Friday, May 10, 2013

Private school lobbyists buying state elections all over the country. The attack on public education is in full swing.

Courtesy of Common Dreams: 

A fundamental struggle for democracy is going on behind the scenes in statehouses around the country, as a handful of wealthy individuals and foundations pour money into efforts to privatize the public schools. 

The implications are huge. But the school privatizers, and their lobbyists in the states, have so muddied the waters that the public does not get a clear picture of what is at stake. 

So it was fascinating when investigative reporter Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ripped the veil off a secretive organization and its hidden political activities by publishing a copy of the American Federation for Children's "2012 Election Impact Report." Billing itself as "the nation's voice for educational choice," the American Federation for Children pushes forward students of color as the beneficiaries of its lobbying work, but the politicians they support are not exactly heroes of the civil-rights movement. 

The report, which was clearly meant only for members and donors, outlines how the American Federation of Children pours millions of dollars into state races around the country to back candidates who support school vouchers and other measures that siphon public money private schools. 

AFC and its affiliates "spent more than $7 million in 2012 to elect candidates in states across the country," the report declares. 

"We engage in elections," the group explains, "because the political process is the first step to enacting meaningful education reform." 

In Wisconsin, the state where AFC spent the most money in 2012, the "first step to enacting meaningful educational reform" meant defending Governor Scott Walker in a recall election after his attacks on teacher's unions and his historic $1 billion in cuts to Wisconsin's public schools divided the state. It also meant ensuring Republican control of both houses of the Wisconsin legislature, so that a controversial plan to expand private-school vouchers could go forward around the state. 

Among the victories AFC lists in its report is the defeat of Democratic state senator Jessica King, who won a recall election against a state senator who supported Walker. AFC spent $325,000 to replace King with pro-voucher freshman Senator Rick Gudex, helping to return the state senate to Republican hands. Gudex, who barely won, by a margin of 590 votes, has pledged not to vote for any budget that doesn't expand school vouchers. 

Wisconsin ranked #1 in the AFC report, which tallied its political spending here at a grand total of $2,392,000. 

Dark money for TV and radio ads further obscures the school-choice issue. Often, these are ads about taxes or crime, and have nothing to do with their sponsors' actual agenda. 

Rules requiring disclose for spending on issue ads "aren't worth the paper they're written on," McCabe says, because they aren't enforced. 

"So this group can tell its members it spent all this money to support candidates and influence elections, and turn around and tell the elections board that it wasn't political spending at all." 

That's too bad, because what the American Federation for Children calls education "reform" looks, to a lot of people, like the dismantling of a state's great public school system.

This is part of the great undermining of the public school system that has been implemented by the conservatives and which includes attacks on teacher's unions, advocating home schooling, and of course the for profit schools that would turn our children's education into a capitalistic enterprise where the focus is on the profit margin rather than on the student's success.

Personally I have never as under assault as I do right now.

And the problem is that so many people are simply unaware of the concerted effort to undermine education and turn children into obedient little cogs in a machine that mass produces apathy and unimaginative pod people.

Oh, and they will be future Republican voters as well.  The worst thing for the Republican party is a nation full of intelligent, well educated, voters.

Does not exactly assure the survival of Christianity either by the way. So is it any wonder that many of these private schools are religiously themed?


  1. Anonymous10:17 AM

    I have some good news for a change! Just read where one of our Charter Schools is closing their doors in CO! Chip, chip, chip! Gotta keep after them. Maybe they weren't pushing the right branch of religion to make them happy! sad!

  2. Anonymous11:13 AM

    Yeah, and here's more foolishness from Paul Ryan, the golden boy of the Right:

    The Facts Are In and Paul Ryan Is Wrong

    Changes in the way we think about the world are not “news” in the classic sense — they occur gradually, without discrete events to signal them. But they matter. Two such developments have come together recently, both reported in the New York Times. The first is the collapse of intellectual support for the notion that immediate austerity can boost economic growth. The second is a growing consensus that health-care-cost inflation is slowing for deep structural reasons, rather than having undergone a mere temporary dip from the recession. These trends have something in common: They blow to smithereens the intellectual foundations of the Obama-era Republican policy agenda.

    During the last four years, the hoary Republican nostrums of lower taxes, spending, and regulation have cohered into a specific view of the world. Paul Ryan has been the leading figure in defining this view and persuading the entire party, almost without exception, to fall in line behind it. The Ryan worldview is that the United States is heading toward a massive debt crisis, that the crisis is driven primarily by rising health-care costs, and only his plan stands any chance of alleviating it. Ryan has expounded this view over and over:

    -- video

    It is of course unfair to judge the merits of an analysis solely by the rhetoric of its politicians; politicians have to sand off the rough and complicated edges of their ideas to appeal to a majority. The deeper expression of the Ryan worldview comes from Yuval Levin, a close adviser to Ryan, probably the most influential conservative intellectual of the Obama era (and who was recently recognized as such and granted a $250,000 Bradley Prize).

    The fullest expression of Levin’s view came in a widely cited essay he wrote for National Affairs, “Beyond the Welfare State,” which came out right about when Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and has served as their blueprint ever since. The most striking thing about the essay is its Marxian grandiloquence.


  3. Anonymous1:59 PM

    We need to talk to each other across the nation and inform folks. I have friends who could care less what is going on in our nation. They are sick of t he negative and have tuned it out on purpose. They want to live happy lives and that is how they think they can do it - ignore the negative stuff and all the media! These are the same ones that won't get out and vote too.

    Talk to your neighbors folks...we all need to reach out and communicate kindly to each other. When elections come up, we also need to be encouraging each other as to our voting rights, etc. Our votes do count!!!!

  4. Anonymous2:13 PM

    And at teh head of that attcak is the pedophile RCC. An organization that shouldn't be allowed to have ANY contact with children, but my tax (Indiana) dollars are now going to, via vouches to indoctrinate/victimize kids. FUCK YOU MITCH DANIELS (and your cheating whoring wife CHERRI) and FUCK YOU MIKE PENICE

    1. Anonymous5:14 AM

      Wow...I think I just fell in love! Indy resident here and I fortunately childfree but I still can see the dangers of these for profit schools. In my opinion there are 2 things that make a society and healthcare. If you have healthly intelligent people you have a such a strong foundation to build upon that the sky isn't the limit. And yes FUCK YOU MITCH DANIELS AND MIKE PENCE.

  5. Anonymous4:12 PM

    My MI town just voted down two school millages for the first time ever.
    One would have gone partly to revamp a closing middle school for NEW TECH, which would have chosen by lottery 100 incoming 9th graders for next fall, adding another 100 each year. It is a for-profit company that is operating in a neighboring district. The kids hate it.
    We also voted down an attempt to give every child an IPAD, in a town where most kids already own their own smart phones. K-5 do not need IPADS. They need to learn to write and read and do arithmetic without help. They need to look up things in their textbooks, not on GOOGLE. They need spelling and grammar lessons (I circle an average of 10 mistakes daily in my local paper, which hires journalism grads who can't write a compete paragraph that makes who were raised to think spelling and grammar didn't matter.)
    So I think people are wising up. Slowly. Slowly. But we need to take back our schools and our towns from the GOP, who plans to run everything precious into the ground for their profit.


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