Former CNN and NBC News anchor Campbell Brown officially launched an online education news site on Monday as a way to "challenge the status quo" in America’s school system. The nonprofit website, The Seventy Four, derives its name from the 74 million children in the U.S. under the age of 18.
Brown said while the platform is nonpartisan, it has a perspective.
"Without question, The Seventy Four has an agenda,” she wrote in her first blog as editor-in-chief of the site. "We will fiercely challenge those forces within the education establishment who impede innovation in our schools and who protect and defend inequality and institutional failure,” she wrote.
In other words, don't expect a lot of kind words about teachers' unions.
The former journalist has developed a reputation for her union-busting agenda over the past few years. In 2013, she launched the Parents' Transparency Project, a nonprofit watchdog group that sought to illuminate how New York City handled cases involving teacher sexual misconduct. On numerous occasions, she has argued that teacher tenure is a threat to a student’s right to equal education. Another Brown group, the Partnerships for Educational Justice, helped file an ongoing lawsuit in New York that contends the state’s tenure system serves to keep ineffective teachers in the classroom.
During an interview on The Colbert Report in 2014, host Stephen Colbert facetiously asked Brown, “I am no fan of unions, but why do you have your guns out for these people?”
Brown responded that she blamed the teachers' unions for fighting efforts "to change laws that are anachronistic, that everybody thinks needs to change. It comes down to what your priorities are.”
The Seventy Four begins with an editorial staff of 13, plus seven board members. The site has a $4 million budget this year, which donors like Bloomberg Philanthropies have helped to fund, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“We are long overdue for an honest conversation about what works and what doesn’t work,” Brown said in a press release. “That’s why we started The Seventy Four, a newsroom with an unapologetic point of view that will serve as a platform for those without a voice.”
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