Koch brothers spend money to make Arizona education more to their liking

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Courage and determination. They can go a long way if you hope to change the world. Especially when you are the Koch brothers and have $ 97 billion to back up your courage and determination.

Ninety-seven billion. This is the combined value of Charles and David Koch. Separately, they share sixth place on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, but as a two-headed monster peddling their influence to make the country more conservative, libertarian, and pollution-friendly (they’re in the oil business, after all), they are at the top of the list.

[Frightening side note: If you combine the fortunes of the three richest Waltons, the family that gave us Wal-Mart and spends hundreds of millions pushing educational privatization, their total worth comes to $115 billion, $18 billion more than the Kochs.]

Since I recently wrote a guest column in The Weeklythe print edition of the University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, aka the “Freedom Center,” and I plan to continue writing on the subject, and seeing how the Kochs have provided nearly $ 2 million to help to start the Center, I want to take a look at a Politico article that appeared a few days ago, How the Kochs are trying to shake up public schools, one state at a time. It begins:

As school-choice efforts stall in Washington, the billionaire Koch brothers network are engaged in state-by-state battles with teacher unions, politicians and parent groups to push for funding. public private and charter schools.

The privatization / ‘education reform’ mob has a lock on the White House and the Department of Education, and it has either a majority in Congress or almost, but if that’s not enough (and it doesn’t seem like it is to say that the education agenda is at a standstill), there are always Charles and David Koch to put their billions to work. And let’s not forget Ed Sec Betsy DeVos’ well-funded American Children’s Federation, which she had to pull out of when she got her job in Trump’s cabinet. It donates money to national and local races to help elect candidates who support educational “choice.” Hundreds of thousands of AFC dollars have found their way into the coffers of pro-“pick” candidates for the Arizona legislature.

The Politico article is primarily about the Kochs Free Initiative which, according to the article, is “under the umbrella of Americans for Prosperity funded by Charles and David Koch.” It’s in eleven states including Arizona, targeting the Hispanic population with its pro-charters-and-vouchers, anti-public schools program.

I dug in the Weekly archives and found Jim Nintzel wrote a article on the group in 2014, saying that the FREE initiative invested $ 700,000 in advertisements targeting then-contestants Ron Barber and Ann Kirkpatrick, so the group has been active in Arizona for some time.

The Politico article also talks about the Americans for Prosperity’s ongoing attempts to block a referendum on lawmakers expanding empowerment scholarship accounts, which provide private learning vouchers to any family. who wants it. If Koch’s AFP efforts fail and the referendum passes, we revert to the vouchers for a smaller group of students. The article mentions that Governor Ducey attended a Koch donor retreat and publicly thanked the Brethren Network for helping him pass his voucher bill for all. “I need the power of the network,” said Ducey. The Koch brothers support Ducey.

Recently, Americans for Prosperity joined the fight against Proposition 204, the Strong Start Tucson initiative that plans to make preschool accessible to as many as 8,000 Tucson children aged three and four if successful.

From Kindergarten to Kindergarten to Grade 12 to Arizona State Universities, the Koch Brothers and the organizations they fund are very, very busy trying to shape education from Arizona to their taste.

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