Now that you have a better idea of what’s going on—with facts instead of just opinions—you may want to know who some of the players are behind the privatization movement for public education in the United States.
For instance: the Koch brothers (combined net worth $72 Billion); the Walton Family (combined net worth $103 Billion), the Bill and Melinda Gates ($72 Billion); Bloomberg ($31 Billion); William Ackman, who made his wealth from hedge funds ($1.2 Billion), and Rupert Murdock ($13.4 billion) etc.
The money behind the critics of public education comes from the families and individuals listed in the previous paragraph in addition to other wealthy Americans, who have spent millions of their own money to influence voters and elected representatives regarding the privatization of public education at the state and national level.
The voices of teachers and parents must be louder than the money of billionaires!
On the other side of this issue, millions of teachers have democratically elected union leaders to speak for them, but the billionaires have done all they can—for more than thirty years—to make the teachers’ unions look bad—unions that are funded by monthly member dues.
Teachers Union Exposed.com—evidently a critic of public education—reported that over the last 20 years, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has given more than $28 million in campaign contributions [on average, $1.4 million annually]; the National Education Association (NEA) has given almost $31 million [$1.55 million annually].
But Teachers Union Exposed.com doesn’t bother to mention how much the billionaires are spending to privatize public education in the United States. To read about one billionaire’s impact on higher education, I suggest reading “The Gates Effect”.
Bill Gates has spent $5 billion in his attempt to reform public education in the US. The Wall Street Journal says, “The Gates Foundation met the same resistance that other sizeable philanthropic efforts have encountered while trying to transform dysfunctional urban school systems run by powerful labor unions and a top-down government monopoly provider.”
Do you know who owns the Wall Street Journal? Rupert Murdock (who, according to Mother Jones.com, wants to teach your kids (for a profit of course). This may explain why The Wall Street Journal claims that urban public schools are dysfunctional without any valid proof that this is true.
Do you really want Bill Gates—the man behind Microsoft and its endless software updates fixing what should have been fixed long ago—in charge of deciding how our kids learn, or having a multinational corporation [News Corp, the 2nd largest media corporation in the world] in charge of assessing kids’ reading skills?
Another example: Koch Brothers Exposed.com reported that the Koch brothers have donated more than $196 million to dozens of free-market and advocacy organizations. In 2008, the three main Koch family foundations contributed to 34 political and policy organizations, three of which they founded, and several of which they direct.
What about a few of the other billionaires?
In 2010 (not the last twenty years), the Walton family contributed almost $5 million and Bloomberg contributed almost $3 million (outspending the teacher unions by a large margin). (Seattle Post Globe.org)
In other words, what Teachers Union Exposed.com says is that if teacher unions spend some of the money that comes from millions of teachers to defend the interests of the teachers and the public schools—that are not failing—that’s wrong, but it’s okay for billionaires to attack the public schools; claim whatever they want and spend whatever they want.
Without the unions more than 3 million teachers would have no voice and we’d only hear what a few billionaires want us to believe—that our public schools are broken when the facts say this is far from the truth. There are other studies but every study, pro or con, has critics who point out flaws.
In fact, there is no definitive proof that the public schools are broken and there have been no studies to identify how many teachers are incompetent or burned out. What we have are critics of public education—mostly private-sector billionaires—who pay PR people to cherry pick facts while spending millions spreading lies and misinformation while promoting unproven programs and theories.
Return to Comparing public school performance in the United States: Part 2 or start with Part 1
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.
His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.
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