The New York Times list of “well-known and polarizing figures in public education” on the board of the new advocacy group StudentsFirstNY includes: former D.C. School Superintendent Michelle Rhee; former New York School Superintendent Joel Klein (now working for Rupert Murdoch); Eva S. Moskowitz, who now runs a charter-school chain; former Mayor Ed Koch, and “venture capitalists and hedge fund managers who have served as the movement’s financial backers.”
Not mentioned was founding board member Dan Senor, who serves as Mitt Romney’s foreign policy advisor.
StudentsFirstNY’s website listed Senor, but not his connection to Romney: “Dan Senor, senior adviser, Elliott Management and adjunct senior fellow for Middle East Studies, Council on Foreign Relations.” And Senor’s board membership might have gone unnoticed had his wife—former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, whom he met in Baghdad—not written an anti-teacher-union op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal, then attacked critics who argued she should avoid topics that involve her husband.
Pro-union New Yorkers for Great Public School claims StudentsFirstNY “is aligned with the presumed Republican presidential nominee and is “advocating actions that will treat the public schools the way Romney’s Bain Capital treated companies,” according to The New York Daily News.
Plans to “Bain” New York public schools can’t be proven, but StudentsFirst will raise $10 million, according to the Times, “to neutralize the might of teachers’ unions…”
The money might be toxic. More than 30 candidates for office in New York are refusing political contributions from StudentsFirstNY.