this Stand for Children clone. Code words like “choice,” “stronger teachers,” “parent empowerment,” and “data” sugar coat their drive to destroy teachers unions, expand charter schools and vouchers, and make standardized testing an even greater focus of schooling. That agenda becomes clear when you look a bit further into the site.

But it’s unlikely that a lot of the students being recruited for this modern-day Moonie group understand exactly what they’re signing up for.

A small group of real grass-roots folks will be sharing information about Stand for Children and other predatory “reform” groups outside of the SFER event at 10 am Saturday morning at 430 S Michigan (at Roosevelt U). Why not join them and help spread the truth about the value of real grass over fake? After all, it’s spring, the perfect time to start planting.

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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.