Crowd-sourced, grassroots fund raising has worked for everything from classroom projects to a new Veronica Mars movie, so why not edu-focused campaign donations? Democrats for Education Reform, the political action committee that was meant to help provide a counterweight to the influence of teachers’ unions on the Democratic party, has now launched a new website that makes it easier for the public to donate to DFER-backed candidates, just ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. Check it out here.
So who is the site—and DFER—throwing its weight behind, in advance of the 2014 mid-term elections?
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., a charter school champion, who could face a tough contest in Louisiana, and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., a Race to the Top fan who is expected to sail to victory, are the top featured candidates.
The organization is also backing Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, who introduced a proposal that would carve out a permanent place in legislation for the Investing in Innovation program (an Obama program that scales up promising practices at the district level).
Other DFER backed candidates include Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va. Scott isn’t in a tough race, but he’s widely expected to get the ranking member slot on the House education committee in the next Congress, a position where he can really influence the Democratic caucus. It’s noteable that Scott’s views don’t always seem to align with DFER’s—he’s been pretty skeptical of test-based accountability in the past.
And DFER is throwing its weight behind Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who has his own i3 bill and may be the biggest charter school champion in the House, and is another lawmaker likely to coast to victory. Polis wants to chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (the organization that helps elect Democrats to Congress) for the 2016 cycle, and fundraising can only help his cause. (And if Polis ultimately gets the gig, that is likely to be helpful to DFER, too since he could recruit candidates and tap donors interested in education redesign issues.)
Other congressional candidates getting the DFER seal of approval: Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., who has authored legislation on teacher evaluation, and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the assistant Democratic leader, who worked on student loan legislation. More candidates here.