DFER Scrambles for Leverage
In previous years, the Very Deeply Thoughty reformster retreat has taken place at luxurious retreat locations. But this year the Festival of Reforminess was held in Philadelphia in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention.
That makes a certain amount of sense because Camp Philos is a project of the Democrats for Education Reform, and DFER is a project of hedge fund guys like Whitney Tilson. DFER does not adhere to some traditional Democratic positions; they have, for instance, a deep disdain for the teachers unions. And when it comes to education reform policies like charter schools, DFER is indistinguishable from the ed reform wing of the GOP.
That's not entirely a surprise. Here's what Tilson once had to say about how he decided to put the D in DFER:
The real problem, politically, was not the Republican party, it was the Democratic party. So it dawned on us, over the course of six months or a year, that it had to be an inside job. The main obstacle to education reform was moving the Democratic party, and it had to be Democrats who did it, it had to be an inside job. So that was the thesis behind the organization. And the name – and the name was critical – we get a lot of flack for the name. You know, “Why are you Democrats for education reform? That’s very exclusionary. I mean, certainly there are Republicans in favor of education reform.” And we said, “We agree.” In fact, our natural allies, in many cases, are Republicans on this crusade, but the problem is not Republicans. We don’t need to convert the Republican party to our point of view…
DFER's been having a bad couple of weeks. The first draft of the democratic platform suited them just fine, but then the final draft included some new language, language that in particular CURMUDGUCATION: DFER Scrambles for Leverage: