CU pulls out as sponsor of education forum
DENVER (AP) – The University of Colorado has pulled out as a sponsor of an education forum after learning the event is a fundraiser for a new Denver political organization, it was reported Wednesday.
CU-Denver and other sponsors weren’t told that next week’s event is a fundraiser for Friends of Education, which registered as a political nonprofit on Jan. 28, the Denver Post said.
Some institutions were surprised to learn they were listed as sponsors.
Denver Public Schools board member Jeannie Kaplan and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association are among the forum’s organizers. They say the event was always planned as a fundraiser.
The Feb. 17 forum at the Auraria campus features Diane Ravitch, an education historian and former assistant U.S. secretary of education. Ravitch is the author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education.”
Other sponsors told the newspaper they weren’t told about the event’s political fundraising. They include the University of Northern Colorado, The Piton Foundation and Every Child Matters.
The Community College of Denver said it wasn’t aware its name was being used as a sponsor and requested that it be removed. Metropolitan State College of Denver was investigating who, if anyone, authorized Metro State’s sponsorship, said spokesman Tim Carroll.
“We have strict guidelines that we don’t sponsor political events,” Carroll said.
Carolyn Crowder, executive director of the teachers association, insisted that as far as she knew all organizations involved were aware of the political nature. “It’s hard to speak for everyone when it’s a committee planning this,” Crowder said.
Friends of Education President Nicolas Weiser said the group hasn’t decided what issues it will tackle but would not get involved in school board campaigns this year. He couldn’t tell the Post why the group registered under a tax code section allowing it to participate in politics.
Ravitch told the newspaper she had believed that any funds from the event would go to nonprofit education organizations.
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