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

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Walton paying for CPS propaganda campaign on school closings

Federico Waitoller and Stephanie Farmer from CReATE, present  research on school closings at today's City Hall press conference. But can education research counter the Walton-funded propaganda campaign? (Mike Klonsky photo)

The Walton Fund, philanthropic arm of the mega-billionaire Walton family (Wal-Mart), has given CPS nearly half-a-million dollars to underwrite Rahm's pro-school-closing propaganda campaign. The $478,000 grant went to setting up the  Profits Children First Foundation, an organization created by CPS which a spokesperson confirmed was to help facilitate the “community engagement process” over the school closings.

Walton dollars were also used to set up this website with a video showing a concerned CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett bemoaning the fact that her school district is not providing "all children" with a "high quality, 21st Century education." Thousands more were spent on website ads and ads on public transportation.

CPS spokesman Dave Miranda said the spots are "educational" and "not an ad campaign," and the primary goal is to spread awareness about community meetings scheduled to discuss each closure. Rahm has basically said that none of those community meetings will have any bearing on his decision to go ahead with the largest public school closing plan in this nation's history.

The CTU calls the campaign pure "propaganda." Jackson Potter, a CTU spokesperson told DNAInfo, “It's clearly a method they're using to try and sell a highly unpopular program that will have tremendous, disruptive consequences for the most vulnerable communities in our city.”

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