Friday, March 25, 2005

Gold in them thar hills

Joe Thomas at Shut Up and Teach and Education at the Brink both have extensive posts up on the voucher movement in each of their states.

As is my wont, let me amplify even more an important ingredient which both have highlighted: a conservative think tank which has helped nanny in voucher friendly legislation.

In a March 2005 open letter to Governor Napolitano, Goldwater Institute president Darcy Olsen advocated for private and religious school vouchers. Darcy claimed vouchers offer "every child in Arizona" the opportunity to have the state pay their tuition to private and parochial schools, especially “children from low-income families.”
The Goldwater Institute is part of the State Policy Network.

Texas Republicans hired a right wing think tank to write the most important school reform legislation of the last decade. If the Senate doesn't majorly change the plan (and God willing they will), 400 schools currently are in danger of being taken over by a for-profit private corporation within the next two years.
By the way, the Koret Task-Force sports a bunch of very familiar names, including Chubb, Hanushek, Finn, Hoxby, Moe, Ravitch, working under the auspices of the very well-connected Hoover Institute.

Adding Massachusetts:
Yet, a handful of conservative ideologues, closely aligned with a local libertarian think tank, are dominating every aspect of Massachusetts’ education policy and pushing an agenda of privatization that is driving up costs even while weakening public oversight. And they are getting away with it largely unquestioned.

You might not have heard of the think tank—the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research—but you have almost certainly heard of its agenda: attacking bilingual education, opposing voluntary integration, promoting high stakes testing, and almost single-handedly advancing charter school and voucher initiatives.

How has the Pioneer Institute come to wield such influence over the Bay State's schools?
Pioneer is also part of theState Policy Network.

I'm sure there is more going in other states but, ahem, the press corpse, doesn't cover this development from this angle.

Bloggers, you too can check out the thinktanks associated with bringing down public education in your state.

Check to see if it's an SPN here:

A couple background references:
*Frederick Clarkson wrote a guide (pdf) to this back in 1999, which should be your reference document for those following the education privatization schema nationwide.
* Scroll down in this posting, Teacher Professionalism , containing the larger schema, which includes the State Policy Networks and the Hoover Institute.

For more info on a specific think tank, you can also search the following sites:
People For American Way