"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Koch Boys, Gates, Waltons, and Wall Street Lined Up in Support of Charter Expansion in Georgia and Washington

A clip from the NYTimes today:
The Georgia initiative, as well as a ballot measure in Washington State that would permit charters there for the first time, is being closely watched across the country. In both states, the measures have attracted financial support from national business leaders and advocacy groups. 

In Washington, donors supporting the charter ballot initiative include Bill and Melinda Gates; the parents of Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon; and Nicholas Hanauer, a prominent venture capitalist. Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton, has contributed to campaigns supporting the measures in both Georgia and Washington. 

Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party organization founded by the billionaire Koch brothers, has donated to a committee supporting the charter amendment in Georgia. Students First, a group run by Michelle A. Rhee, the former schools chancellor in the District of Columbia, has also contributed and is helping to organize supporters in the state. 

The roster of contributors in Georgia includes several companies that manage charter schools, including K12 Inc., Charter Schools USA and National Heritage Academies. In all, committees supporting the ballot measure have collected 15 times as much as groups opposing the measure, according to public filings.

Opponents point to such wealthy donors and argue that the charter amendment is part of a broader agenda designed to privatize education and discredit public schools. 

The heavy spending, some education experts say, could rouse the kind of opposition that exploded during the teachers’ strike in Chicago in September. The union there railed against teacher evaluations and challenges to union seniority that are advocated by some of the same groups behind the charter movement. 
Vote for public education and against the corporate takeover of our schools.  

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