ALEC, SAS, EVAAS, And Charter School Chains – Looking At The Campaign Contributions For Catherine Truitt

It is perfectly lawful to donate to a political campaign, and with the Citizens United case decision from the Supreme Court a few years back, it is now lawful for corporations to donate money through political action committees (PACs) and Super PACs.

However, while it is lawful, it doesn’t mean that some interesting ethical questions occur especially when well over two-thirds of the campaign contributions reported for the second quarter for your campaign come from donors whose actions and interests run totally antithetical of supporting public schools.

Two donors represent an out-of-state for profit charter school chain.

Two represent the private entity that controls the surreptitious algorithms that produce EVAAS scores and then calculates damaging school performance grades.

One is a recent chariman of ALEC.

One is a chancellor of an online university that received monies from the state to start up in NC. That person is also the candidate, Catherine Truitt.

Here’s one couple.

The state pays more than three million dollars annually to SAS which was co-founded and is still run by Jim Goodnight who according to Forbes Magazine is one of the top donating executives to political campaigns. In 2016 he donated much to a PAC for Jeb Bush who while in Florida instituted the school performance grade system that North Carolina uses now – the same one that utilizes EVAAS reports to measure schools (https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/blog/techflash/2015/10/forbes-sas-goodnight-among-tech-execs-for-top.html).

It also is worth looking at the fact that his wife, Ann Goodnight, is a co-founder and board member of BEST NC. When BEST NC had its 2018 legislative meeting, it brought in the toxic Michelle Rhee and her campaign for value-added measurements to discuss policy. That “closed-door” meeting was held at SAS headquarters.

The most recent principal pay schedule that garnered well-deserved criticism was spearheaded by BEST NC with legislators behind the scenes over the summer of 2018 utilizes EVAAS data.

Too much is being dictated by a private entity that is privately calculating data in a secret fashion to measure a public good and how much should be spent on that public good in a state that wants to privatize that public good.

There’s too much incestuous synergy there. 

Jonathan Hages’s Charter Schools USA is based in Ft. Lauderdale. His political contributions to politicians in North Carolina are rather numerous.

And his wife gave the maximum as well.

Below is a screen shot from followthemoney.org from last summer which tracks campaign contributions to political candidates. Here is a list of candidates who have received money from Hage in NC.

graph5
  • There’s Jerry Tillman, the former public school administrator who was a champion for opaque charter school regulation.
  • And there’s Jason Saine who loves charters as well. He was recently the national chairman of ALEC.
  • There’s Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who sits on the state school board and lambasted DPI under Dr. June Atkinson for its report on charter schools that said they were disproportionally representing populations. And he’s running for governor with a platform to drastically expand vouchers.

Oh, and look there’s Jason Saine again as a contributor.

And lastly, Truitt lists herself as a contributor.

Making sure that she hits the maximum contribution in three different ways.

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