Campaign 2012: Strange Times In California
Hey everybody, let’s pass the slim remainder of this Tuesday afternoon talking about all the strange things going on in California. That's always fun, isn't it? Sure it is. Here’s what I know:
As you may remember, most of the attention in the last couple of weeks has centered the Central Committee's opposition to former Parent Revolution spokesperson Linda Serrato being hired as the Obama spokesperson for California (and DFER's use of the word "Democratic"). But there's much more than that going on:
There's the Students Matter lawsuit, which Stephen Sawchuk just wrote about. There's today's Democratic primary, which includes two reformy races and two statewide ed reform groups. DFER and StudentsFirst have both endorsed Brian Johnson but only StudentFirst has endorsed and funded Ian Calderon, the 26 year old son of a well-connected political family (Assemblyman Charles Calderon's son aims to uphold political dynasty). On his campaign site, Calderon's opponent is throwing calling the roughly $400K from StudentsFirst "a huge influx of money from extreme right-wing activists who want to privatize our public school system."
No big surprise there, except the big money comes in relatively late, Calderon isn't known as an education reform guy, and -- strangest of all -- the teachers union (CTA) is apparently sitting out the race. Do they like him, think he doesn't have a chance, or see some other angle that I'm not seeing?
Last but not least, there might be some phantom ed reform legislation out there. StudentsFirst is usually hopped against ending LIFO more than anything else, and I've seen something that looks like draft LIFO-ending legislation. There was some kind of StudentsFirst event scheduled for LA tomorrow with Mayor Villaraigosa that sounded like it might have been to roll out some legislation, but the event's been cancelled. No LIFO-ending legislation has been introduced. It's not clear whether StudentsFirst is ready to roll in Sacramento and get something like that done, lacking a statehouse veteran to guide their efforts. But you never know, and they're known for aggressive ambitiousness.
Someone else is going to to flesh this mess out. In the meantime, what's clear to me is that there' s a lot of money flying around -- including union money -- and that the alliances among different groups and stakeholders aren't static as you might expect. That means reform groups could split when you'd think they'd be more likely to work together, and that under certain circumstances union organizations like the CTA could do what looks like helping reformers for larger considerations down the line.