Friday, June 29, 2012
Allison sounds like a Koch brothers puppet
Darrell Allison makes school vouchers sound like the best thing for black folks since Abe Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. He even quotes Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., to get people behind his school choice campaign.
“When people tell me they’re against school choice…I look at them and say as soon as you’re willing to send your kid to a failing school…then I’ll be with you,” Allison quoted Booker in a quest column that appeared in the Durham Herald-Sun. Allison used the message of the popular mayor to lobby support for House Bill 1104, the N.C. Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program. The good news is his pitch failed - at least for now.
It was unable to get out of the Senate Finance Committee. Allison and other backers of the proposal say they’ll be back like Arnold said in the second Terminator movie.
The program would have allowed corporations to pour funds into nonprofits that would provide scholarships of up to $4,000 per student. In return, those corporations would receive tax credits allowing them to divert up to $40 million of their state taxes. Supporters claim the plan would improve the quality of education of poor students, but don’t be fooled. This is a scheme to drain money set aside for public education to benefit private schools. It’s a plan set in motion by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group funded by the Koch Brothers.
Charles and David Koch are the billionaire brothers who have taken the fortune they’ve made by selling toilet paper and other paper products to shape the way people think. They have funneled money into a network of foundations, think tanks, front groups, lobbyist, advocacy organizations and GOP lawmakers to push their libertarian views. They hate government, taxes, environmental protection and public education.
Don’t blink folks. The Koch brothers have been busy in North Carolina. The Huffington Post reported earlier this year that the brothers have funded efforts to keep 21 million Americans from voting as their money helped write and propose voting suppression bills in 38 states. American for Prosperity, a Koch brothers’ front group, fought to remake a model school diversity policy in Wake County. They have given more than $14.39 million in grants to over 150 universities in return for requiring some universities to hire candidates who adhere to their views.
The brothers have more than enough money to fund the libertarian revolution. Koch Industries, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas has annual revenues estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The siblings operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota with more than four thousand miles of pipeline. They own Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet and Lycra. They are ranked by Forbes as the second-largest company in the United States. The Koch brothers have a combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars.
The Koch brothers have already proven an interest in North Carolina affairs. Look close and you may find a tie to Parents for Educational Freedom in NC, the group led by Allison. Considering the Koch brother’s agenda and their goal to unseat Barack Obama, it is curious that Allison would use Cory Booker, a staunch Obama supporter, to plead his case. Like that Sesame Street song, one of these things doesn’t belong with the other.
Allison spews rhetoric like a Koch brother puppet. “The N.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is needed because more than 336,000 poor kids failed end-of-grade tests last year, according to the state Department of Public Instruction,” he wrote in his Herald-Sun quest column. “This staggering number represents more than a quarter of all traditional public school students. Equally alarming is that in Durham County, only 33 percent of poor students passed end-of-grade tests over the past five years compared to nearly 70 percent of their wealthier peers, according to DPI.”
Allison, like the Koch brothers and the rest of the anti-public school clan, assume their alternative schools will do better at preparing poor students. It fits well within a culture that has parents afraid to risk their child’s education. It’s a message those Koch brothers have tossed enough to convince people to buy into their libertarian message. There’s just enough truth there to convince enough people to take a nibble. I’m not biting.
No more taxes, down with the EPA, get rid of the Department of Education and forget all that hard work and marching that led to integrated schools.Don’t drink the Kool-Aid folks. Those rich dudes have an agenda, and it certainly isn’t about poor, black children.