By Kelly Walters
Hundreds of educators, parents and community members attended the Fair Funding for our Schools event this week at Monroe-Woodbury High School, with serious concerns for who is making decisions when it comes to public education. The main issue for both participants of the event and audience members was – wealthy, anti-union investors are able to spend more money, and therefore have more control over policy than teachers unions.
Susan Lerner, executive director of watchdog group Common Cause, gave a presentation on her research into political spending conducted over the course of two years.
“We feel that any New Yorker should be able to understand who is spending money, what kind of money and to whom, to influence public policy,” Lerner said.
Based on the findings of the report, Common Cause has separated the opposing positions of education policy into two categories.
Privatizers are PAC’s, coalitions and individuals who advocate for education reform, and support the development of charter and private schools. These privatizers spend large amounts of money lobbying, in order to influence the education policies that will be made into laws. In 2014, 400 private individuals raised $46.1 million to influence public policy. This is the first time donations from individuals had outweighed those from unions, according to Lerner.
For the complete story see the Jan. 8 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post.