Campbell Brown talks tenure on ‘Colbert’

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Campbell Brown on the Colbert Report. (Comedy Central)
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Campbell Brown, the local face of the fight against teacher tenure, visited "The Colbert Report" on Thursday night and insisted that the lawsuit she is backing to challenge tenure laws is "not about blaming teachers."

"I am fighting the teachers' union because they are fighting to prevent changing laws that are anachronistic, and that everybody thinks need to change," she told Colbert.

Brown said she brought several of the plaintiffs who filed the Wright v. New York case this week with her to the show. 

Colbert pointed out that Brown's appearance stirred an unusual amount of controversy.

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Before the taping, about a dozen protesters organized by the Alliance for Quality Education, a union-backed group, gathered outside the studio and held signs reading "Campbell Brown doesn't speak for me," and "Who funds you?" In the hours before the taping, dozens of people tweeted a variety of critical questions for Colbert to ask Brown, using the hashtag "questions4campbell."

Colbert pressed Brown about the funding for her education reform group, the Partnership for Educational Justice, but Brown declined to give details. 

When he asked for the third time about the group's funding, Brown said, "I'm not going to reveal who the donors are."

"The people who are outside today, trying to protest, trying to silence our parents who want to have a voice in this debate are going to go after the people who are funding this," Brown said, adding, "if someone wants to contribute to this cause without having to put their name on it so they become a target of the people who were outside today, I respect that."

When Colbert asked if, without tenure laws, instructors could get fired for teaching things parents don't believe in, Brown said, "that's one of the arguments the teachers' union makes, that they will lose due process rights if we change these laws. That's simply not true."

The United Federation of Teachers started its campaign against Brown's lawsuit this week, releasing data indicating that poor-performing teachers often remove themselves from the profession. 

Watch the Colbert segment here