Peter Greene received a notice from the Center for Education Reform, which has led the fight against public schools for almost 25 years, promising a reward to the charter school that created a video showing how great charter schools are. This was in response to John Oliver’s devastating critique of the charlatans who have profited off the deregulation of public money for nonpublic schools.

Right after the John Oliver piece appeared, the CER asked its followers to write Oliver and tweet him to tell him he was wrong. Apparently this didn’t do the job, so now it is offering a prize of $100,000 for a video showing the awesomeness of privately managed schools.

Greene writes:

I, too, would be interested to see what opportunities charters offer that wouldn’t exist without charters. Perhaps some videos will highlight charter-only perks like “getting away from Those Children” or “enjoying a constantly churning staff of underpaid unretained teachers” or “the delightful mystery of what exactly is being done with our tax dollars” or “the warm glow of knowing that we’ve helped some investors make a buck or ten” or even “the suspense of never knowing when my school might suddenly close.” Please, somebody, make that video…The “Our School Is Great” video is a common genre. Public schools all across the country make them– for free– all the time. But it’s completely in keeping with the charter school industry that, having failed to raise a groundswell of grass roots anger over the Oliver piece (which is now over a week old and yet the righteous indignation over it seems largely confined to people who make their living shilling for charters), the charter cheerleading squad must now pay somebody to stand up for them and help them fight back against this PR disaster.

When I read the CER announcement (I am on the CER mailing list), I was aghast that a school-related organization had that kind of spare money to hold a contest. The Network for Public Education certainly doesn’t. That kind of money represents a large percentage of our annual budget. It must be nice to have that kind of money. But I feel far better having the right principles, even though it doesn’t enhance our bank account. It is good to wake up every day knowing that you are on the right side of history, fighting to create better schools for all. I feel sorry for people fighting for better schools for a few kids, while sucking resources out of the schools that enroll the majority o kids. This is akin to providing 50 life vests for a ship that holds 1,500 passengers. The donor can feel proud of saving 50 lives, while ignoring the other 1,450 passengers. I want a safer ship, a well-trained pilot and crew, and life vests for all.