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Charts: EdWeek Pyramid Of Spending Shows How Much More Unions Spend Than Reform Advocates

You might be forgiven for thinking that reform advocates (DFER, et al) outspend everyone else when it comes to campaign contributions, but this year as in other years that's generally not the case. Both sides are spending more this year than they did in 2012, but this EdWeek story/chart (image used with permission) shows the situation for 2014:

ScreenHunter_01 Oct. 23 11.02
To be sure, the unions are supporting a broad set of candidates on a broader set of issues -- and trying to help the Democrats keep the Senate -- but the conventional media narrative of massive unopposed reform largesse isn't accurate. Still not enough?  See also Teachers' Unions, Others Put Cash on Line in Senate RacesEducation-Focused Campaign Spending Crosses Party Lines.


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Also, the unions represent stakeholders -- people who are in classrooms every day. Union donations are about members pooling their money so they have some clout -- "what force on Earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one?" as the song goes. Liberals used to applaud that, but it has become fashionable to treat it as somehow corrupt.

The "reform" interests are largely outsiders -- people with no direct involvement in public schools at all -- except for charter operators and Teach for America temps.

So those distinctions are part of the story too.

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