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  • Lori Kirkpatrick

CAMPing season is just around the corner, watch out for snakes in the grass

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

The Campaign Activity Management Program, or CAMP, is the latest in a series of fellowship programs to pop up in Dallas, Texas under the guise of developing advocates for education. When we dig deeper, it turns out this program is merely an attempt by corporate Reformers to groom a new generation of privatizers, by paying them to work on behalf of their education Reform candidates. CAMP, currently in its second year, is a for-profit political training "fellows" program operated by J&C Strategies LLC, doing business as Deinde Group. Formed in October 2016 by John Hill and Charles Glover, two former Teach For America (TFA) teachers, Mr. Hill with four years of classroom experience and Mr. Glover with two years of experience. Mr. Glover morphed into a human resources expert at DISD under Reform superintendent Mike Miles, who placed him as head of HR in 2012. Some would find it shocking that Mr. Hill was a teacher at Jesuit, a private non-profit school, and Mr. Glover is now a senior program officer for the non-profit Meadows Foundation while moonlighting with a for-profit political action entity seeking to shape the Dallas ISD school board (more on Mr. Glover’s participation later). Furthermore, John Hill's teaching certificate via TFA was paid for by Dallas ISD; then he left the district after the mandatory two years for a private school, and is now profiting off of public education while promoting candidates and policies that negatively impact DISD. Maybe Dallas ISD should rethink its association with TFA given that this kind of poor return on investment with TFA is all too familiar.

CAMP relies on Dallas Kids First (DKF) PAC to pay the CAMP Fellows who then serve as direct campaign workers. Additionally, founders Hill and Glover are themselves directly paid by DKF and the Reform candidate(s). John Hill, J&C Strategies and Deinde Group were paid $29,756 by DKF PAC noted in their 2017 Texas Ethics Commission filings. Deinde Group was paid $25,398.01 by Dustin Marshall’s campaign per his 2017 reports. CAMP is a paid training program of individuals masquerading as community education advocates when in reality the fellows and founders are education Reform campaign workers hired to help elect privatization candidates to the Dallas ISD school board.

In addition to the private and charter school teachers, notice who else turns up as CAMP Fellows - former DISD Home Rule Commissioner Danae Gutierrez and former Reform supported DISD Trustee candidate, Damarcus Offord, among notable others listed here: 2016-17, 2017-18. DISD Home Rule you may remember was former DISD Trustee Mike Morath’s brainchild supported by Mayor Rawlings, to turn Dallas ISD into one big charter school, rid the district of an elected board and instead fall under the guidance of Mayor Rawlings and his education policy advisor Todd Williams.

During my DISD Trustee race, I happened upon a campaign event hosted with at least one CAMP fellow. In addition to the fellow, Marie Appel and Tamara Harrington, Associate Program Director for LeadershipISD (also a Reform training program), were present and educating the attendees on the D2 race and professing the merits of Dustin Marshall versus myself. As a non-profit is LeadershipISD's participation at this event considered unethical?

Ms. Appel is the manager of analytics for Commit, was in the LeadershipISD class of 2017, is a former TFA trained teacher (two years of classroom experience), DISD administrative employee under Mr. Glover and Mike Miles and now is in the 2017-18 CAMP Fellowship class. Commit has its tentacles in just about every aspect of corporate-backed education Reform in Dallas and across the state of Texas. The founder is Todd Williams who has founded and funded a lot of education Reform businesses, such as a Dallas charter school in 2007. He left Goldman Sachs in 2009 with his fortune and was the founding chair for Dallas/Ft. Worth TFA that same year, founded Commit in 2012, and with zero years of educator experience became the education policy advisor for Mayor Rawlings and thus Home Rule. As for Ms. Appel, Mr. Hill and Mr. Glover, why do so many TFA trained teachers leave the classroom? And why are so many of them working to privatize public education? Perhaps the better question is how many of them are profiting off of public education?

Circling back to Mr. Glover’s participation with Deinde Group, would the Meadows Foundation support this endeavor? Isn't this a conflict of interest to his duties there? No and Yes. Interestingly, on October 23, 2017 J&C Strategies filed an amendment with the Secretary of State to remove Mr. Glover as a managing member. How will Meadows ensure he isn’t still involved with and profiting from Deinde?

We can certainly expect for this year’s CAMP fellows to be out campaigning hard for their chosen school board candidates, but don’t be fooled; it isn’t about community advocacy, it is solely about the privatization of public education.

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