Chicago election begins to draw national attention, with CTU-backed candidate Jay Travis locked in a race against a corporate reformer... DFER backs charter school fan Christian Mitchell against 'radical' Jay Travis

With 50 states and hundreds of reactionary "Democrats" still promoting corporate "school reform," charter schools, and even vouchers as part of the privatization attack on public schools, it's a rare thing for one politician from one state to get an endorsement from one of the most prominent Astroturf groups abroad in the land in 2014. But the national groups recognize that the challenge supported by the Chicago Teachers Union against two incumbent politicians is of national importance.

For more than a decade Jay Travis has been organizing against school closings and corporate school reform in Chicago, while her one-term opponent in the upcoming election for State Rep is a fan of charter schools. The Chicago Teachers Union is going all out in support of Travis, who is beginning to draw support from across the city and country.And so... The so-called "Democrats for Education Reform" (DFER) has named reactionary Chicago state representatives Christian Mitchell as its "Reformer of the Month" in its latest newsletter. Among the union busting privatization politicians across the USA, the dubious honor reminds Chicago teachers that the election pitting veteran community organizer Jay Travis against Mitchell is one of those fights. As Karen Lewis pointed out to the CTU House of Delegates at the HOD's February 5, 2014 meeting, Chicago teachers need to go all out on behalf of the two challengers facing incumbents who have long supported corporate "school reform."

Jay Travia spoke to the union's more than 500 delegates (snow and cold had kept the number down from the usual 800) on February 5, thanking the union for its support. But the struggle is just beginning.

The DFER report on why plutocrats across the USA should support Christian Mitchell in Chicago makes it clear how the DFER group pushes its party line:

Because youve already blown your other New Years resolutions

January 27, 2014

Lets not kid ourselves DFERs, most of our New Years resolutions ended two weeks ago with our first whiff of [insert favorite calorie-laden food here].

But, its not too late to set a 2014 goal that lasts more than a fortnight by donating to our January Reformer of the Month, Illinois State Rep. Christian Mitchell, as he battles for re-election.

By clicking here to donate as little as $5-$25 or as much as $500 to Rep. Mitchells campaign you can make a resolution to re-elect a DFER into office for the sake of our kids!

Christian, who was elected to the 26th district of Illinois House of Representatives in 2012, has made it a priority to improve schools, make streets safer, and create jobs. He has also led the fight for education funding reform and the replication and expansion of quality charter schools.

But, he now faces a tight race against a radical opponent working to derail his hard work. Mitchells challenger is attempting to make support for quality charters a poison pill for state legislators. So, we need your help to keep Christian in office. Click here to support him now!

Raised by a single mother who was a nurse and his grandfather, a union steelworker, Christian was inspired to devote himself to public service. Before stepping into office, he worked with Attorney General Lisa Madigan, 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns, and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, all bona fide ed reformers working to improve the lives of Illinois families.

The re-election of Rep. Mitchell will ensure the presence of a strong education champion in the Statehouse who will fight for whats best for kids for years to come. Click here to donate now!

Any contribution, large or small, will help Christian in this pivotal race. Lets start 2014 with a resolution you know you can keep. Donate here to support his efforts today!


- See more at:


February 9, 2014 at 3:02 PM

By: Susan Zupan

DFER's Preckwinkle name-dropping

The above DFER name-dropping of Preckwinkle proclaims that the DFER-darling running against Jay Travis "worked with" Preckwinkle, which could apply to multitudes of employees or other associates.

But the growing number of us who can no longer stomach identifying ourselves as democRATS, for exactly the likes of DFER, shall be watching to see if Toni Preckwinkle has anything to say about this particular race, especially with DFER dropping her name in campaign materials as one of the "bona-fide ed reformers."

Diane Ravitch uses the correct terminology: "Education Deform."

February 10, 2014 at 7:36 AM

By: Rod Estvan

If the Democrats are so bad?

Susan if the Democrat party is so bad, and I agree that it is, why should progressives believe that voting in the private party primary would serve any purpose? Ms Preckwinkle as far as I can tell supports Mitchell and they both formally support an elected school board for the City. The Democrat party is not reformable, if elected the the Illinois House of Representatives Ms Christian will have all of her committee assignment controlled by the Democrat party leadership, i.e. Speaker Madigan.

If Ms Christian wants to even get a bill called for a vote on the floor she will have to horse trade with Madigan. The simple reality is the Democrat party can't become a consistent ally of the labor movement by electing progressives, this party is controlled by money. The rich and corporations simply have more money than the labor movement can amass.

Rod Estvan

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

1 + 1 =