October 16, 2017

If you happen to be a political organizer these are flush times. Dark money organizations are booming in Massachusetts and they’re hiring.

What with Families for Excellent Schools receiving the death penalty for corrupt campaign practices, Stand for Children has been revived. From 2011-2013 Stand for Children was funded by Strategic Grant Partners to pursue its political goals: an anti-union ballot measure and the election of John Connolly as mayor of Boston. But SGP dropped Stand and adopted the FES brand for 2016. Now Stand for Children is back and advertising for a Massachusetts State Organizing Director:

the Statewide Director will ensure we have a solid ongoing presence in targeted locations to impact state policy decisions and elections and, where relevant, local policy decisions and elections. . . .  The State Organizing Director oversees making sure the organizing plan creates a long-term, grassroots infrastructure capable of executing direct impact, issue and electoral campaigns.

Stand’s successful candidate will “hold Organizers accountable for meeting metrics-based goals.”  Also, the “State Organizing Director will manage Statewide Organizers directly, while the Organizers manage part-time Outreach Coordinators and teams.” “Deliverables” include such things as door-to-door campaigns, GOTV, phone banking, lobby days, etc. You get the idea. It’s a political organization masquerading as an education reform group.

The position is with Stand’s 501(c)(3) version, meaning in the Upstream/Downstream flow, this is upstream money. It's supposed to be non-political. Mass Stand most recently was a brand name acquired by the SGP Big Three and Strategic Grant Partners. Since Stand for Children conducted its political activities in the exact same manner as Families for Excellent Schools, I see no reason why OCPF and the Attorney General shouldn’t conduct an investigation of Stand’s 2011-2013 campaigns.

I was sorely premature in writing Is the Crashing Sound You Hear the Collapse of the Dark Money/Charter School Industrial Complex because new pro-privatization operations are shooting up like weeds. Latinos for Education (also a 501(c)(3)) has launched in Boston and is advertising for a Director, Greater Boston Programs. Let’s look at some select biographical information for the leaders of this new organization.

Amanda Fernandez, Founder/CEO, President, Treasurer, Clerk, and Director. Teach for America.

R.D. Leyva, Program Director. Teach for America.

Tina Fernandez (Atlanta, GA), Director. Teach for America.

JoAnn Gama (Texas) Director. Teach for America.

Susan Valverde (Texas), Director. Sylvan Learning. Teach for America Volunteer Advocate.

 If you happen to be curious as to who invested over $1.5 million in Teach for America in Massachusetts since 2013, that would be Strategic Grant Partners.

 It’s a small world.

The Washington Post recently adopted a new slogan: “Democracy dies in darkness.” I agree.

[Full disclosure: as an educator in the UMass system, I am a union member. I write about dark money (and other things). I don't write about education policy.]

Strategic Grant Partners, dark money, Stand for Children, Latinos for Education

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