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Jonathan Pelto warns that the innocent-sounding group “Students for Education Reform” is actually a front for the hedge funders’ “Democrats for Education Reform.”Not many student-led groups have a budget in excess of $7 million. DFER is one of the richest and most insidious of the privatizers. Like all reformer groups, the name is intended to confuse the public about the purpose of the organization, which is to privatize public schools, not to reform them.
Dedicated to promoting the privatization of public education, more taxpayer funds for privately owned, but publicly funded charter schools, the Common Core, the Common Core testing scheme and a host of anti-teacher initiatives, Students for Education Reform, Inc. (SFER) was created in late 2009, according to their narrative, by a couple of undergraduate students at Princeton University.
Claiming to have over 100 chapters across the country, the “student run” advocacy group has, as of late last summer, collected more than $7.3 million since its inception to fund their “education reform” activities.
According to the organization’s most recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 990 reports (2014), in addition to the $5.7 million that has flowed into SFER’s coffers as of September 1, 2014, an additional $1.6 million has been collected by a closely-related company called the SFER Action Network Inc. which appears to serve as the political arm of SFER and formed in 2013.
Although Students for Education Reform is “run” by students, the self-described “grassroots” group is governed by a Board of Directors that is made up of some of the biggest corporate executives and players associated with the Corporate Education Reform Industry.
SFER’s website reports that the present Students for Education Reform Board of Directors includes;
April Chou (Chair) – The Chief Growth Officer at the KIPP Bay Area Charter School chain.
Adam Cioth (Treasurer) – The founder of Rolling Hills Capital hedge fund and a major funder of the public school privatization movement.
Christy Chin – The Managing Director of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, the philanthropy arm of the venture capital firm, Draper Richards. The Foundation is one of SFER’s funders.
Stuart Cobert – The Deputy General Counsel at the Unilever Corporation.
Justin Cohen – The President of Mass Insight, a major Education Reform Consulting company.
Shavar Jeffries – Recently appointed President of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), Jeffries was recently the unsuccessful “education reform” candidate for Mayor of Newark, New Jersey.
Nancy Poon Lue – A Partner in the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund
And Chris Stewart, Director of Outreach and External Affairs for the Gates Foundation funded Pro-Corporate Education Reform Blog called Education Post.
Until recently the SFER Board also included acclaimed education reform financier Jonathan Sackler (Whose activities include funding the Achievement First Inc. Charter School Chain, forming ConnCAN and 50CAN and serving on the Board of The New Schools Venture Fund) and Rebecca Ledley (A member of the UP Academy Charter School Company and spouse of Charles Ledley, who serves on the Board of Directors of Education Reform Now (ERN) and its affiliate, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER.)
There is more. Open the link. Think about the (hedgefunder) Wolf in (student) Sheep clothing.