If ever there is a school reformer who does the perp walk it will be used as cause for shutting down all of reform. Charter school scandal? Shut ’em down. They are not regulated enough by our honorable elected officials, right?

Wealthy people pushing education initiatives? We must fight this oligarchy and restore democracy!

One exception: when the perp is a friend of labor.

I’m being dramatic, yes, but that’s what I get from Sean McMinn’s story in Roll Call about Chaka Fattah and the unions that continued to support him financially after he ran afoul of the law.

In June 2016, a federal jury in Philadelphia convicted Fattah of conspiracy, money laundering and of using campaign funds to pay off his son’s student loans, forcing his resignation from the House. In total, the congressman’s campaign received 15 donations from lobbyists after his indictment. He also received additional contributions in his name through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which he chaired.


The contributions that came Fattah’s way after his indictment totaled $29,000. Three organizations — the Communications Workers of America, the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, and the American Federation of Teachers — each gave Fattah $5,000 in the months after his indictment. Nine others cut checks of $1,000 or more.

Asked why the teachers gave to Fattah, a spokeswoman for the union said the congressman was a “longtime supporter of Philadelphia public schools and our members.”

Now we know the rules. It’s ok to be a crook, as long as you support public employees.

Chris Stewart is the Chief Executive Officer of Education Post, a media project of the Results in Education Foundation. He is a lifelong activist and 20-year supporter of nonprofit and education-related causes. Stewart has served as the director of outreach and external affairs for Education Post, the executive director of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), and an elected member of the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education.


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