Thursday, May 17, 2018

A few rich charter school supporters are spending millions to elect Antonio Villaraigosa as California governor

A few rich charter school supporters are spending millions to elect Antonio Villaraigosa as California governor:
A few rich charter school supporters are spending millions to elect Antonio Villaraigosa as California governor


California voters have seen a barrage of sunny television ads in recent weeks touting former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's record on finances, crime and education, aired by Families & Teachers for Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor 2018.
But the group is, in fact, largely funded by a handful of wealthy charter school supporters. Together they have spent $13.7 million in less than a month to boost Villaraigosa's chances in the June 5 primary — at a time when his fundraising and poll numbers are lagging. Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix, jump-started the group with a $7-million check, by far the largest donation to support any candidate in the election.
Their efforts are part of a broader proxy war among Democrats between teachers unions — longtime stalwarts of the party — and those who argue that the groups have failed low-income and minority schoolchildren.
Gary Borden, executive director of the California Charter Schools Assn. Advocates, which is behind the pro-Villaraigosa independent expenditure group, said it is backing Villaraigosa for his history of challenging the status quo in education as mayor of Los Angeles. While he led the city, he tried to take over its schools and blasted the influence of the teachers union in Los Angeles.
"He didn't need to do the things he did," Borden said. "Some of this goes back historically, just to how strong Antonio has been on public education and our level of confidence that that's how he will be as governor."
His group's advocacy effort has raised more than $17.1 million from 14 donors for the Families & Teachers independent expenditure committee, according to campaign finance documents filed with the secretary of state's office. Such groups cannot legally coordinate with campaigns, but can accept unlimited donations.

After Hastings, the biggest contributors are philanthropist Eli Broad and and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who each donated $2.5 million, and hedge fund manager Bill Oberndorf, who contributed $2 million.

Oberndorf is a major donor to Republican candidates and causes, and replaced Betsy DeVos as chairman of the American Federation for Children after President Trump nominated DeVos to be his education secretary.
"I have become involved in this race to ensure that low-income and minority children in our state have the same education options most Californians already enjoy who live in a community with high-quality public schools or send their children to private schools,"  Continue reading: A few rich charter school supporters are spending millions to elect Antonio Villaraigosa as California governor:



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