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Campaign 2012: DFER's Tough Decision On MI Proposal 2

Campaign_2012State ballot initiatives in California and Michigan have created some complicated opportunities and decisions for newfangled education advocacy groups like DFER and StudentsFirst.  

In California, state DFER director Gloria Romera has enraged some union allies with her support for Proposition 32, which would limit fundraising options for organized labor. See HuffPost here.

In Michigan, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst has come out against a pro-labor amendment to the state constitution called Proposal 2, donating $500,000 to the effort. See Mlive here and Huffington Post here.

The Michigan chapter of DFER has not taken an official position on the measure, I'm told, but may soon have an decision. State DFER director Harrison Blackmond is quoted in the HuffPost article saying he's against it.

Read more inside for more on the background of these two state ballot initiatives and the advocacy group's different decisions.

It's easy to lump education reformers all into one big lump, but the reality is that they operate and act differently from each other.

One key difference seems to be that DFER often hires former state legislators to head their state operations, each with his or her own somewhat independent agenda.

StudentsFirst's stated concern in Michigan is any rollback against state laws recently passed such as ending LIFO and changes to teacher tenure.  

StudentsFirst says it supports collective bargaining in Michigan and elsewhere and that it didn't take an official position on collective bargaining in Wisconsin or Ohio. 

StudentsFirst has not come out for against CA's Proposition 32 and has supported union-backed initiatives in other places.

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