Monday, January 11, 2016

DFER: Trust Clinton To Betray Unions

In his semi-regular email to supporters, allies, and hate-readers, Whitney Tilson led one item with this subheading:

Hillary (and Bill) have a long history of breaking with the teachers’ unions, which bodes well: 

Tilson is a leading light of DFER (Democrats for Education Reform), a group of faux Democrat, hedge fundy, union-hating, privateering reformsters. These are exactly the people who love Clinton when she's getting all Wall Street warm and corporate cozy, but who become alarmed when she starts talking crazy, like suggesting that charter schools don't actually serve all students.

But in his email, Tilson wants to re-assure everyone that Clinton can be counted on to break with unions just as soon as she's elected. Here are his historical supports:

…after Bill got elected governor four years later, many of his early boosters from labor felt betrayed. Specifically, the teachers unions were infuriated over the couple’s advocacy of an education reform proposal that mandated teacher testing. The National Education Association and its Arkansas affiliate worked against the Clintons after they backed the measure in 1983.
— Hillary’s first significant public role was heading an education commission for Bill, a precursor to her role as health care czar in his first term. The efforts she supported were heartily endorsed by the business community, including a dark-money nonprofit group funded by WalMart founder Sam Walton. (Tom and Matea Gold explored this in part one of their story on the Clinton money machine yesterday, which you can read here.)
— Hillary was booed by teachers when she showed up at education forums as Arkansas First Lady to pitch her proposal. “I believe the governor’s teacher testing bill has done inestimable damage to the Arkansas teaching profession and to the image of this state,” Peggy Nabors, the president of the Arkansas Education Assn, wrote in a 1983 letter to her members. She called it “a radical departure from what educators or the makers of standardized test themselves believe is appropriate or fair.” She added that the proposal “represents the final indignity” and closed by urging teachers to “make a contribution to political candidates who will support a more progressive education program.”

Lots of folks have suggested that Clinton can be trusted just about as far as you can throw the giant pile of money that Wall Street and corporate interests have invested in her. And I am one of them-- from where I sit, Clinton isn't any better for education than Jeb! unless you prefer to be smiled at while you're being gutted.

But it certainly tells us something about where we are and who she is that a group like DFER is out there re-assuring the money men that Clinton can be trusted to "break with" the teachers' unions, as if that's a basis for endorsing her. God, but 2016 is going to be a long year in politics.


  1. Well, this isn't something I say every day, but I'm willing to trust Tilson/DFER on this.

  2. Anthony Cody has now come out suggesting that it's time for public education advocates to get behind Bernie Sanders' candidacy. We've been waiting for him to be more specific about his K-12 policy, but besides his strong advocacy against profiteers and oligarchs and for economic policies that will help the middle class and poor, which will help our students, and his long-time pro-union stance, his remarks at the October 15 meeting of the Massachusetts Teacher Association, which Anthony transcribes, show he's connected the dots and gets it:

    "...we’ve got to fight against the privatization of public education, and I intend to do that."

    "... we will find a Secretary of Education who is much more interested in the whole child than teaching to tests."

    " order to be good teachers, in order to provide the quality care that your kids need, you need to stand up and fight, and be involved heavily in collective bargaining..."

  3. In 2012 I wrote about the DFER and Hillary certainly seems a good fit with them. She is a former Walmart board member and frequent guest of Eli Broad. Only supper red tint could make one miss the obvious and she might not ever smile while gutting us.

  4. And you can be sure that Hillary's great good friends like Citibank and Goldman Sachs know exactly what they're paying for.

    Sad that the same cannot be said for her voters.

  5. The Clintons have a long history with Eli Broad. "Will the Real Hillary Clinton Please Stand Up"

  6. Home, snowbound, and thus forced to watch Morning Joe. Today, they were discussing Bernie Sanders' strong poll numbers--ahead of Hillary in NH, tightened up in IA. What did that mean? Well--they both agreed, maybe it's time for Joe Biden (or John Kerry--or, God help us, Al Gore) to suddenly jump into the race. WHAT ABOUT BERNIE? They didn't say. It's as if the man, and his ideas, did not exist. Time for him to pull Elizabeth Warren in as his projected running mate.

    I really wrote this comment to share my favorite Whitney Tilson blog, however: