Rahm "Strike Is Over" Ad Paid For By Anti-Teachers Union Group

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 20, 2012 5:40PM

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If you were watching local television last night chances were good you saw this commercial featuring Mayor Rahm Emanuel praising the end of the teachers strike and promoting the gains made by Chicago Public Schools in the new deal.

If you haven’t seen the ad, we’ve included it below.

The group that paid for the ad, Education Reform Now, shelled out $1 million to blanket the ad across local airwaves, according to CBS 2’s Jay Levine. Education Reform Now is a New York-based non-profit that with offices across the country, including in Wisconsin, but none in Illinois.

The group, according to its website, “envisions an America in which every child, regardless of class or race, has the social and economic opportunities afforded by an excellent public education. Achieving this vision necessitates a powerful chorus of voices within the education policy debate advancing a true agenda of reform, and speaking up on behalf of America's children. Education Reform Now seeks to empower individuals with reliable information so that the chorus will be informed and effective.”

It also involves fighting teachers unions across the country. Education Reform Now had inserted itself in the struggle between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union for months, dating back to the union’s June strike authorization vote. CPS parents told Progress Illinois they received robo-calls in which a woman identifying herself as a “Local School Council Member” said,

“Teachers deserve a raise. But it bothers me that the union is taking a strike vote before an independent arbitrator offers a compromise.” The woman then gives parents a number to text message to let CPS and CTU know their disapproval of a strike authorization vote, and notes that Education Reform Now paid for the message.

Jake Breymaier, advocacy director for the group, issued a statement to Progress Illinois that read, “Education Reform Now is advocating for a solution that avoids a strike and does what is best for Chicago’s children.” (So we know Breymaier and Emanuel share an affinity for vague platitudes.)

Education Reform Now also placed a July radio advertising buy for a spot urging CPS and CTU to keep the longer school day proposal intact in whatever agreement they reached. That ad was produced by John Kupper of AKPD Message and Media, who was the “lead message strategist” for Emanuel’s mayoral campaign.

Education Reform Now has helped fund the Illinois branch of Democrats for Educational Reform. Angela Rudolph, Illinois Policy Director for the group, and Rebecca Nieves Huffman, the group’s State Director, said they’ve been mislabeled as anti-union.