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Posts Tagged ‘public schools’

PBS Airing RW Sponsored School Privatization Propaganda

video 15:30

Thanks to an alert from the Thom Hartman radio program ( 11AM to 2PM daily) we were able to find an article at Media Matters that detailed the story of these privatization propaganda.

So let’s go to Media Matters for the story:

“Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her department have pushed for an expansion of privatized school choice programs in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2018, particularly in the form of private school vouchers. Now a propagandistic three-part documentary series called School Inc. will help DeVos in her efforts to gain public support for expanded private school choice options. The series has already aired on PBS stations in some markets and will be shown on more this month.”

< < snip >>

In addition to School Inc.’s roots in the radical, libertarian Cato Institute, education historian and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch found that the film was funded by a number of arch-conservative foundations with ties to the “dark money ATM” DonorsTrust and the Ayn Rand Institute. Ravitch has prescreened School Inc. and provided this scathing review to The Washington Post:

This program is paid propaganda. It does not search for the truth. It does not present opposing points of view. It is an advertisement for the demolition of public education and for an unregulated free market in education. PBS might have aired a program that debates these issues, but “School Inc.” does not.

Why would a public broadcast channel air a documentary that is produced by a right-wing think tank and funded by ultra-conservative donors, and that presents a single point of view without meaningful critique, all the while denigrating public education? PBS responded in part with a statement to the Post, saying, “PBS and local member stations aim to offer programs that reflect diverse viewpoints and promote civic dialogue on important topics affecting local communities.”

However, as Ravitch notes, when a documentary fails to objectively present information about a topic that may not be well understood by the general public, the result is unlikely to “promote civic dialogue.” And when major media outlets uncritically provide a platform to right-wing ideologues, they further misinform and polarize the debate around important issues such as public education.”

editor comment:
PBS is looked to as a trusted brand. One of their calling cards is their supposed objectivity. Airing a series of programs that are little more than propaganda for a single point of view badly damages that trust with the public.

National Report Detailing ALEC’s Assault On Public Schools‏

A Legislator for Every Corp.

A Legislator for Every Corp.

Iowa Featured In Report

Read the report:


Contact: Matt Sinovic, (515) 423-0530

Iowa featured in new national report detailing ALEC’s assault on public schools

Report exposes the impact right-wing corporate front group ALEC is having on public education policy across the country

DES MOINES – Today, Progress Iowa released a new report detailing the damaging influence the corporate front group ALEC has on public education policy. The report, ALEC v Kids, demonstrates the growing influence ALEC holds in Iowa and across the country, including its secretive access to elected officials and the drafting of ‘model’ education policy designed to benefit ALEC’s corporate funders which compliant lawmakers pass off as their own then push into law.

Iowa State Representative Greg Forristall is the chair of ALEC’s education “task force,” playing a key role in the policies they promote nationwide. Forristall has refused Progress Iowa’s requests to release information about the organization to the public, denying Iowans the ability to fully participate in the democratic process.

“Iowans deserve to know the close relationship between ALEC legislators and the for-profit education industrial complex,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “We continue to call on Representative Greg Forristall, national chair of the ALEC education task force, to release information about their secretive meetings where corporate lobbyists are given an equal vote with our legislators. If Forristall and other ALEC members refuse to engage their constituents in the democratic process, we will continue to educate Iowans about the assault on schoolchildren being promoted here and across the country.”

Among the key findings in ALEC v Kids:

Iowa enacted ALEC’s indirect voucher policy in 2006, a tax giveaway to defund public education and instead provide tax breaks for attending private schools

ALEC is attempting to expand charter schools across the country, including in Iowa. Governor Vilsack signed legislation in 2002 establishing a pilot program of charter schools, and although this year’s legislation did not pass, ALEC and its ally Students First appear to be gearing up for renewed legislative efforts in our state.

Bridgepoint Education, a corporate member of ALEC’s education task force, operates one of their two online universities in Iowa (Ashford University in Clinton). Bridgepoint has an abysmal track record, one of the worst of any of their competitors (84.4% of students seeking an associates degree withdraw from school).

ALEC v. Kids focuses on nine states, and analyzes the disastrous effect of ALEC’s education policy. The report details examples at the state level, specifically the negative effects of ALEC policies and the coordination between ALEC and its allies. By examining the real world effects of ALEC policies and coordination across a single issue, this report examines ALEC from a unique perspective.

Despite claims to the contrary, ALEC’s agenda is not based upon ideology, but rather upon financial rewards for its corporate funders. The resulting ALEC “model bills” that have been adopted by ALEC “task forces” have been introduced in Iowa by ALEC representatives and have amended Iowa statutes for the worse, harming everyday citizens in the process.

To read the full report, visit To read the original report on ALEC’s impact on public policy in Iowa, please visit

Privatizing Education: Not Good

I came across this video by David Sirota discussing the how and why of privatizing our education system.

The Iowa legislature recently passed some education reform measures that were proposed in the most part by Gov. Branstad. Branstad is a founder of ALEC. ALEC has as one of its basic principles to privatize all but the the very dregs of education and turn “public” schools into as much of a scary term as “public” housing. I fear that Branstad’s proposals are only the first move in a slow plot to gradually defund Iowa’s public education and shift our tax money to private companies.

Since the companies that look to take over our education system throughout America are private, there will be less input allowed by the public. Of course the for profit companies will not be forced to take those children who are at the fringes – the physically unable, the mentally unable, those who present behavior problems. Thus, what is left of “public” schools will be those selected out by the privatized system. Public schools will become a battleground.

We have a good public school system in Iowa now. I hope the recent reforms turn out well. All things can be improved. However we see the signs that the ‘education for profit’ groups have staked out Iowa as a target. We see that with the establishment of the Orwellian named “Students First” group in Iowa. We also know that they and others like them have a friend in the governor’s mansion in Terry Branstad.

I am still a believer that the public school system is one of the greatest and fairest systems ever built. Just look around you and it is obvious that it is capable of training citizens who can accomplish great things. Replacing such a public held system with a system built to profit only a few seems ill thought out.

And to me, the best way to stop the rush to privatizing is to send Branstad into retirement.