Nate Rau of the Tennessean reports on apparent coordination between political advocacy group Stand for Children and advocates for charter schools in MNPS.
From the story:
The head of a prominent Nashville nonprofit coordinated with the well-funded political group Stand For Children to find campaign workers for four school board candidates who are friendly to charter schools, according to emails obtained by The Tennessean.
In one June 23 email, Martha O’Bryan Center President and CEO Marsha Edwards encouraged her staff members to either volunteer or work for $10 per hour to go door to door in neighborhoods to talk with voters.
The revelation comes as the campaigns for School Board seats are entering the final days.
Stand for Children previously released a puzzling list of endorsements, praising the current board for progress made while opposing many of the incumbents who brought about that progress.
The political group has also been tied to the nonprofit Nashville RISE.
As Rau’s article notes, a significant portion of Stand’s funding comes from outside Tennessee.
The emails provide further credence to earlier claims about the familiar national playbook being used by RISE, Stand, and other groups in Nashville.
Amanda Haggard wrote earlier about the spending in the School Board races:
(Jackson) Miller has brought in around $90,000, with the largest contributions coming from charter school backers like DeLoache and Trump supporter and English-only backer Lee Beaman. Stand for Children’s O’Donnell says checks are on the way from his organization and mailers have already been sent out in support of its endorsed slate. Additionally, Beacon Center board members other than Beaman have donated the maximum amount in multiple races.
According to Rau, both Edwards and O’Donnell deny any coordination.
Here’s the email chain between Edwards and O’Donnell:
From: Marsha Edwards Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2016 4:15 PM To: Everybody; J Leckrone External; Jon Driskell Cc: Marilyn Greer (MarilynGreer2@gmail.com); Daniel O’Donnell (email@example.com) Subject: FW: URGENT ‐ Volunteers needed
Hello Everyone – I am passing on an urgent need for paid canvassers this Saturday and Sunday (and beyond). Below is the Districts that are in play and the candidates that are paying for canvassing help. I believe that the pay is $10.00 an hour and you cam contact Daniel O’Donnell at firstname.lastname@example.org. for additional information. You can also just volunteer. If you haven’t done this type of work before, it is really easy. There is an short orientaon on the candidate and posions and then you are given a list of addresses. You knock and talk or you leave the informaon sheet. Somemes you have to take a note if someone wants the candidate to call them, etc. Both Peter and I have done a lot of this and it is really fun. All of these candidates are endorsed by TN Stand For Children and are candidates that want to bring more collaboraon and data driven deliberation to the School Board. They are all friendly to charters as one strategy to improving results for children. Also, Jane Meneely (#3) is working for us as an event consultant on a new event we are planning. She would be a strong school board member. I spent some me with Miranda Christy (#5) this morning and feel she would be another strong, smart , well informed and thoughtful school board member. Marsha
Marsha Edwards President and CEO Martha O’Bryan Center East End Preparatory School Explore Community School 615.254.1791 www.marthaobryan.org www.eastendprep.org www.explorecommunityschool.com
From: Daniel O’Donnell [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2016 2:27 PM
To: Marsha Edwards Subject: Re: URGENT ‐ Volunteers needed
Hey Marsha ‐ appreciate your eﬀorts with the list, just haven’t heard from anyone. We have capacity to hire MANY canvassers, which would dramatically improve our trajectory…. but very few takers.
Sent from my iPhone
On Jun 23, 2016, at 2:15 PM, Marsha Edwards <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Daniel – I have asked my College Success Team if there are college students or grads that would want to be a paid canvasser. Not sure if the tutor list helped at all. MAE Marsha Edwards
President and CEO Martha O’Bryan Center East End Preparatory School Explore Community School 615.254.1791 www.marthaobryan.org www.eastendprep.org www.explorecommunityschool.com From: Daniel O’Donnell [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2016 11:46 AM To: ‘Bill DeLoache (firstname.lastname@example.org)’; ‘email@example.com’; Brent Easley; Marsha Edwards; Shaka Mitchell; Ravi Gupta; charles friedman; Todd Dickson; John Eason; firstname.lastname@example.org; Benjamin Schumacher; ‘email@example.com’; Shani Dowell Cc: Nadira Freeman Subject: URGENT ‐ Volunteers needed
Hey everyone – Where we are sll falling well short is on volunteers. Essenally the same dozen people that were knocking doors for candidates two weeks ago are the same dozen people slated to knock doors this weekend. The only way we win any of these races is by knocking doors and talking to voters. Everything else is secondary. This is something that our opposion increasingly understands, as we see MNEA volunteers out in force for Jill, an army of moms out for Amy, etc. To put it bluntly: we are being outworked by our opponents, pung us on a losing trajectory. The good news is that we sll have me to win, we can win every race… if we show up. We are making a big push for this weekend. The incumbents will be at a board retreat, oﬀ the battleﬁeld. Next weekend is July 4th and we expect a lot of folks to be out of town. The weekend after that is the last weekend before people start vong. We’re running out of me and every single campaign needs much more support if they’re to hit voter contact goals.
I am asking you to PLEASE send emails and make calls in the next 48 hours to as wide of a network as you possibly can. Ask your friends and colleagues to show up this weekend. I’m including details for each campaign below, but call me at 615‐804‐9539 if you need anything:
JANE MENEELY – DISTRICT 3 ‐‐Meet at Jane’s house (1514 Shelton Ave) ‐‐Shis: Sat 9:30 am and 2 pm / Sun 1 pm ‐‐Yazoo beer at the end of your shi! MIRANDA CHRISTY – DISTRICT 5 ‐‐Meet at 204A Myrtle St ‐‐Shis: Sat 9:30 am, 12:30 pm, Sun 1 pm JACKSON MILLER – DISTRICT 7 ‐‐Meet at Jackson’s house (2304 10th Ave South) ‐‐Sat 8:30 am or 1:30 pm, Sun 1:30 pm THOM DRUFFEL – DISTRICT 9 ‐‐Meet at Thom’s house (613 Lamar Dr). ‐‐Three shifts: Sat 10:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 4:30 pm, Sun 2 pm
Thanks, DOD P.S. Yesterday I literally scrolled through every contact in my phone and sent 19 texts to friends that haven’t been engaged. It took 30 minutes and need 4 new volunteers. I suggest doing the same. P.P.S. We still need many, many more paid canvassers. Please also work your contacts for people who would be interested.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport