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'Battle Continues to Grow': Affluent Education Groups Target Contested States

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The advent of the campaign marks the latest in sophisticated community organizing and fundraising efforts around school boards and classrooms. Liberal education leaders are vying to match the political momentum harnessed by conservatives who boast of their own initiatives on parental rights, school history and sex education classes. .

“Schools and education are currently embroiled in a culture war shootout,” said Heather Harding, former director of educational grant production for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, who began working as the campaign’s executive director in July. said in an interview.

“A lot of these attacks are fueled by politics,” said Harding, who has worked for Teach for America and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We want the campaign to truly be fueled by children receiving a comprehensive and meaningful education that supports their ability to thrive and thrive in a multi-ethnic democracy,” she said.

Officially a nonpartisan effort, Campaign for Our Shared Future and its separate advocacy fund have partnered with Washington, D.C.-based groups that have spent tens of millions of dollars supporting Democratic politics. Connected. Causes of the left during the 2018 midterm elections.

A chapter of the campaign was registered in early May by a nonprofit public charity called New Venture Fund and a social welfare organization called Sixteen Thirty Fund, according to city business records. The two organizations are controlled by Arabella Advisors, a firm founded by former Clinton administration appointee Eric Kessler.

This structure allows our Campaign for a Shared Future to operate without publicly disclosing donors.

“We are completely independent,” Harding said. “But at this point, let’s be honest, we don’t want to put a target behind our donors in the same way that literal white supremacists threaten educators and families.”

The group said it would reveal specific plans soon, but its extensive list of targeted states includes battlefields in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The campaign has already launched voter education efforts in school board campaigns in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Michigan and will run ads concurrently with these campaigns. The campaign is also working with Our Turn, an organization that organizes student activists, and will also train members of the Florida Student Power Network, Harding said.

“Wherever the law really prevents students from getting what they need to learn, grow and succeed, we’ll look at it,” Harding said.

“It’s clear that the battle continues to escalate,” she said. “We believe the president’s politics will continue to point schools in the crosshairs. I hope we can go wider and deeper so that public schools remain the backbone of our democracy.”