Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wealthy powerful forces driving expansion of vouchers and "choice"

Betsy Devos
Two weeks ago, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) marked “a new era for education in Indiana” when he signed into law one of the most expansive school voucher laws in the country, opening up a huge fund of tax dollars for private schools. Daniels' school reform plan even received a blessing from none other than Arne Duncan.

Daniels told the WSJ he talks more with Education Secretary Arne Duncan than he did with any Bush Administration cabinet secretary during his 2001-2003 tenure at the White House. Vouchers have been unpopular with the American public. Between 1966 and 2000, vouchers were put up for a vote in states 25 times, and voters rejected the program 24 of those times. But powerful ownership society forces are driving successful voucher initiatives in several states despite their unpopularity with the voters.   
"What I want in education is almost completely aligned with what President Obama wants," Mr. Daniels says, noting the administration's support for charter schools and merit-based pay for teachers.
If one looks behind the curtain — at the foundations, non-profits, Political Action Committees (PAC) — into the workings of the voucher movement, it’s apparent why it has gained strength in recent years. A tight-knit group of right-wing millionaires and billionaires, bankers, industrialists, lobby shops, and hardcore ideologues has been plotting this war on public education, quietly setting up front group after front group to promote the idea that the only way to save public education is to destroy it — disguising their movement with the innocent-sounding moniker of “school choice.”  - Think Progress

A soon-to-be published Think Progress report identifies this list of  powerhouse voucher supporters, including:  Betsy DeVos, American Federation of Children (AFC), Alliance for School Chioice (ASC), Bill and Susan Obernborf, and The Walton Family Founcation,

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