Education advocacy groups that are fuzzy about their origins and funding seem to be trending in North Carolina.
You won't find specifics about funding or founders on the web site. Matthew Faraci of Fusion Strategies, a Raleigh PR firm, said backers want to remain anonymous because "they don't want to get hit up for donations."
If this sounds familiar, it may be because I wrote last month about Aim Higher NC, an equally vague group petitioning state lawmakers for higher teacher pay. In that case, the PR person pushing the cause, who is affiliated with the Democratic party and labor, said funders feared being targeted for retribution. And October's "Thanks to a teacher" campaign had an anonymous approach, too, though I tracked down N.C. Board of Education member John Tate as an organizer.
BestSchoolsNC's "rules of thumb," the only guide to the group's vision, are as broad and hard to argue with as the quest for great schools: Strong teachers, high standards, empowered parents and "smart, commonsense public policies." The only one that hints at an angle that anyone could take issue with is "choice, competition and accountability," which some view as buzzwords for privatization.
Colvil cited her involvement as the mother of four public school students and says she's interested in working with people regardless of political persuasion. "We're just focused on starting the conversation," she said. She did mention that BestSchoolsNC is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit -- the kind that can lobby for legislation and engage in political campaigns. So I'm guessing that conversation may get less bland before long.