It seemed obvious: By offering some new kind of ‘silver bullet’ and being pushy and sort of obnoxious, the right wing education reform movement tries to capture the funds typically allotted for public education of our students. This is a terrible thing to do, and so the right wing education reformers cloak their profit-based position in language that made it seem more like they cared about children generally.
What I've learned is that the folks who fund the right wing reform movement aren't just after capturing education funds for profit. They're much more interested in pushing a fringe, right wing agenda on our youth.
According to Jane Mayer, in her brilliant new book Dark Money, these fake reformers are funded for a much more insidious purpose than just stealing money from our children. The fact is that a small handful of billionaires are out to to brainwash students into believing that the best system of government gives total power and total dominion to the tiniest super wealthy 0.01%.
Without indoctrination, a person might naturally believe that they should have a voice in our democracy. So now the goal of these billionaires (most of whom inherited their fortunes from their parents), is to convince school aged children to believe that they benefit greatly from the absolute elimination of restrictions on those who make more than $10,000,000 per year.
A war is being waged on our children, and it is being waged by those who have more money and more power than any one of us could know how to use.
Using their massive fortunes, a handful of extremely wealthy, extremely powerful, and extremely greedy folks are paying for graduate programs, secondary education programs, and so-called 'education reforms' through tax-exempt charitable foundations. Seventy years ago charitable foundations served to provide charity. Today they are massive, powerful, ideologically driven machines provoking a lopsided battle over so-called 'free-market' ideas with the explicit purpose of lowering the taxes and preventing regulation of the powerful companies and billionaires who fund them.
Look: the free market gives billionaires a throne. Our equal democracy is supposed to give some power back to the people.
For decades, according to Ms. Mayer, billionaires have been spending big money trying to convince folks that deregulation isn't just unlimited freedom for billionaires, but somehow also good for the rest of us. And they've succeeded in a way people wouldn't have believed just 40 years ago!
And now, it turns out, they are using their power to brainwash our children into believing the incredible falsehoods on which the right wing agenda is built. They attack teachers, they attack the middle class, they attack our very way of life and they do it under the pretense of 'making things better.'
It's a bad trick.
We must stand with teachers, and one another. We must stand against the insatiable greed of the 0.01%.
We must take back our government and stop the indoctrination.
Two excerpts from Dark Money:
--- At the Bradley Foundation, (Michael) Joyce had a freer hand. “He basically invented the field of modern conservative philanthropy,” according to Piereson. During the next fifteen years, the Bradley Foundation would give away $280 million to his favorite conservative causes. It was small in comparison with older research foundations like the Ford Foundation, but unlike Ford, under Joyce’s direction Bradley regarded itself as a righteous combatant in an ideological war, giving it a single-minded focus. At least two-thirds of its grants, according to one analysis, financed conservative intellectual activity. It paid for some six hundred graduate and postgraduate fellowships, right-wing think tanks, conservative journals, activists fighting Communism abroad, and its own publishing house, Encounter Books. Continuing the strategic emphasis on prestigious schools, the foundation gave both Harvard and Yale $5.5 million during its first decade under Joyce’s management. It was an activist force on the secondary-school level, too. The Bradley Foundation virtually drove the early national “school choice” movement, waging an all-out assault on teachers’ unions and traditional public schools. In an effort to “wean” Americans from government, the foundation militated for parents to be able to use public funds to send their children to private and parochial schools.
--- As for gaining adherents, Charles (Koch) suggested, their best bet was to focus on “attracting youth” because “this is the only group that is open to a radically different social philosophy.” He would act on this belief in years to come by funneling millions of dollars into educational indoctrination, with free-market curricula and even video games promoting his ideology pitched to prospects as young as grade school.