Democrats for Education Reform

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"Democrats for Education Reform is a political action committee supported largely by hedge fund managers favoring charter schools, merit-pay tied to test scores, high-stakes testing, school choice (including vouchers and tuition tax credits in some cases), mayoral control, and alternative teacher preparation programs." [1]


Accessed March 2011: [2]

  • Kevin Chavous (chair) – Former Washington, DC City Council member and chair of the Education Committee. Chavous was on the Obama Policy Committee during his Presidential campaign. He co-founded DFER and the Education Equity Project. Chavous is also a Board member and Distinguished Fellow at the Center for Education Reform and serves on the board of the Alliance for School Choice.
  • Anthony Davis – Anchorage Advisors (hedge fund). Formerly at Goldman Sachs. Member of Robin Hood Leadership Council. Board chair of Achievement First East New York Elementary School.
  • Charles Ledley - Highfields Capital Management. Ledley is profiled in Michael Lewis’ The Big Short. Board member/treasurer of Harlem Village Academy and Leadership Village Academy Charter Schools.
  • Sara Mead - Formerly of the Progressive Policy Institute and EdSector; now at the New America Foundation. She is a senior associate at Bellwether Education Partners.
  • John Petry – Co-founded Harlem Success Academy Charter School. Petry works for Gotham Capital, a hedge fund started by Joel Greenblatt (Greenblatt is on DFER’s Board of Advisors).
  • Whitney Tilson – Managing partner and founder of T2 Partners LLC and the Tilson Mutual Funds. Tilson was also a founding member of Teach For America. He co-founded DFER in 2007. You can read Tilson’s blog here.
  • Boykin Curry (IV) – Eagle Capital. Co-founder of Public Prep, a charter management organization.

Former Directors:

Advisory Board

Accessed March 2011: [3]

  • Joel Greenblatt – Greenblatt started Gotham Capital in 1985. Greenblatt is the Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Success Charter Network and Chair of Harlem Success Academy 1 and Harlem Success Academy 3.
  • Steve Barr – Founder and Chair Emeritus of Green Dot America.
  • Tom Vander Ark - Former head of the Gates Foundation’s domestic education program. He is currently: the President of iNACOL (International Association of K-12 Online Learning), Managing Partner of Revolution Learning, works for Vander Ark/Ratcliff, a Director for Edmodo, is on the national advisory board for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, the Founder and CEO of City Prep Academies, and is on the Board of Directors for AdvancePath Academics.
  • William Ackman – Founder of Pershing Square Capital Management, a hedge fund based in NYC.
  • Cory Booker – Mayor of Newark, N.J.
  • David Einhorn – Founder of Greenlight Capital.
  • Vincent Mai – Chairman of AEA Investors, LP.
  • Michael Novogratz – Principal and Director of Fortress Investment Group.




Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. About, Democrats for Education Reform, accessed March 31, 2011.
  2. Board, Democrats for Education Reform, accessed March 31, 2011.
  3. Advisory Board, Democrats for Education Reform, accessed March 31, 2011.