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The new crop

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Over the last few weeks, Douglas County residents have been visited by a group called DougCo Champions for Kids. Interns have been visiting homes as surveyors, handing out fliers, and soliciting donations. This group is just one of many heavily funded, interconnected groups that are part of the corporate education movement and they are in Douglas County to make sure that the reform loving, Republican School Board stays in power this fall. Since it is important to “know thy enemy”, here is a quick primer on the current crop of public education opponents.

DougCo Champions for Kids is a group that look like an organic group that wants the best for our kids, presenting themselves as survey takers who are just trying to find a way to bring the two sides together (contrary to the conversations on their Facebook pages) but DougCo Champions for Kids has ties to famous right-wing people and groups. The registered agent for DougCo Champions for Kids is the Vice President of Operations at the Independence Institute. This is the same Independence Institute that receives funding from the Koch brothers and has ties to ALEC through the State Policy Network.

DougCo Champions for Kids has paid solicitors from a group in Austin, Texas called C3 Solutions. The Colorado Secretary of State lists Benjamin Wetmore as the Vice President of C3. Wetmore is best known as James O’Keefe’s mentor. You may remember O’Keefe from when he and Hannah (Giles) Basel (dressed as a prostitute) secretly recorded their meetings with ACORN. Those recordings led to the downfall of that organization. Wetmore also housed O’Keefe and Joseph Basel in Louisiana in 2010 when O’Keefe and Basel (along with two others) were accused of trying to wiretap Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu's phones. One intern for DougCo Champions for Kids reportedly claimed that they were recruited by Joseph Basel himself from college campuses.

The Douglas County Education Alliance is also connected to the Koch brothers. They have been running television ads, robo calls, and putting fliers on doors accusing the AFL-CIO of skimming money from teacher’s paychecks and diverting it to partisan political campaigns, which is not only a lie but it is illegal. A fellow blogger found that this group is connected to Sean Noble. Sean Noble is also connected to the Koch brothers and ALEC, as he was one of the many operatives that administered a war chest in 2010 that was used to smear Democrats in targeted seats helping the Tea Party take over the House of Representatives and causing much of the congressional gridlock we find ourselves in today.

With so many groups out there, it is hard to keep track of who is who, but there are some great resources available to anyone looking for accurate information about what is going on in the district.

Douglas County Parent is a fabulous blogger who dissects the latest district shenanigans with a much-needed dose of humor.

Douglas County Parents is a new website from a "diverse group of parents, community members, and teachers of all political affiliations, ages and professions". It is an all-volunteer group that is concerned about the direction of the district and are working together to make a change in November.

The Strong Schools Coalition works to engage and inform stakeholders using factual information.

Speak for DCSD is a Facebook page that allows teachers and community members to post their concerns anonymously and without fear of retribution.

Taxpayers for Public Education* supports public education and is the community group that brought one of lawsuits against the District’s voucher program.

Our enemies and their operatives will try to tell you that groups like The Strong Schools Coalition and Taxpayers for Public Education are working for the union, but that is simply another lie designed to minimize any community uprising against the Regime. All of these groups are the real deal; home-spun, organic groups that arose in response to the destruction unleashed by the corporate reformers on our once great district.

It is important that Douglas County Democrats know who the enemy is in the war on public education. It is easy to get confused by the myriad of groups similar sounding names but don’t be fooled. Do your research and become informed about the forces behind these groups, and most importantly, vote in November!

*In the interest of transparency, Delana Mullins Maynes is the Vice-President of Taxpayers for Public Education which is not associated with any union or other outside group. You can also find a great piece called “Connecting the Dots”on the Taxpayer for Public Education site, which details more connections between ALEC, the Koch brothers and the DCSD voucher program.

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