“Education Reformers” spend over $2.6 million lobbying for Malloy’s “Education Reform” bill

With the end of the 2012 Legislative Session, came the final lobbying reports from the corporate-funded “Education Reform” groups.  From January through May 2012, Michelle Rhee, Patrick Riccards and the various corporate executives pushing Malloy’s education plan spent over $2.6 million in Connecticut.

Overall, the corporate reformers outspent those supporting public education by at least two to one.

Although Connecticut law requires organizations to reveal how much money they spent on lobbying, they do not have to identify where the funds came from.  The reports indicate that approximately $1 million or more came from out-of-state “reform” groups.

It was a big year for Michelle Rhee and the other anti-teacher, anti-union “education reform” advocates across the country.  After spending hundreds of millions on lobbying, these groups were able to persuade tea-bag and conservative Republican governors and legislatures to repeal collective bargaining for teachers, limited bargaining rights for others, dramatically expanded funding for charter schools or otherwise undermine what most would describe as the American public education system.

The changes proposed by Governor Malloy, and eventually adopted by the Connecticut Legislature, were the most far-reaching of any state with a Democratic governor and legislature.

Michelle Rhee, whose organization StudentsFirst, spent the most money of any group lobbying on behalf of Malloy’s legislation claims victory in Connecticut.  Rhee has repeatedly claimed that the problem facing American education is not a lack of money, despite the fact that in Connecticut, at least, the lack of sufficient resources means urban students face larger class sizes, fewer options and middle-income and working families end up paying unfairly high local property taxes.

The new lobbying reports reveal that at least two “education reform” organizations that were engaged in lobbying activities failed to file any reports this year, raising the question as to whether the Office of State Ethics has begun an investigation in ethics violations by any of the “reformers” or “reform groups.”


Lobbying Expenses January – April 2012


GNEPSA(aka StudentsFirst)


Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization in “disguise”



Patrick Riccards



Patrick Riccards

Connecticut Council for Education Reform


Rae Ann “poverty is not an issue” Knopf

Students for Education Reform


Buses and food for the 60 student rally at the State Capitol

Connecticut Association of Board of Education (CABE)


Robert Rader

CT Association of Public School Superintendents


Joseph Cirasuolo

Achievement First


Charter School Management Company formed by Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s and others

Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA)


*$487,224 was for education reform television ads.  A major chunk of the remainder was to lobby other business issues.

CT Association of Schools


CT Parents Union


Despite sponsoring the rally that Michelle Rhee attended, CT Parents Union claimed no expenditures for lobbying

Excel Bridgeport


Excel Bridgeport engaged in a variety of efforts to promote the state takeover of Bridgeport and persuade others to communicate with legislators about Malloy’s education reform” bill but they did not register to lobby.

Teach for America – CT Chapter


Teach for America -CT Chapter – Engaged in a variety of efforts to communicate with  State Department of Education Officials but did not register

  • guest

    Thanks for pointing out how perfidious Connecticut’s democrats have been this session.  They have really sold out the public school children, teachers, and parents of Connecticut.

    • Linda174

      To guest, not sure which one. The original wording in this article has changed a bit since she first posted…hmmmm. She noted in the paragraph below, but it is now gone, that BOE members were within so many feet of certain high schools for graduation and then they were unable to meet…..scattered like rats I suppose. Not sure why she revised. This was part of what I was referring to:

      The city school board on Monday tried to hold a special meeting in between the graduation ceremonies of Central and Harding High Schools. Only three members showed, along with 13 members of the public, Interim Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas and his chief academic officer, Sandy Kase.


      • guest

        How frightening.  Of course, in Windham parents are added after the fact… and often they are hand-picked to be pliant.

        It’s also nice to know that Windham has someone out there to volunteer all the schools–and that would be, Steven Adamowski, Total and Absolute Leader.  All Hail the Great Adamowski.

        • Linda174

          And his reputation is based on fraud since he is an expert at juking the stats and scamming the public. If he did such a great job, why does Hartford still need reform?

          Same with Vallas..he reformed Chicago, look at in now. He reformed New Orleans…it is a mess and he reformed Philly, which is also a disaster.

          And the lowly teacher is the lazy incompetent one.

  • Bill Morrison

    R.L. consistently argues that it is time for us to support Third Party candidates. I agree with him, given the ideological merging of the two major parties into one anti-working class party. Shall we call them Republicrats?

    • Msavage51

      I agree as well. Green party is what I’m leaning toward.

  • Linda174

    Don’t forget the Rheeject got a big donation from Bloomberg for her tv, radio and print ads. The one where the “CT teachers” from the Bridgeport charter school spoke for all of us and said they supported Malloy and SB 24.

    They never mentioned their school or their names. They were either embarrassed or coerced by their dear leader.

  • CT_Dad

    FYI – great piece by author David Macaray:

    “We need to be clear about something.  This move against the public
    schools and teachers’ unions is being orchestrated not by educational
    reformers interested in improving our schools, but by greedy
    entrepreneurs looking to privatize the whole shebang.  The prospect of
    having millions of kids leave the public schools and enroll in privates
    or for-profit charters represents a potential gold mine.

    “So the next time a person tries to tell you that it’s the unions who
    are responsible for the problems our public schools are facing, take a
    moment to set them straight.  Make it clear to them that this whole
    “union teacher vs. non-union teacher” dichotomy is a hoax.  It’s a con
    game.  Put it to them in the simplest possible terms.  We’re being
    played for suckers.”

    at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/06/20-1

    • guest

      thanks for this!

  • Guest
    • R.L.

      I was just on there and a Student’s First petition came up. 

  • Linda174

    Get ready to puke:


    Why doesn’t he look into the adminstrative bargaining unit and their salaries and perks? Look into charter schools and their management companies..compare their salaries and “adminstrative” costs.

    • Bernard11070

       It’s nice to see Patrick Riccards so interested in publicizing teachers contracts, sick days etc…I’d like to know how much this tool makes to basically recite the same 5-6 tag lines over and over to anyone who will listen….I could train a parrot to do the same for a dish of seeds instead of the 6 figures this slob pulls in….

  • Bumpercar

    How much did CEA spend?

    • Linda174

      Lots and it was our money.

  • Linda174

    Welcome to corporate “philanthropy”

    When the billionaires met up in Houston, they spent some time congratulating themselves on what they had accomplished, and then went to work outlining their strategy for the next decade. Here, then, are the goals of educational “philanthropists” over the next ten years, listed in order of priority:

    Eliminate teacher tenure and traditional teacher compensation models based on years of service and continuing education efforts.

    Create “hybrid school options”that deliver increased student learning while reducing costs. One idea tossed out in their brainstorming session was to just buy a Rosetta Stone license for a school that wanted to offer Mandarin, because it would be one less teacher they’d have to hire. Other hybrid school options include mixing online learning with in-person attendance at a brick and mortar school. Of course, that brick and mortar school would be assumed to be a charter school. One can also assume the online learning component would be provided by a for-profit educational group.

    Increase voter awareness of public education spending, practice and outcomes. Don’t be fooled into thinking that “public education education” would be at all unbiased.

    Develop a leadership pipeline on a state-by-state basis to produce “5,000 exceptionally talented, data-driven school leaders every year.” I’m not quite sure what they mean by “school leaders,” to be honest. Are they advocates for profitized education, or the disposable teacher model?

    Lots of “no-excuses” schools: Make sure every urban zip code has a “no excuses” school to hold up as a shiny example of excellence. Of course, that “no excuses school” would also be a charter school. It is of paramount importance that traditional public schools be scapegoated to encourage and convince parents to enroll their children in charter schools.

    …while congratulating themselves on their past “breakthroughs”

    Here’s what this same group sees as their most significant achievements of the past decade in the K-12 universe, ranked in order of importance:


    • guest

      You just made a hot, steamy night even more suffocating!  Thanks, Linda174.

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  • Former TFAer

    Thank you for writing about this. Teach for America (TFA) often promotes pro-corporate education reform. As a former TFAer I don’t find this information surprising. TFA CT should be investigated and lose their americorps funding (federal dollars that require an organization refrain from political involvement).