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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 03/ 4/2011

DFER’s achievement gap ‘bull’

By Valerie Strauss

There’s nothing like having a little fun with the achievement gap when you can make some money out of it. Here's an announcement for a fund-raiser by the Democrats for Education Reform, a political action committee supported largely by hedge fund managers favoring charter schools, merit-pay tied to test scores and related reforms. It speaks for itself.



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By Valerie Strauss  | March 4, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Achievement gap  | Tags:  achievement gap, democrats for education reform, dfer, school reform  
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DFER, under the stewardship of Joe Williams and other like-minded individuals, is an attempt to show there actually are people in this country who embrace both the ethos of the FDR, JFK, and LBJ party while also demanding rigor and creditability from our public schools. These postures do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Who despises this movement the most? Quite possibly the NEA because they realize the DFER is a SERIOUS threat to the century old nonsense of public education existing primarily as an employment agency for adults, with children being all too often, an after thought.

Posted by: paulhoss | March 4, 2011 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Contrary to @paulhoss' reactionary right-wing nonsense above, DFER serves two functions. First, it gives the nouveau riche an opportunity to network by joining charter-voucher school boards and the boards of charter-voucher related trade associations. Since these aspiring socialites and elitists, many of whom made their fortunes shorting housing derivative and by other "honorable" means, aren't able to get on boards dominated by "old money," DFER/TFA and the like give them a chance to play self important neo-gilded-age tycoons much like the robber barons of old. They like to call themselves philanthropists, although they are nothing of the sort.

The "ethos" of these budding plutocrats are are those of neoliberalism and markets. Freire and Macedo referred to this as "...a perverse ethics that, in fact, lacks ethics." DFER's advocates for policies that Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman espoused, policies that incorporate vile concepts like competition, market solutions, and choice — all highly discredited ideas. How progressive are DFER's ideas when they are universally lauded (and for the most part coined) by the likes of Heritage, AEI, Cato, Hoover, Hudson, and all the other extreme right wing think tanks?

Indeed, DFER and like minded groups merely provide an ostensible liberal veneer for the most reactionary aims. Their operatives and supporters deserve nothing but universal disdain. Cloaking privatization in the guise of "helping children" goes beyond cynical, it's downright sinister.

Posted by: rdsathene | March 4, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Can you say latte liberal?

Posted by: mcnyc | March 4, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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