Ted O’Dell, a former MEA employee, is sending out fundraising letters in his run for Lansing City Council. With that kind of background, you’d think he’d have plenty of lefty support. He’ll get none from me.
After Ted left the MEA, he worked to get a Lansing casino approved, and then landed with DFER. Like all foggy political operations, Democrats for Education Reform has three forms: DFER itself, a political action committee; Education Reform Now, a 501(c) 3; and Education Reform Now-Advocacy, a 501(c)4. And like pretty much all such outfits, it has a misleading name.
Education Reform Now was active in last year’s Chicago teacher strike. Their “board of directors is made up of executives at the hedge funds Hawkshaw Capital, Gotham Capital, SAC Capital and Maverick Capital. According to the Milwaukee Express, “this group of pro-privatizers is made up mainly of conservative Democrats who see an enhanced role for the free market in public education in the form of vouchers, charter schools and mayor-led districts.”
DFER is active enough to generate a DFR Watch site. As to whether DFER is is made up of phony Democrats, the California Democratic Party passed a resolution last month that specifically criticized the “so-called democratic organization (in name only) … Democrats for Education Reform” that is “funded by corporations, Republican operatives and wealthy individuals dedicated to privatization and anti-educator initiatives, and not grassroots democrats or classroom educators.”
DFER’s Michigan affiliate ranks itself with StudentsFirst, the intensely anti-union Michelle Rhee group, as well as Dick and Betsy Devos’s pro voucher group, the Great Lakes Education Project. DFER endorsed 5 candidates in the August primary last year and lost 4. Including Ted O’Dell.
Ted is on the DFER Michigan Board and serves as its treasurer. As well as Ted, their board is made up of at least a couple of other DINOs:
Harrison Blackmond, DFER Michigan State Director
DFER Michigan Board:
We all remember former Michigan House Rep. Tim Melton, who quit before his term was up to join Students First. Harrison Blackmond is another former MEA employee who joined the dark side years ago. Something he leaves off his bio.
Similarly, Ted mentions none of these connections in his campaign site bio. Particularly glaring is that his “education plan” fails to mention this part of his past. He does say that when he was a township supervisor, he managed to ignore the financial well-being of his constituents:
He was elected as a Township Supervisor in Monroe County, Michigan, where he overlooked the prosperity of the community.
Perhaps he meant “oversaw.”