September 2012: Maryellen Butke

by DFER Reformer of the Month

As Republicans hunker down in Tampa and our team prepares for Charlotte, please don’t forget that we have a few more primary elections for state legislature ahead of us. Rhode Island’s primaries are in two weeks (on September 11th) and they include one new, monumental state senate race.

Maryellen Butke, the superstar former executive director of RI-CAN (the Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now), is running for state senate on Providence’s East Side.

RI-CAN is DFER’s best advocacy ally in Rhode Island and Maryellen is one of our most trusted partners. Under Maryellen’s leadership, RI-CAN proved instrumental in the success of Achievement First’s application to open Mayoral Academy public charter schools in Rhody.

Maryellen Butke

Maryellen is running to replace an outspoken, progressive icon who recently announced her retirement. Considering the race’s visibility, the Providence Teachers Union has decided to make the race a referendum on Achievement First. They sent out a letter to their members recently endorsing Maryellen’s opponent. In it, they said that, in her role with RI-CAN, Maryellen was “responsible for bringing Achievement First Charter Schools to Rhode Island” and that “Achievement First will drain funds from students and the Providence School Department.”

This campaign promises to be ground zero in the battle over whether education reform is part of the progressive agenda.

Maryellen is a fantastic candidate – unflappably positive and high-energy. She’s also got the right experience, having advanced education reform as a parent, a small business owner, a school manager, and a full-time advocate.

However, quickly mounting a campaign in the face of a mobilized establishment means that Maryellen needs to raise money today. Could you join us in making a contribution through Maryellen’s campaign website? Simply click here. Every $10 or $25 makes a big difference.