Tue
Jan 15 2013
05:39 pm

Today's City Paper reports campaign donations from Michelle Rhee's pro-voucher, pro-statewide charter authorizer PAC, StudentsFirst, to TN legislators subsequently placed on the House and Senate Education Committees, as follows:

House Education Committee (15 members)--
Rep. John DeBerry, $112,113
Rep. Kevin Brooks, $5,000
Rep. Debra Moody, $5,000
Rep. Ryan Willaims, $5,000
Rep. Dawn White, $1,500

Senate Education Committee (9 members)--
Sen. Joey Hensley, $13,500
Sen. Steve Dickerson, $11,500
Sen. Delores Gresham (Chair), $10,000
Sen. Todd Gardenhire, $1,500

Note that these StudentsFirst donations do not reflect any made in the fourth quarter of 2012, as those disclosures will not be available until later this month.

Tom Humphrey reported in Sunday's KNS that the group "has spent about $900,000 on political contributions and lobbying during just more than a year of operating within the state" (no link; see front page local section).

Meanwhile, the City Paper says TEA donated a total of $15,000 to legislators subsequently placed on the House Education Committee (including a paltry $1,000 to Rep. John DeBerry, previously purchased for $112,113 by Rhee). TEA did not donate to any legislators subsequently placed on the Senate Education Committee.

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R. Neal's picture

This must be even bigger

This must be even bigger business than we thought. I guess after health care it's the biggest public investment, not even counting defense. Money to be made, etc.

metulj's picture

What's that sucking sound?

What's that sucking sound?

R. Neal's picture

Your kids' brains?

Your kids' brains?

metulj's picture

Yup. It's going to be ugly.

Yup. It's going to be ugly.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

I guess after health care it's the biggest public investment, not even counting defense.

At the state level, it's not after healthcare, it's before healthcare. It's before anything.

For 2011-12, Education spending 42%, Health & Social Services spending 29%, every other sort of spending far less.

See pie chart, pdf page 36.

R. Neal's picture

Not counting the federal

Not counting the federal contribution to TennCare?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

No, that top pie chart doesn't appear to reflect any federal pass-thru dollars.

Looks like the two pies detail sources of state revenue (from among state taxes, I mean) and how that state revenue is spent.

What I mean to convey is that the lion's share of just our state revenue generated within the state via taxes is spent on education.

In any event, right this minute Rhee appears intent on securing some sources of state revenue for her friends owning private schools and charter management organizations (CMOs).

R. Neal's picture

What I mean to convey is that

What I mean to convey is that the lion's share of just our state revenue generated within the state via taxes is spent on education.

Thanks. That has always been my understanding.

Steve Buttry's picture

Students first exercising their rite to contribute to elections

TEA doubled down on stupid. I am not saying the people they contributed to are stupid but the TEA had opportunities to help legislators that were not going to lose and did not. These other groups in the short run were way more effective because they micro targeted D's and R's that seem reasonable on education reform and will not accept status quo.

redmondkr's picture

"Students first exercising

"Students first exercising their rite to contribute to elections"

That's funny in a thread about 'education reform'.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

TEA had opportunities to help legislators that were not going to lose and did not

I don't know that it's relevant whether or not those legislators/candidates were "likely to lose," Steve.

The question is whether TEA gave to legislators/candidates who were likely to support their (TEA's) legislative priorities.

"Doubling down on stupid" would be for TEA to have donated to a candidate who wouldn't, right?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

And really, don't you expect that StudentsFirst was "way more effective" because it solicited donations from a tight association of millionaire business owners intent on privatizing public education to their own financial benefit, rather than to have solicited donations from an association of poorly-paid schoolteachers fearful this session for their pensions, as TEA did?

Long sentence. Read slowly?

Local Citizen's picture

Teachers

A large majority of teachers do not even vote much less support a candidate. And most of those that vote will vote for candidates that have a history of not supporting public education. Blount County is a prime example. Art Swann had a long history of being against public education from his days on the County Commission. But the local educators supported him in 2010 including the BCEA President that decided to run aginst him in 2012 because "he does not support public education". How stupid. The super majority is getting ready to "gut" public education. You can count on it.

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