This is an evolving definition. Stand for Children began in Portland, Oregon, as a grassroots organization to advocate for more funding for public schools (readers in Portland and elsewhere, correct me if I am wrong).

At some point in the past two or three years, Stand shifted priorities and discovered that it would have far greater impact if it aligned itself with the financiers behind the corporate reform movement. Their numbers are small, but their wallet is large. They want more privately managed charts, and Stand was okay with that, after all, charters provide an escape from “bad” public schools. They want teachers to serve at-will, with no job protections (after all, don’t job protections protect “bad” teachers). They want teachers to be evaluated by student test scores (after all, isn’t that a good way to identify and boot those “bad” teachers).

And until we hear a different account from Stand’s founder, Jonah Edelman, we must conclude that it is now a very well-funded arm of the corporate reform movement. Some of its original supporters in Portland removed their names. Some of its original sponsors removed their names. One, who shall remain nameless, told me that she now thinks of Stand as “Stand ON Children.”

Stand has pushed the corporate reforms–anti-public school, anti-teacher, anti-union–in several states, notably in Illinois (where they wrote a new law that was supposed to make it impossible for Chicago teachers to strike by setting a threshold of 75% approval–but CTU got a 90% approval vote), and in Massachusetts (where they threatened a ballot referendum to achieve their goals with a heavily-funded PR campaign (the union capitulated to avoid the punitive language that would have been on the ballot, as well as the costs of fighting it).

If any reader can add to this description, or contradict it with better information, let me know.

A reader comments about Stand:

You really should read past what you have been told. This is the beginning for SFC, not the ultimate goal. What happens in other states is coming to you eventually. Getting rid of seniority, job security, basic rights will all be taken away for your teachers. You will be left with a revolving door of at will temps who will focus primarily on test prep and stay at max five years and then repeat. This does not build a professional community where teaching and learning is a priority that is respected and cherished. Maybe you are the one who cannot see the forest though the trees. You really should check out SFC’s record in Masachusetts.

Best of luck to you, your children and your community. Stay informed.

Soon after agreeing to Patrick’s reforms, though, SFC broke away from the pack. Claiming that the measures weren’t bold enough — specifically, that principals, superintendents, and school boards should have more if not all power over teacher evaluations and firing — the group paid more than $300,000 to gather signatures to advance a unilateral proposal in the form of a ballot initiative. The compromise that’s likely to pass the state legislature in July is less severe in its stripping of union controls, but the fact remains that SFC is the new education power broker on Beacon Hill, and that its agenda represents the will of corporations — not the grassroots.

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