The plan to kill the public schools

This is the problem: the right wing has long-term, patient strategies to accomplish their goals, and lots and lots of money. Liberals are more reactive, and our donors don’t support much long-term infrastructure. Unless that changes, we’re screwed:

Right-wing think tanks have determined that school vouchers are key to eradicating public education and Dick and Betsy DeVos lead the way in execution of the well-funded plan. The money is tracked in two
extensive reports on Talk2action [1 and 2]. See DeVos video excerpt

“We need to be cautious about talking too much about these
activities,” Dick DeVos warned in a December 2002 speech at the
Heritage Foundation.

DeVos was introduced by former Secretary of
Education William Bennett and then proposed a stealth strategy for
promoting school vouchers in state legislatures. DeVos and his wife
Betsy had already spent millions promoting voucher initiatives that
were soundly rejected by voters.

Pro-privatization think tanks had concluded that vouchers were the most politically viable way to “dismantle” public schools; the DeVoses persevered. Dick DeVos introduced his 2002 Heritage Foundation audience to a covert strategy to provide “rewards or consequences” to state legislators, learning
from the activities of the Great Lake Education Project (GLEP) initiated by Betsy DeVos. Vouchers should be promoted by local “grassroots” entities and could not be “viewed as only a conservative idea.” DeVos added, “This has got to be the battle. It will not be as visible.”

Ten years later, the DeVos stealth strategy has been implemented and
is winning the voucher war in several states. As recommended to the
Heritage Foundation in 2002, the public face of the movement is
bipartisan and grass roots, and millions of dollars are poured into
media firms to reinforce that image. However, behind the scenes the movement continues to be led by the DeVoses, and the funding used to provide “rewards or consequences” for state legislators continues to be raised from a small group of mega-donors.

4 thoughts on “The plan to kill the public schools

  1. I’ve noticed, over the past few months, that talk radio around here has started using the term “government schools” exclusively when commenting on anything having to do with the public school system. “Goverment schools” sounds so much more sinister, doesn’t it? I guess this is how it starts.

  2. Great observation about the long-term strategies on the right vs. left. ‘I wanted single-payer and all I got was this lousy ban on pre-existing condition rejections’.

  3. I had the misfortune (1996) of working for a guy whose ‘real profession’ was Amway. His downline was Richard DeVos’s ‘Network’ group, very hardcore R & frankly quite creepy, especially when you listened to their motivational tapes and such. (A job I was quite pleased to quit when I could!) And you know Betsy DeVos brother is Erik ‘Blackwater’ Prince, right? Really scary people that more people should know about as part of their political power comes from most people have no idea who they are or what they have done – mercenary soldiers w/the fanatical obsession of hardcore Amway folks are the real threat to this country.

  4. I’m seeing the media being obnoxiously pretend-neutral on this, too. I keep writing the Inquirer and Daily News to point out that the school voucher plan in Pennsylvania is flat-out unconstitutional because we have what’s called a Blaine Amendment in our state Constitution. (Article III, Section 15: “No money raised for the support of the public schools of the Commonwealth shall be appropriated to or used for the support of any sectarian school.”) To a one, every reporter I’ve tried (and admittedly, none of ’em have been Will Bunch) they’ve responded with “well, people have differing opinions on that…” Yes. People have differing opinions on that. Some people have the opinion that the Earth is flat. It doesn’t mean you have to find them every time you publish an article about astronauts orbiting the Earth.

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