The conservative underpinnings of Democrats for Education Reform (AZ Dems beware)


by David Safier

The group, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), is made up of Democrats who are in bed with the conservative "education reform" movement. You can find lots of information about the group and its links to the corporatization/privatization movement in an earlier post. You can also read about the three Democrats in our state legislature who are closely affiliated with the group in other posts: Rep. Mark Cardenas (LD-19), Sen. Barbara McGuire and newly appointed Sen. Carlyle Begay (LD-7). McGuire recently had the distinction of changing her vote on SB1363 — the expansion of Arizona's education savings accounts (aka Vouchers on Steroids) — at the last minute, which allowed the bill to pass.

DFER just sent out an email blast on the upcoming election for the Denver Public School Board. It's a perfect example of the group's leanings. All four candidates DFER endorses support the expansion of charter schools in the district, merit pay, and most of the conservative "education reform" agenda. One of them used to support vouchers, but she said she changed her mind. The Denver Classroom Teachers Association has come out against all four and has given its endorsement to the four candidates running against the DFER slate.

Our Democratic state legislators need to understand where their three DFER colleagues, Cardenas, McGuire and Begay, are coming from educationally, and they need to be wary when a DFER representative comes knocking at their door pushing their version of the "Democratic reform" agenda.


  1. It depends on what you mean by “work.” If you mean improving education outcomes, then no, they don’t work. But if you mean funneling public funds into private pockets then they work pretty well, thank you.

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