Corporatism, Education — September 23, 2016

Progress Michigan launches unprecedented education program exposing DeVos family funding of anti-public education policy

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Anyone who has followed the state legislature in Michigan since Republicans assumed nearly total control in 2010 will tell you just how devastating their policies and laws have been to public education in our state. From stripping funding from schools to pay for enormous corporate tax cuts to taking away local control and handing it over to non-educator Emergency Managers appointed by our corporatist governor, no area has taken a bigger hit from GOP dominance that public education.

Much of this is the direct result of a concerted effort by the DeVos family, Michigan’s version of the Koch brothers, to shape education policy and lawmaking in Lansing. Just to give you an idea of how much influence they have, that single family was responsible for OVER HALF of the campaign donations given to Republicans in the final quarter of 2015, a truly astonishing – and frightening – display of brazen corporatist influence in state government. Their intentional efforts to replace traditional public education with a for-profit charter school model are neither subtle or concealed.

The progressive watchdog group Progress Michigan has launched an unprecedented effort to educate the voters in Michigan about the facts (and wealthy faces) behind the Republicans’ education plan. It is based around a new website GOPEducationPlan.com.

Progress Michigan describes this effort as “the biggest education/accountability program” they have ever conducted. “Our aim is for Michiganders to not only know the truth about the GOP education plan, but to remind them that these elected officials are supposed to answer to their constituents, not wealthy donors. They have a voice in Lansing and we’re urging them to use it,” Progress Michigan Executive Director explained. “For six years the GOP leadership in Lansing — from Gov. Rick Snyder to his enablers in the legislature — have done the bidding of wealthy corporate special interests and their campaign donors while ignoring average Michiganders. It’s time for the voice of the people to be heard when it comes to protecting quality public education.”

This new program includes cable and digital ads, mailers, and door-to-door canvassing in 11 state house districts. The goal is to encourage residents to contact their elected officials and urge them to stand up for kids over corporatist influence of the DeVos family and their partners. The cable ads will run on popular channels such as MSNBC, TNT, USA Network and others starting today.

Here’s the ad:

The new program will be targeting the following districts:

House District 21 – Representative Kristy Pagan
House District 23 – Representative Patrick Somerville
House District 25 – Representative Henry Yanez
House District 30 – Representative Jeff Farrington
House District 39 – Representative Klint Kesto
House District 62 – Representative John Bizon
House District 71 – Representative Tom Barrett
House District 76 – Representative Winnie Brinks
House District 91 – Representative Holly Hughes
House District 99 – Representative Kevin Cotter
House District 101 – Representative Ray Franz

Please be sure to make the call to your state legislator to make your thoughts known about education policy in our state – 855-265-1411. And text EDUCATION to 30644 to be kept up to date on this effort.

It’s difficult to fight back against the enormous amount of money that these corporatists inject into our state government in order to buy influence and threaten legislators who don’t toe the line laid down by the DeVos family. Combined with the corporate front group the Mackinac Center for Public policy, the bought-and-paid for legislature has run roughshod over public education in Michigan. Progress Michigan is literally the bulwark standing against complete corporate dominance of education policy and law in Michigan. Please consider helping support their important work by making a donation today. You can do that HERE.

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