During the past week, I've seen 2 ads during PGA events from ExxonMobil's new campaign to keep corporate education reform alive: one pimping for the Rotten Core Standards and the other lying about how badly American students are in math and science . Can you imagine how bad the PR situation must be for the other members of the Billionaire Boys Club, when they have to recruit Exxon as their front man? Now if I wanted to sell an idea that required the buy-in of American parents or the citizenry in general, would I choose one of the top 5 most hated companies on Planet Earth to run my ads? Think about it.
Think, too, of what ExxonMobil could do for science education if they were not interested in putting their oil profits first, while diverting attention from the role they have played and continue to play in global warming? Or what if they put their interests in helping schools, rather than serving as a chief funder and strategizer with the "corporate bill mill," ALEC:
ExxonMobil Corporation, Private Enterprise Board member, "Chairman" level sponsor of 2011 ALEC Annual Conference ($50,000 in 2010) and member of Louisiana Host CommitteeParents might wonder, in fact, how many of those 41 billion dollars they made in profit last year that ExxonMobil gave to put a new roof on a school in Nashville, or buy new science lab equipment in Camden, or pay for some minority kids to go to college to become teachers in California? The answer: none of the above.
Their website says that the philanthropic arm, the ExxonMobil Foundation, gave $110 million to education last year. That represents .00267% of their annual profit. And every dollar of that went to reduce their 17% income tax rate, which is barely higher than Mitt Romney and way lower than a married couple making $70K, who are paying in the 25 percent bracket.
ExxonMobil also joined with the Gates, Dell, and Carnegie Foundations to put up $125 million to create the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), an org that helps put the corporate spin on science and math teacher preparation. In 2011, NMSI merged with Laying the Foundation (LTF). When you visit the LTF website, you science and math teacher aspirants are invited to get your foundations laid in a four-day training session that costs you $525. ExxonMobil is looking for donations.
So when you see the commercials that that the world's richest oil company is putting up to berate the public schools for being 25th in Math and Science on international tests, please remember that when the test scores of the 24 percent of American children living in poverty are taken out of Exxon's calculations, our public school kids are doing just fine in comparison to the rest of the world in math and science.
Meanwhile, how much of ExxonMobil's $41,000,000,000 in profit did they contribute to ending poverty in America last year, or the years before that, or how much did they put in venturing capital to invest in poor communities? Parents want to know, and so do the poor kids and their teachers who are being blamed for the poverty that the richest corporations in the world will not even acknowledge as the problem.
A few other facts about ExxonMobil, thanks to ThinkProgress: