Teacher-Hating Right-Wing Shill Campbell Brown Deserves All The Criticism She’s Getting

campbell brown


You may know Campbell Brown as a former anchorwoman who had regular gigs on CNN and NBC. Brown ended up leaving her job at CNN due to low ratings. Since then, she has kept herself busy writing critical op-eds about President Obama and Planned Parenthood and jumping into the education reform movement. In June 2013, Ms. Brown created the non-profit Parents Transparency Project, an ‘advocacy’ group focused on busting up teachers’ unions in New York. After the Vergara court decision in California, which effectively ended tenure for teachers and gutted the unions in that state, Brown announced a carbon copy lawsuit in New York in the hopes that the same fate would fall upon the state’s teachers.

On Tuesday, Talking Points Memo published an article by Conor P. Williams titled ‘Campbell Brown Is Getting The Same Treatment Michelle Rhee Got.’ His argument in the piece is that Brown is being treated unfairly by ‘anti-reformers.’ In his opinion, Brown is the target of the same type of ad hominem attacks that Michelle Rhee received in the subsequent years after her rise to notoriety as the head of StudentsFirst, an education reform group focused on busting unions and pushing charter schools.  (She has since abandoned this post.) Williams, who is a Senior Researcher at New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program, also feels that Brown’s political leanings (she is a registered Republican and married to Dan Senor, who worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign) shouldn’t be questioned when it comes to her true intentions for education reform.

Few issues these days bring the rhetorical heat like education. So I probably shouldn’t have been surprised to see a new attack site purporting to reveal “The Real Campbell Brown” as a right-wing mouthpiece shilling for Wall Streeters. After all, Brown is a leader in an ongoing legal fight in New York — where several lawsuits are seeking to replicate a recent California court’s decision striking down a number of the state’s teacher tenure rules (Vergara v. California).

In other words, the former CNN anchor’s support for the lawsuit established her — in the eyes of education reform’s opponents — as the “new Michelle Rhee.” Whether or not that’s the case, it’s true that Brown’s opponents are following a similar playbook to Rhee’s. Just as Rhee faced ugly rhetoric about her race and gender, Brown’s positions have already been dismissed on account of her looks. And Rhee had an anonymous, union-funded attack site of her own—Rheefirst.com.

I’m far from convinced by everything that gets done today in the name of education reform. But Rhee’s and Brown’s examples are indicative of a troubling pattern for reform opponents: anti-reformers are prone to shooting any reform messenger. Anti-reform has an ad hominem problem. In part this is because the anti-reform crowd is obsessed with who has standing to participate in education debates. Non-teachers don’t count (unless they’re Diane Ravitch). Parents’ voices are only permitted so long as they avoid direct challenges to failing schools.


Williams goes on to argue that Brown is under siege by reform opponents, and they will attempt to take her down in the same method they took down Rhee. In Williams’ opinion, it wasn’t Rhee, her positions, or her own personal shortcomings that led to her leaving the organization she founded. No, it was all based on people saying mean things about her. And that is apparently what is happening with Brown. People are being mean to her, and that just isn’t fair. The funny thing about Williams’ column is that he is arguing about the lack of substance from reform critics, yet his entire piece is amazingly substance-free.

As for Rhee, she has absolutely deserved the level of criticism that has been aimed at her and her (former) organization. She has supported policies and politicians that fly against her so-called ‘progressive’ leanings and Democratic Party registration. StudentsFirst endorsed 15 Republicans in the Michigan legislature that voted for a ‘guns in school’ bill that passed. Only after Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the bill did Rhee offer her opinion that she was for the bill being vetoed. The reform group called the sponsor of a ‘Don’t Day Gay’ bill in Tennessee their ‘Reformer of the Year.’ Just to keep the anti-gay theme going, Rhee had StudentsFirst direct $70,000 to defend Michigan State Rep. Paul Scott, a Republican, from a recall election. They did this despite Scott’s well known anti-LGBT stance, even while StudentsFirst was simultaneously supporting anti-bullying measures. Another StudentsFirst ‘Reformer of the Year,’ Georgia State Rep. Chip Rogers, sponsored three separate anti-immigration bills at the time he received the honor.

Like Rhee, Brown has secrets and skeletons in the closet that should, by all rights, be brought into the light of day if she is going to be a public advocate for education reform. Brown’s husband is on the board of StudentsFirst. While she is extremely secretive about the people and organizations that help fund her and her groups, it is widely assumed that she shares many of the same backers as StudentsFirst. Basically, a lot of Wall Street and Silicon Valley money. One of the lawyers involved in the New York lawsuit, David Boise, also happens to be on StudentsFirst’s board.

In the end, it is fair to question Brown and her reasons why she is an education reform advocate. It is also entirely fair to bring up her political affiliation, as well as those of her close associates and family. If her husband and lawyer are on the board of StudentsFirst, it seems logical to assume that there is going to be a lot of similarities between her group’s advocacy and theirs. Being that she is a Republican (don’t buy this crap about her being an Independent) who has been extremely critical of Democrats and liberal organizations, shouldn’t she have to answer for a lot of the Republican and conservative education policies and beliefs?

Seriously, the conservative platform for education has a lot of extreme ideas in it. Right-wingers support vouchers, hate science (especially evolution and anything to do with climate change), don’t want anything to do with promoting LGBT acceptance and don’t support pre-K education, among other things. Considering her conservative credentials, she should expect to face a certain amount of skepticism now that she has positioned herself as an ‘education reformer.’ Especially when she is trying to sell herself as ‘independent’ and ‘uncompromised’ in a heavily Democratic state that typically supports liberal causes.

21 Replies to “Teacher-Hating Right-Wing Shill Campbell Brown Deserves All The Criticism She’s Getting”

  1. These GOP people are losing a lot of sleep trying to make the President look bad.What will they do when he leaves office?

  2. That’s why I’m hoping for a Lesbian, Transgender, Black Atheist women for our next Democratic president.

    Just to watch their collective heads explode.

  3. You mean Dan Senor, her husband, resident neo-con is on the board to of this so call school reform?

    Right there they should get the side eye. So after screwing up Iraq he set his sights on education. What a country!!! You get rewarded for failure.

  4. “it wasn’t Rhee, her positions, or her own personal shortcomings that led to her leaving the organization she founded. No, it was all based on people saying mean things about her. And that is apparently what is happening with Brown.”

    OK, I’ll say something mean, too. I was watching some political show the other day where Brown’s hubby, Dan Senor, was a guest on the show. Did anyone else see that? Senor’s eyebrows were so perfectly waxed he looked like he was intentionally trying to look like a clown. I couldn’t believe it–but I’m sure his vanity told him he looks “super hot” with his perfectly groomed (eye treatments?) manly brows. Note: I borrowed the term “eye treatments” from “window treatments.” I didn’t know what else to call those things.

  5. It gets better. Remember the Georgia state senator who’s trying to close down an early voting site because too many black people might vote there? Yeah. That guy. Let’s talk about his ties to StudentsFirst, the organization Rhee founded.

    State Sen. Fran Millar not only thinks that having an early voting location in an area “dominated by African American shoppers and … near several large African American mega churches” would be a big problem—he’d prefer “more educated voters”—he’s also been the state Senate Education Committee chair. In that role, he lavishly praised the StudentsFirst state education report card. That report card doesn’t focus on results. It focuses only on whether state education laws conform to StudentsFirst-preferred policies—basically states are graded on whether they attack teachers and privatize education sufficiently. The National Education Policy Center labeled it bunkum. But to Millar, it was “a thoughtful, well-researched tool.

    BTW they gave him 4k

  6. When I was in my early 30’s, I had all the answers for “fixing” the Public Education system. Yep, “Privatize” it! Run it like a business. Those were the days…and I’ve come to the realization that just having been a student doth not make an Education Reform “expert”. Few people distinguish between the Administration of Education and the practical application of teaching, or “Education”. I really believe that is the first step to true reform. Focus on the Administration side first.
    As far as Campbell and Dan are concerned, their “power couple” ambitions are transparent and awkward. Neither has a sincere intention in anything they do.

  7. As always, the GOP demands the right to criticize all who disagree with their beliefs while they vehemently refuse others the same right.

    Surly, any advocate in support of the reform of any public policy understands that their motives & qualifications will always be questioned, especially if they’re public figures. Sadly, the US has been pushed so far to the right few demand that reformers of public education (or any public policy) be bipartisan & secular. It infuriates me that any funding for public education that’s not already been cut to bare bones is now being divided between public schools & charter schools the latter of which has little oversight or accountability & are nothing more than publically funded private religious schools.

    At least Rhee was a degreed educator; Brown has a degree from a Jesuit University. It’s clear that neither Brown nor the GOP care about improving public education, all they want is to get their hands on its public funds.

  8. Campbell Brown is nothing more than a republican mouthpiece who wants to gut the “Education” system of the country for fun and profit for Wall Street instead of for the benefit of the students. She does not represent the good of the general population.

  9. Campbell Brown’s husband is on the board of StudentsFirst – an anti-union lobby group started by Michelle Rhee. From 2001 to 2003, he was an investment banker at the Carlyle Group. Campbell Brown was a tv personality – they have no business in Education except to make money! Isn’t there somewhere else they can do that. Please leave the children out of your money schemes! Shame on Campbell, Andre Aggasi, Kevin Johnson, Gibbs, and the other vultures waiting to get a piece of the public money.

  10. Just waiting for the time Fox swoops her up…surprised I haven’t seen her husband on Fox, or did I miss something?

  11. this country has had it with the conservatives and the GOP. every one should know that dems have just set back to back record breaking campaign fundraising for both july and august. the most ever in both months. folks, the dems are outraising the republicans by 4 to 1, this is very bad news for the GOP. the Koch bros are spending tens of millions of dollars all over the country with negative ads. it is clearly not working and is actually having the opposite affect. enough is enough of this rightwing bullsh*t. dems are a bout to have a very successful midterm election in November. this is the just the third midterm I will be voting in and im an old man. it is extremely important we turnout and vote for democrats on November 4th. we must stop the republicans and conservatives from obstructing and sabotaging this nation beyond repair, and must stop the radical Christian and evangelical absolutist invasion that has perverted our beautiful democracy and democratic processes. vote on Novembe…

  12. Education reform? Neither Rhee nor Brown have a clue as to what’s truly needed. IF and when they do figure it out, they will not be happy. Both have done great harm to students of every age. Shameful.

  13. I just happened to sit by a teacher last week that was working on student papers. She started talking about how happy she was with common core. She said the students now build off what they have learned instead of just memorizing. If they are not on course they can go back however many steps needed and go from there. She showed me a list that allowes her to use a code that makes suggestions of material to use instead of her having to hunt down what’s needed. She was happy that teachers had helped put it together. And no it doesn’t make kids as gay as they can be.

  14. Common core is just another Reich wing boogey man to prevent the indoctrination of how they want you to non think.
    The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.

    Maximilien Robespierre

  15. I didn’t know she was a Republican. I remember when she was still with CNN, she had a little spat with Sarah Palin’s supporters.

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