Monday, December 29, 2014

The right-wing plot to destroy public schools in Pa.

The right-wing plot to destroy public schools in Pa.

That was the headline I wanted for my article in today's Daily News. Instead, they went with this (above). Whatevs:

The little-noticed change is typical of what has become a mega-million-dollar stealth push - heavily funded by out-of-state, right-wing millionaires and billionaires - to make Pennsylvania into a national proving ground for school choice.

In little more than a year, activists like Michigan's Betsy DeVos, of the Amway fortune; the heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton; and three wealthy Main Line hedge-fund traders have doled out an astonishing $6-million-plus in campaign cash to top Harrisburg pols, while they and allies have spent millions more on rallies, inflammatory mailers and lobbyists.

In doing so, they've managed to put a voucher program, which would take hundreds of millions of dollars from public schools and shift them to private or parochial schools, on the political front burner - even as those same public schools are facing draconian budget cuts.

Still, given the sorry state of public schools in Philadelphia, why not try vouchers?

Because they don't work:

But opponents say that there's one thing that groups like Students First and AFC aren't telling voters: That evidence that vouchers lead to higher student achievement is lacking. Critics note a 2010 study from Milwaukee - which has the nation's longest-running major experiment with vouchers - that found that test scores were no different from peers who did not use vouchers to attend private or religious schools.

Look, people have a lot of reasons for supporting vouchers -- some of them are sincere and well-intentioned. But the people like Betsy DeVos putting up most of the dollars are doing so for one reason, and one reason only.

They want to destroy public schools in America.

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Will Bunch
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