Campaign 2016: Can DFER Recover From A Rough Patch?
This picture, via Whitney Tilson, encapsulates those early days.
However, a new case study out today from AEI (written by me) tells how those early successes were blunted, then turned into liabilities during the last four years: how critics began labeling DFER as part of "corporate" reform efforts, how the teachers unions turned Common Core concerns into a rallying cry, and -- most disappointingly, perhaps -- DFER generally stood by as social justice issues (immigration, integration, police violence) grew in importance.
Meantime, DFER failed to create the Emily's List-style donor base that would broaden its support and free it up from charter advocates.
With the Democratic platform amended by reform critics and the Democratic convention coming up later this month, there's no better time to look at what DFER's done, what it's become, and where it might go next.
New DFER head Shavar Jeffries says that he's going to make DFER a deep part of the Democratic Party. But there's not much sign so far that DFER has changed, and from recent events it seems like he's got his work cut out for him.
Related posts: Meet DFER Head Shavar Jeffries.