Among their key findings are:
- The Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair Michael Grebe has underwritten a massive pro-privatization propaganda campaign.
- Bradley has spent over $31 million since 2001 supporting organizations promoting education privatization, academics providing favorable pro-privatization pseudo-science, media personalities promoting the privatization agenda and lobbying organizations advocating for privatization legislation.
- The Bradley-financed campaign has manufactured an education “crisis”, proposed a “solution”, attacked and undermined the ability of potential opponents to block their agenda and funded aggressive pro-privatization media and lobbying efforts.
- Spending on the voucher program in Gov. Walker’s 2013-15 proposed budget would increase a whopping 32%.
- The voucher program would be expanded to at least nine new urban school districts under Gov. Walker’s proposed 2013-15 budget.
- Wisconsin taxpayers will have spent $1.8 billion on the private school voucher program by 2014-15.
- These organizations will provide Gov. Walker with the right-wing education “reform” credibility he needs to pursue his national political ambitions.
But as I said, OWN did a fairly comprehensive report. Every good report will have six components: who, what, where, when, how and why.
The hit five of the six:
- Who: Bradley Foundation
- What: Promoted an education privatization agenda
- Where: In Wisconsin
- When: The report covers the last 12 years
- How: By buying politicians and false media sources (propagandists) to support education privatization
One might argue the obvious reason being that the corporate special interests, like the Bradley Foundation want to profiteer off of the billions spent on education. One would be correct to do so. In fact, this was made obvious in a report done by Barbara Miner in 1995:
Lowe and Dee point out that The Bell Curve and the Bradley Foundation share a broader ideological perspective; both posit that the social problems facing this country are not related to structural issues of poverty, declining wages, racism, and discrimination, but rest in the behavior and abilities of individuals. As Lowe says:One might also accurately argue that this is about control. By controlling education, they can control the messaging even better, brainwashing our children even before they get to be of voting age. OWN does point out that they are using this to give Scott Walker, the most anti-education governor in state history, national credibility as he pursues his presidential bid.
What The Bell Curve makes clear is that the foundation's agenda is not so much to get the government off the backs of the people, but to get the redistributive government off the backs of the well-to-do.Dee argues that The Bell Curve and the voucher movement represent an acceleration of the redistribution of wealth that began under former President Reagan:
Reagan stood Robin Hood on his head, and through tax and spending policies allowed the rich to become richer at the expense of the middle class and poor. Now we have a rationalization for it all. The rich are smart and the poor are dumb, and it's in the genes. There's nothing we can do about it but get the government out of the way and allow things to develop according to their biological destiny.
Alas, I'm afraid that there might be one more thing on their list of goals when it comes to privatization of schools. This third goal is again in Miner's article about The Bell Curve, a propaganda report on school privatization which the Bradley Foundation paid $1 million to have written:
The Bell Curve's key educational policy recommendation dovetails with the Bradley Foundation's top education priority: support for school choice, including public funds for private and religious schools. This bolsters the case of those who argue that despite the rhetoric of choice, many voucher advocates have abandoned the vision of a quality education for all children. Says Robert Lowe, associate professor at National Louis University and an editor of the journal Rethinking Schools:The reasoning for the Bradley Foundation's urging to exploit African American children could be worthy of another post. One reason might be the inherent racism that is still all too prevalent in out country.
The Bell Curve is a smoking gun. It maintains that the poor—including the majority of African Americans—are generally incapable of benefiting from education....C.J. Prentiss, an Ohio legislator (Independent/Democrat) who has been active in the African-American community opposing vouchers, also notes that voucher advocates have tried to win converts by arguing that vouchers would improve educational opportunities for the poor:
You have to be suspicious of someone who argues that on the one hand, African Americans are dumber than whites, and then, on the other, comes into the Black community and says, `We are going to make you as bright as you can be, here are some vouchers.... I believe vouchers are simply a way to dismantle public schools and use tax dollars to fund an elitist private school system. But voucher advocates know it would be suicide to say that openly.
More likely, it's the same reason that the Bradley Foundation funded the racist billboards in the last two major elections. African Americans have a greater likelihood of voting Democratic rather than Republican. Instead of doing the right thing and supporting equality for all people, regardless of race, the Bradley Foundation would rather simply make it more difficult for African Americans to vote or to have the skill of critical thinking in deciding who to vote for.
Regardless of what their rationale for attacking the education system is, the one consistent fact is that we must stop this malfeasance from spreading any further.