I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Nobility of Reforminess

See, a teacher makes money from working in a school, so you really can't trust their motives. But a corporate education "reformer" has no financial interest, so you can trust them. At least, that's what Derrell Bradford says:
"The one really important difference is that the people we represent are the kids and the families," said Derrell Bradford, executive director of the policy arm of the group [B4K]. "I know everybody says it's all about that. We have no financial interest in public education, at all. Every other group does. I don't say that in a way that's meant to disparage anyone. We can be about pure activism because we don't have anything to gain from the success of the agenda other than that kids get better educational opportunities." 
B4K's founders are two hedge-fund managers: David Tepper, a Democrat, and Alan Fournier, a Republican. Neither had been deeply involved in education policy issues before they started the organization this year. [emphasis mine]
So, Derrell is "pure" because he doesn't have skin in the game, right?

Yeah, right:
We don't know what Derrell makes because B4K's tax forms aren't yet public, and probably won't be for another year or two; contrast that to every public school employee in NJ, whose salary is easily available over the web.

According to tax forms at Guidestar, when Derrell was Deputy Director at Excellent Education for Everyone (E3) back in 2008, he pulled down a base salary of $105,600 with some sweeteners (benefits?) thrown in. At the time, his boss was making $200K. Derrell took over the head job in late 2009; the tax returns do not show his salary for that year (?), but it's easy to imagine he got a nice bump in pay.

Of course, that's before he went on to B4K, which is throwing around a ton of money for both ads and campaign contributions. It's a well-heeled outfit; do you think Derrell's salary is now up there with the reformy big boys and girls? Given the history and the salaries of the folks above, I'd guess conservatively that he's pulling down at least four times the average teacher's salary.

And Derrell has certainly enjoyed a higher profile thanks to B4K's high-flying ways: TV, print, awards, parties...

But unlike teachers and their unions, Bradford says he doesn't "have anything to gain from the success of the agenda other than that kids get better educational opportunities." He's as selfless as Michelle Rhee.

And I don't say that in a way that's meant to disparage anyone.

ADDING: Some previous awesome reformy nobility.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." Matthew 27:3-8 ==== Now Judas says he is the only one to speak untainted by financial gain? The Catholics and the Jewish activists and the philanthropists who have labored for years on these issues UNPAID should have no voice due to the wealth of Mr. Bradford and the moneychangers? A treachery beyond belief.