The group's post, titled "The Struggle Continues," called the photograph a "humbling reminder of Tutor Our Children's mission."
But the group's founders weren't civil rights leaders. They were executives of top tutoring companies from around the country.
Among the board members was Chuck Young, co-founder of a Texas tutoring firm whose advisory board is chaired by Rod Paige — the U.S. education secretary who oversaw the rollout of No Child Left Behind — and whose Austin lobbyist last year was Sandy Kress, a key architect of the education reform law.
Also on the board of Tutor Our Children were top executives from Rocket Learning, the company that would spearhead industry lobbying in Tallahassee in 2012.
Together, Tutor Our Children and its founders have spent more than $2.4 million on lobbyists and campaign contributions since Obama was elected president, according to a Times analysis of data kept by the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
Today, the group still describes itself as an advocate for disadvantaged minorities.
Pines, the head of the Education Industry Association, told the Times in an interview last week, "If you look at it from a civil rights point of view, kids that benefit from SES tutoring are poor brown and black kids, for the most part. From a civil rights point of view, it kind of levels the playing field for struggling kids, no matter what their color or economic situation may be."
Pines later acknowledged that the EIA was protecting business interests when it formed Tutor Our Children — and using social justice arguments to bolster its cause.
"It's about allowing poor kids access to services that affluent kids have every day. So we sort of used a civil rights argument to make our case," Pines said. "I think it's fair for us to do that even though we're not a civil rights organization. I don't feel apologetic for that at all."
The fight in Florida
The lobbying didn't stop efforts across the country to roll back requirements of No Child Left Behind — including mandated tutoring.
In February 2012, Florida became one of the first states to win a waiver from the federal law's requirements, a development hailed by school administrators as a major step forward. No longer would the government so closely dictate how and where they spent their money.
All the arrangement needed was a state law that spelled out Florida's obligations under the deal.
The measure hit the agenda on a Thursday in the second-to-last week of the legislative session. The same day, the phone rang in the office of state Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, head of the education subcommittee responsible for the bill.
On the line was Ron LaFace Jr., a prominent lobbyist representing Rocket Learning. He wanted to talk about subsidized tutoring.
The next day, Fresen added a requirement for "supplemental educational services" to his subcommittee's education bill. The move touched off a series of intense negotiating sessions. LaFace, who wouldn't comment for this story, was involved in all of them, according to lawmakers, lobbyists and aides who took part in the discussions.
At stake was roughly $100 million in federal education money.
And with only seven days before the session ended, there was little time to bargain.
The deal was hashed out by lobbyists in the Capitol Rotunda, an open area outside the House and Senate chambers where bills often are haggled over.