Campbell Brown, former CNN host, is starting a new non-profit education site called The Seventy Four which, while focusing on news, will not shy away from advocacy. The site’s goal is to provide an add-free, donation-funded portal for education news, but it will likely come under criticism early on.
Teachers unions have argued that much of her education focused philanthropy since leaving CNN has been thinly veiled union busting, which she maintains is not true. She maintains that the site will support, or criticize, unions as they see fit, depending on the issues at stake.
There are some conservative interests backing, or directly involved, with the website though. Board members include a member of News Corp’s education division, which should cause some pause for thought, as News Corp belongs to notoriously conservative Rupert Murdoch. News Corp owns, among other things, both Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, the site has significant backing from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Walton Family Foundation, Jonathan Sackler, and the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation, all of whom support charter schools as a principle way to “fix” education in the United States.
It s possible that The Seventy Four, named for the 74 million or so American children in schools, will remain bipartisan in its reporting and advocacy. The names attached to the organization so far make that seem unlikely. Working educators seem to be missing from the equation, as well as academics, or anyone from the “other side of the isle,” as it were. Bipartisanship require representatives of both parties, it’s right there in the word, and having a primarily conservative, Republican-leaning leadership does not bode well for that ideal.
The site hasn’t been launched yet, it will be up in July, and perhaps there is still more work to be done on the organization and staff. Hopefully it actually will be a force for good and for change, and not just a mouth piece for parents who want to their kids in private schools paid for with tax money.