Chamberlin-Backed Group to Hold Interviews for WCCUSD Election

Endorsement Interview announcement - Education Matters 2016-06-27 13-46-19

The next endorsement round for WCCUSD school board candidates looks like it will be Education Matters on July 13th. (The official filing period begins on July 18th.)

What Is Education Matters?

Steve Chamberlin is a real estate developer who has supported educational programs in the district for years. In a controversial move, he purchased the old Windrush private school site in El Cerrito and ended up allowing a charter school (Summit) to go in there.

For the 2014 election, he announced he was forming a grassroots group called Education Matters to be separate from the Chamberlin Family Foundation in promoting educational changes in WCCUSD. As part of this he created the Education Matters PAC , which spent a lot of money promoting Valerie Cuevas and Liz Block, who were elected.

In 2016, Education Matters seems to have at least some staff and a promise of a new website to come any moment now. They seem to be active in things like the What’s Possible for WCC Kids? talks. Now, they are going through a more open process for selecting who will get the institutional nod and have the benefit of Education Matters PAC spending.

The Process

I don’t know of their specific outreach efforts for this process, but if you get to the sign-up page you can read a guide to what they’re looking for in terms of:

  • “knowledge, experience, and passion”
  • Attention to subgroup gaps
  • Data-drivenness
  • Track record of working with others in the community
  • Understanding of a school board’s role
  • Fiscal responsibility

One keyword that caught my eye is “inform” in

A panel of parents, youth, educators, and community leaders will help conduct the interviews and inform our endorsement decisions.

So, this panel doesn’t really vote for who will get the nod. It’s still a decision made by staff or more probably just Steve Chamberlin.

It will be interesting to see who gets the nod. The anti-charter people have already “nominated” Tom Panas. Maybe they can find an additional person to nominate. 🙂

UPDATED 7/9/2016: My sarcasm in the above paragraph seems to have eluded some people. Suggesting that someone has been “nominated” (using the quotes even) by anti-charter people for endorsement by a charter-friendly group doesn’t mean that they actually support that person, but that they have already started attacking that person as someone who is considered in the pro-charter camp.

Footnote on Who Works at Education Matters

By scrounging in LinkedIn, I found two staff members for Education Matters

I actually see Elliot Haspel a lot on a private Facebook group for WCCUSD discussion run by………..Mister Phillips (now candidate). He spends a lot of time jousting with charter scourge, Pam Snyder.

Published by

Charley Cowens

Local resident

2 thoughts on “Chamberlin-Backed Group to Hold Interviews for WCCUSD Election”

  1. Charlie, on what basis do you make the statement that those who are concerned about the incursion of charter schools, the influx of hedge fund money into our district, and their erosion of public education (whom you refer to as “anti-charter”) would support Tom Panas?

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