Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) continues to pour big money into political campaigns
Since its formation in 2006, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) has raised over $690,000 for its federal political action committee. In addition to the federal DFER PAC, the organization has formed numerous political action committees at the state level including, DFER Colorado, DFER Colorado Small Donor Committee, DFER Connecticut PAC, DFER DC Independent Expenditure Committee, DFER DC PAC, DFER Illinois PAC, DFER Illinois Independent Expenditure Committee, DFER Massachusetts Independent Expenditure PAC, DFER New Jersey PAC, DFER Louisiana PAC, DFER New York PAC, and DFER Washington State PAC.
DFER is the political action committee front for the corporate education reform movement’s Education Reform Now, Inc. (ERN), a 501(c)(3) and Education Reform Now Advocacy, Inc. (ERNA), a 501(c)(4).
DFER uses Education Reform Now and Education Reform Now Advocacy as “Dark Money” groups to funnel millions of dollars into lobbying and political campaigns on behalf of the charter school industry. In 2016, Education Reform Now Advocacy dumped nearly half a million dollars into the charter school industry’s failed effort to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in Massachusetts. As a dark money group, ERN and ERNA refuse to disclose the names of their donors.
Funded by major Wall Street executives and the education reform foundations, DFER and its related entities lobby for charter schools, the Common Core testing scheme, teacher evaluations based on scores and school vouchers. They are perhaps best known for their opposition to democratically elected boards of education. Instead they push for mayoral controlled schools.
Whitney Tilson, a co-founder of DFER, “explained the hedge funders interest in education saying that “Hedge funds are always looking for Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) continues to pour big money into political campaigns - Wait What?: