If you’re trying to enact an extremist right-wing policy, but the public keeps rejecting it – what do you do?
You could try blatant deception, giving the same old policy a new coat of paint, a euphemistic name, and a multimillion-dollar political shove. That’s the dark path now being taken by the clique of plutocrats and theocrats who’re determined to privatize America’s public schools.
Take Texas Governor Greg Abbott – please! Joking aside, he’s been pushing to make taxpayers fund private schools. But his own right-wing legislature has consistently rejected his power play. After all, even red-state Republicans don’t want for-profit chains and religious zealots grabbing tax dollars to indoctrinate school children.
So this year, Abbott & Company rebranded their scheme as “school choice” and “parental empowerment.” Who could be against that? The People, it turns out. While some families might want exclusive private schools, their claim that they have no choice is a fraud. As one GOP legislator put it, his rural county has “private schools, a parochial school, a charter school, and a large home school community. “That is choice,” he rightly notes..
Who are the privatizers? National billionaires like the Koch brothers – and in Texas, we have Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, two messianic oil billionaires from West Texas who double as proselytizers of a toxic theology of Christian nationalism. They are the Money Gods of school privatization – indeed, the governor, more than half of Texas House members, and every Republican state senator are financially hooked on their Oil money.
A lot of work around school privatization is very locally-focused, but for a great set of toolkits, actions, explainers and more, check out the Network for Public Education.
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