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Is AFT Trying To Influence NOLA’s School Board Races? Ethics Board Filing Reveals Formation of New AFT PAC

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A recent filing with the Louisiana Board of Ethics suggests that the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is seeking to influence the upcoming Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) elections.

On September 16th, an AFT-affiliated political action committee called Orleans Future PAC filed a statement of organization with the state ethics board. Meladie Munch, former president of the Jefferson Federation of Teachers, is listed as both chairperson and treasurer of the new PAC, although the filing was prepared by an out-of-state campaign finance consultant and the committee’s funds are held in a Montana bank account.

Strangely enough, the North Rocheblave Street address given for Orleans Future PAC is the home of this guy…

That’s Keith Hee Chung, Jr., although you may know him by his rap name, “Mr. Boss Villain” (my guess is you probably don’t). How/why Chung is connected to this endeavor is unclear, since it appears his prior political experience is limited to a few turns as an election day worker for some local campaigns.

PAC Is Part Of A Broader AFT Push

In any case, the creation of Orleans Future PAC is the latest development in a well-funded and increasingly aggressive campaign by AFT to reestablish itself in the Crescent City. AFT’s annual reports to the Department of Labor reveal that the union spent nearly $730,000 over the past two years to support organizing efforts in New Orleans charter schools.

Earlier this spring, AFT and its local affiliate, the United Teachers of New Orleans, launched surprise organizing drives at two local charters. In the past week, I’ve also learned that union organizers may be trying to initiate similar campaigns at two additional schools in the city.

Pro-union teachers talk to reporters after losing an organizing fight in May.

Pro-union teachers talk to reporters after losing an organizing fight at Lusher Charter School in May.

That being said, with only three OPSB seats up for grabs and four weeks to go until Election Day, it’s unlikely that AFT will be able to make much of an impact on the outcome of the races. Still, the union’s foray into school board politics shows that AFT is as committed as ever to rolling back the progress New Orleans has made in education over the past decade. We need to remain vigilant to ensure that doesn’t happen.


Orleans Future PAC Statement of Organization


Explore AFT’s Spending in New Orleans in F.Y. 2015 & 2016

Pete became involved in education reform as a 2002 Teach For America corps member in New Orleans Public Schools and has worked in various capacities at Teach For America, KIPP, TNTP, and the Recovery School District. As a consultant, he developed teacher evaluation systems and served as a strategic advisor to school district leaders in Cleveland, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. He now writes about education policy and politics and lives in New Orleans.

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AFT Is Now A Major Player In The Upcoming OPSB Races – PE + CO

This Article was mentioned on peterccook.com

Danielle Dreilinger

FWIW, you probably know the La. Assoc. of Public Charter Schools has also created a new PAC.

via twitter.com

Danielle Dreilinger

Thanks! I gave up on following new PAC filings b/c the site doesn’t differentiate btn new and renewed. Watching $ papers only.

via twitter.com

Brigitte Nieland

Brigitte Nieland liked this Article on facebook.com.

Brooke Duncan

Endgame is control of OPSB to then jam unions down the throats of the charters the board controls.

via facebook.com

Keith Leger

Keith Leger liked this Article on facebook.com.

Lee Barrios

Do your research better PC. Respectable Chung family might object bit.ly/2dvnduZ

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Lee Barrios

Lame attempt to discredit Chung family who also contribute to Brossett’s campaign. bit.ly/2dvnduZ

via twitter.com

Lee Barrios

I look forward to your further analysis of all contributors to these campaigns. For instance, is there money from Stand for Children or their otherwise named PACs? http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/education/2016/09/28/stand-children-charter-candidates-face-massive-fines/91239098/

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NOLA

PSA: It’s Millage Time Three School Taxes Are Up For Renewal On October 14th

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Voters in New Orleans will be heading to the polls next month for the first round of several high-profile citywide races. While the contests for mayor and various city council seats have drawn plenty of attention, three important school board millages are also on the ballot (literally at the very bottom, so don’t miss them).

The millage proposal language on an Orleans Parish sample ballot from the Louisiana Secretary of State.

The three proposals simply renew existing property taxes for another decade and will provide our city’s public schools with approximately $38 million annually. Funding from these millages will benefit both charter and traditional schools, whether they’re under the oversight of the Orleans Parish School Board or the Recovery School District. If they are not renewed, schools will receive $850 less per student each year, resulting in cuts that will negatively impact our kids.

Public schools in New Orleans have made tremendous gains over the past 12 years and the revenue generated by these taxes will help ensure that progress continues.

That’s why New Orleanians should vote YES on all three school board millage proposals when they head to the polls on October 14th.


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Charters

PSA: NAACP Charter School Hearing Tonight Don't Let Critics Distort The Story In New Orleans

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Tonight, the NAACP will be holding a hearing on charter schools at the New Orleans City Council Chambers (1300 Perdido Street) starting at 5:30pm. It will be the sixth hearing that the NAACP has held in cities across the country following their inexplicable call for a moratorium on charter schools last fall.

Flyer for tonight’s NAACP hearing.

The NAACP’s call for a moratorium has been roundly criticized by education reform advocates, as well as by the editorial board of The New York Times, which called the move “a misguided attack” by an organization that “has struggled in recent years to win over younger African-Americans, who often see the group as out of touch.” The Washington Post was even more scathing in their take on the moratorium, linking the NAACP’s recent turn against charters to the substantial financial support the group has received from the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association.

Angry charter school parents from Memphis confronted NAACP officials at their national meeting in Cincinnati last fall.

In any case, NAACP officials have apparently decided to dispense with any pretense of objectivity at tonight’s meeting by inviting a number of outspoken charter opponents to speak, including:

  • Bill Quigley, a law professor at Loyola who filed a specious civil rights complaint against a local charter network that was eventually dismissed by the Louisiana Department of Education for lack of evidence;
     
  • Walter Umrani, an anti-charter candidate for the District 4 seat on the Orleans Parish School Board who received only 13% of the vote;
     
  • Willie Zanders, the lead attorney in the class action lawsuit against the Orleans Parish School Board and State of Louisiana over the layoffs of school board employees following Hurricane Katrina that was dismissed by the Louisiana Supreme Court;
     
  • Adrienne Dixson, a former education professor from Illinois who recently compared the education landscape in New Orleans to “The Hunger Games”;


  • State Rep. Joe Bouie who has used his position on the House Education Committee to spread misinformation about charter schools and engage in obstructionism, as seen below.

Charter school supporters need to attend tonight’s NAACP hearing to ensure that the truth is heard and that the positive impact that charters have had on the children of this city is not denied.

I hope to see you there!

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