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The Charter School Lobby


Maybe Chait will announce his support for Antonio Villaraigosa next, since all the charter school hacks are all in for his run for California governor.

Wealthy charter school supporters are pouring millions of dollars into the battle to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown, throwing their money into an independent committee to push former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ahead in a crowded field of candidates.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Wednesday gave $7 million to the committee run by the California Charter Schools Association, an increasingly powerful player in state politics. On Thursday, Los Angeles philanthropist and developer Eli Broad contributed $1.5 million to the effort.

While California law limits how much money a donor can give directly to a candidate’s campaign, they can contribute unlimited sums to independent expenditure committees on behalf of one or more candidates. The committees are forbidden from coordinating their activities, such as ad campaigns, with the campaigns and candidates that benefit.
The $8.5 million in outside money could boost Democrat Villaraigosa’s profile ahead of the June 5 primary. The former Los Angeles mayor and Assembly speaker has slipped in public opinion polls in recent months, and is now at risk of finishing in third place — behind Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and GOP businessman John Cox — and therefore missing the November runoff.

I am no Gavin Newsom fan, as he seems basically like an empty suit except for ambition, but if the charter schools are going against him, that’s a solid reason why he deserves our support, at least over Villaraigosa. The charter school scam, which has lost a lot of its bipartisan technocratic sheen since the days where liberals talked about how great Michelle Rhee was and Cory Booker brought in Mark Zuckerberg to fix his schools because they guy who runs Facebook–a company with no management problems!–knows something about education and poverty? That doesn’t mean they’ve become less entrenched, but at least more and more Democrats are seeing them for the disgusting perversion of one of our nation’s greatest legacies–free public schools–that they are.

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