In Los Angeles, major liberal and conservative donors alike have found a cause they can all get behind: education.
Donors such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Netflix founder Reed Hastings, conservative Jerrold Perenchio, and the widow of Steve Jobs have all come together to support the Coalition for School Reform political action committee led by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. They've donating approximately $4 million to the PAC for the most recent Los Angeles Board of Education elections, The Los Angeles Times reports.
The Coalition for School Reform is pushing for publicly funded charter schools, teacher evaluations based on student test scores, limits to teacher job protection, President Barack Obama’s education agenda, and limits on collective bargaining rights for teachers.
They believe if they are able to achieve some of these reforms that the L.A. Unified School District would be a good place to send a message to the rest of the country, especially with the strong union presence there.
Some have questioned their motivations, especially for those with strong corporate ties.
Rick Hess, education analyst of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, does not fully support the reforms the donors are pushing, but says their support seems to be legitimate.
“I’ve yet to see a single convincing piece of evidence that some of the donors to education efforts are deceitful about their ‘real’ agenda,” Hess told The Los Angeles Times.
So far, the election results the group has supported have been mixed. It has both won and lost a race it was supporting, with a third ending in a runoff.
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