With three times as much to spend as the Swiftboat Diversion Team of '04, this $60,000,000 Madison Avenue campaign represents an unprecedented attempt to buy the future of American education. Besides the scary ads that are being planned to show the meltdown of public schools, there is the declared and undeclard agenda: 1) longer school year leading to year-round schools (future workers should not be getting summers off), 2) a national curriculum imposed by the Business Roundtable and Achieve, Inc., and 3) pedagogical piece work based on teacher bonus pay for choking higher test scores from children who are showing clear signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. From the New York Times:
Eli Broad and Bill Gates, two of the most important philanthropists in American public education, have pumped more than $2 billion into improving schools. But now, dissatisfied with the pace of change, they are joining forces for a $60 million foray into politics in an effort to vault education high onto the agenda of the 2008 presidential race.
Experts on campaign spending said the project would rank as one of the most expensive single-issue initiatives ever in a presidential race, dwarfing, for example, the $22.4 million that the Swift Vets and P.O.W.s for Truth group spent against Senator John Kerry in 2004, and the $7.8 million spent on advocacy that year by AARP, the lobby for older Americans.
Under the slogan “Ed in ’08,” the project, called Strong American Schools, will include television and radio advertising in battleground states, an Internet-driven appeal for volunteers and a national network of operatives in both parties.
“I have reached the conclusion as has the Gates foundation, which has done good things also, that all we’re doing is incremental,” said Mr. Broad, the billionaire who founded SunAmerica Inc. and KB Home and who has long been a prodigious donor to Democrats. “If we really want to get the job done, we have got to wake up the American people that we have got a real problem and we need real reform.”
Mr. Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, responding to questions by e-mail, wrote, “The lack of political and public will is a significant barrier to making dramatic improvements in school and student performance.”
The project will not endorse candidates — indeed, it is illegal to do so as a charitable group — but will instead focus on three main areas: a call for stronger, more consistent curriculum standards nationwide; lengthening the school day and year; and improving teacher quality through merit pay and other measures. . . .
Strong American Schools or Strong-Arming American Schools While Shipping the American Economy Offshore? The American people are not as stupid as these evil twins think.