Stand For Children Or Stand For Corporations?

Simmering discontent puts Stand for Children in hot water

Portland group hammered by criticism from volunteers, others after leader brags about political maneuvering

By Jennifer Anderson in the Portland Tribune

Pamplin Media Group, Jul 19, 2011, Updated Jul 19, 2011 (17 Reader comments)

(news photo)

Thousands of people attended a February 2009 rally on the capitol steps in Salem organized by Stand for Children. The Portland group faces heavy criticism for comments by its leader and for changes that have alienated longtime volunteers.

Tribune File Photo

Portland’s nonprofit Stand for Children, an education advocacy group with chapters in nine states, is under fire by critics this week after a video and blog post raised questions about the organization’s direction and leadership.

A now-viral video of Stand cofounder Jonah Edelman, the Portland son of national civil rights activist Marian Wright Edelman and leader of the group, was recorded at a public forum in Aspen, Colo., describing how he out-politicked a teachers’ union to get a piece of education reform legislation adopted by the Illinois Legislature. The three unions involved, in Illinois and Chicago, issued statements of “disappointment” and Edelman quickly apologized for the comments.

But the tussle opened a floodgate of scrutiny and criticism by disaffected Stand for Children volunteers, including Portland parent Susan Barrett, who wrote a critical Internet post that was published Thursday, July 14, in The Washington Post.

In her article, Barrett writes that she feels like the group has strayed from its grassroots beginnings in 1996 to pursuing the agenda of the big-money investors who now comprise Stand’s board of directors. [Read more by clicking this link]


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