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More $$$ For Pro-Privatization

Diane Ravitch’s posts are full of links to articles from across the country that show how those who favor privatization are spending unseemly sums to get allies elected to school boards and referenda passed that will expand their reach. Here are just a few examples:

Here’s a link to a Bridgeport CT blogger’s post detailing the six-digit corporate funding going into that city’s upcoming school board elections… including $97,000 going toward a door-to-door campaign being mounted by Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst enterprise. Woe to the PTA President who wants to run for office using yard signs!

Here’s a link to a story from the Idaho Statesman about the corporate money flowing into the Idaho Commissioner Tom Luna’s re-election campaign and the campaign to defeat a ballot initiative to throw out the “Luna Laws” that supported his views. Luna is a pro-privatization, pro-technology, anti-union Republican who effectively diverted funds for classroom teachers “merit pay” raises to buy computers. Oh… and here’s another Statesman article about a group called “Education Voters of Idaho” who raised over $600,000 to fund the campaign’s supporting Tom Luna’s education policies. The money coming into Idaho in many cases is from the same folks who are spending money in Bridgeport, CT.

An Arizona newspaper reported on a group called “Amreicans for Responsible Leadership who will be spending at least $750,000 to defeat a referendum that would dedicate a 1% sales tax increase to help fund public education. Unfortunately no one knows or will know who the contributors to this PAC are because they are not required to disclose their names… but one could guess who might be on the list.

And finally, there is this article from the San Jose Mercury News that opens with these two paragraphs:

With an unprecedented surge of cash from charter schools and their high-tech backers, normally low-profile school board campaigns have morphed into big-bucks contests to elect charter-friendly candidates and defeat their challengers.

The six-figure spending by independent committees highlights the muscle of charter proponents in Santa Clara County, where the county Board of Education is rapidly approving charter schools that compete for students and funding with established public schools.

The article goes on to report that as of October 20 a PAC raised over $200,000 to unseat a long time anti-charter school board member, Anna Song, who had raised  just over $6,000.

The biggest donors are charter school operators who generally make extensive use of technology and anti-union politicians and/or billionaires who want to drive a stake through the last of the labor unions in the country.

Don’t be fooled by the high-minded names given to these PACs. These huge contributors are not motivated by a desire to provide opportunity for all children to succeed in school… their motivation has everything to do with money. Making money for their companies in some instances and saving money as taxpayers.

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