by Max Brantley
I've mentioned before that the billionaire Koch brothers have expanded their anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-union portfolio to include an assault on public education. They want to voucherize, charterize and ultimately privatize it.
I've also mentioned before that Koch-paid Arkansas operatives are at work driving the so-called "school choice" privatization bandwagon.
So clip this article and save it. It will be coming soon to Little Rock, though bits of it are already in evidence. It's about cookie-cutter legislation from the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council popping up in multiple states. ALEC, you may also know, is the favored source of legislative influence for Republicans in the Arkansas legislature. The non-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures is targeted for financial strangulation by Republicans in the Arkansas House to clear the field for the corporate-sponsored influence of ALEC.
Some of the ALEC agenda has already insinuated itself here. The "reform" movement hates democratically elected school boards. You won't find any at the charter schools. These are public schools spending public money that are unaccountable to voters or, for the most part, the parents of the kids who enroll there. Turning out the unacceptable student is, after all, a key element of the charter "success" story.
SPEAKING OF CHOICE: Expanded voucher program in Wisconsin is proving to be a benefit to middle-class parents, many with kids already in private schools, not a lifeline for impoverished kids. BTW, "choice" schools show no better results there than regular public schools.