Yesterday the New York Times published a bizarre editorial about remedial classes in college.


The editorial says that former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was right when he said that the students who opt out are poorly educated, and their parents are “white suburban moms” who were disappointed to discover that their children aren’t so smart after all. Duncan always liked to say that America’s children had been “dummied down,” and no one was willing to tell the unpleasant truth but him.


The Times‘ editorial said that large numbers of suburban students need remediation when they get to college. This conclusion, it said, was based on a study by an advocacy group called Education Reform Now.


The editorial referred to Education Reform Now as a “nonprofit think tank.” ERN is nonprofit but it is certainly not a think tank. ERN is the nonprofit (c3) arm of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), the organization of hedge fund managers that loves charter schools, high-stakes testing, and Common Core. It has a vested interest in saying that American public schools are failing, failing, failing so as to spur its campaign to privatize public education.


ERN sponsors “Camp Philos,” an annual affair where important political figures meet in the woods with hedge fund managers to figure out how to reform public schools that none of them ever sent their own children to. In 2014, its star education reformer was Governor Cuomo. At its 2015 meeting on Martha’s Vineyard, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was a keynote speaker, sharing his knowledge of how to reform public education by closing public schools en masse.


The staff director of ERN is Shavar Jeffries, who ran for mayor of Newark and lost to Ras Baraka. Jeffries was supported by DFER, which hired him after his loss.


Consider the board of directors. Every one of them is from Wall Street.


The authors of the report are staff members at ERN who come from public policy backgrounds.


Curiously, the editorial has a link to the words “Education Department,” but no link to the ERN policy brief.


The New York Times‘ editorial board has been a tireless advocate for the Common Core and for high-stakes testing. It has been a reliable cheerleader for the corporate reform. Its editorials show little understanding of the opt out movement or of the opposition to the Common Core standards. It is sad that the nation’s most prestigious newspaper so consistently distorts important education issues. It must be very distressing to the Times’ editorial board that the New York Board of Regents is now led by an experienced educator who does not share their zeal to tear down the nation’s public schools and abet privatization.