More MCAS & MEA Misinformation, #2: Michelle Fine Tries to Mislead On Source of Her Corporate Cash

The latest installment of our now-regular series (and tellingly, you only had to wait 4 days for the next installment) on the all-too-frequent lies and misinformation the MEA and their proxies in MCAS push…

Back in September, we took a look at some of the sources of funding for MCAS’s Michelle Fine:

Fine, in fact, has expressed so much concern about this “corporate” influence that she even wrote a book about it, titled “Charter Schools and the Corporate Makeover of Public Education”. At a forum last fall, Michelle Fine and her attack dogs lashed out at the Superintendent, attacking her for her associations with “corporate” things…

But a little poking around shows that standard only goes so far. See as much as Michelle Fine and her attack dogs want to complain about the “corporate mentality”, she sure does seem to love that corporate cash.

Fine runs a number of research projects, and it turns out that many of them have been funded by big, bad corporations. Notable among them banks, the most frequent target of attacks by Fine’s allies.

Well, it looks like we struck a nerve. At last night’s Board of School Estimate meeting, Fine took issue with our characterization. It was foundation funding, not corporate funding, she lectured the crowd. And that, as we all know, is a big, big, VERY IMPORTANT difference (of course, it’s not a important difference at all when it comes to, say, the Broad Foundation, which they happily attacked former-supe MacCormack for ties to, but facts would never stand in the way of a good attack for the MCAS crowd).

Just kidding. It’s actually not a difference at all – besides being a 10-letter word and not a 9-letter word.

Fine was particularly angsty about our reporting on corporate cash she got from Deutsche Bank. It’s very, very important that everyone knows it was Deutsche Bank FOUNDATION funding. Not actual money from Deutsche Bank, the corporation. Because that would be really bad and make her a real hypocrite, she essentially admitted…

The Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation administers the philanthropic activities of Deutsche Bank within the United States, Latin America and Canada. Together, the Bank’s Community Development Finance Group and Foundation carry out the firm’s corporate citizenship commitments through a program of loans, investments and grants.

Oops. Sounds like the foundation just hands out the contributions for the bank. Ya know, the corporate cash. To Michelle Fine. And her projects.

What “type of grantmaker” are they?

Company-sponsored foundation

Their 990 form – which nonprofits file – lists just one donor. Who could that be?

You guessed it – Deutsche Bank! To the tune of over $11 million in 2012. Now that’s some real corporate cash!

If the two were particularly different in any meaningful way, that would probably be news to Gary Hattem:

Gary Hattem is Managing Director of Deutsche Bank and heads its Foundation and Community Development Finance Group. He is responsible for the firm’s lending, investment and philanthropic activities targeted to disadvantaged communities and oversees the firm’s corporate citizenship activities for the Americas.

The Community Development Finance Group manages a portfolio of $600 million in loans and investments and has a long and successful history in aligning diverse capital providers to achieve social and environmental development goals. In addition to this community development focus, Mr. Hattem is the President of the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation managing its philanthropic program with grants made in the fields of education, arts and the environment, as well as community development. He also oversees the bank’s regional commitment to the fine arts.

Yep. Sounds totally different to us!

Instead of misleading and lying about this stuff, Fine should own up to the hypocrisy of the name calling and attacks she’s pushed on district officials over the past year. Or better yet, she should put a stop to them altogether. Until that happens, we’ll be here – correcting the record, bringing forward the facts, and restoring balance to the debate around our schools.  Someday, we’re hoping local media will take this on themselves, instead of just taking the word of a bunch of folks from the MEA and MCAS who have lied time and time again. But, at this point, we holding our breath.

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