A few days ago, Colorado Congressman Jared Polis called me “evil” on Twitter. He said I was doing more harm to American public education than anyone and likened me to the billionaire Koch brothers. I didn’t respond other than to say that in our first meeting, with other Democratic Congressmen, he threw my book across the table in my direction, called it trash, and demanded his money back. I later met him at a gathering at the home of Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (a great friend of education), where he was civil and we had a pleasant chat. (In that same meeting, by the way, California Congressman George Miller went into an angry pout after I said that NCLB was unsuccessful. Miller is a favorite of powerful DFER, the hedge fund managers’ group.)
Who is Jared Polis?
Jersey Jazzman revealed that Polis is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, having sold his family’s electronic greeting card company for $780 million. As the previous link shows, Polis has stepped on many toes.
Jonathan Pelto here explains that Polis is a charter school founder and zealously supports charters and high-stakes testing. Pelto says he is a quintessential corporate reformer who uses his position in Congress to push for more federal money for charters.
“As a member of the “New Democratic Coalition,” Polis has consistently pushed an agenda that is as anti-teacher, anti-union and anti-public education as any group of Democrats in the nation.
“This past summer Polis was pushing language to amend the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Authorization Act (ESEA). But rather than correct the worst elements of the bills, Polis was pushing the corporate education reformer’s agenda.
“In one release, Congressman Jared Polis bragged, “We need an entrepreneurial approach to encourage high-quality, proven models of success in education.”
“One of Polis’ proposed amendments would have required local schools “make progress towards the goal of cutting achievement gaps in half in 6 years or towards 100% proficiency, or face interventions including transformation, turnaround, restart and closure.”
To learn more about Jared Polis and his allies, read all of Pelto’s post.