MADISON, Wis. — New research from One Wisconsin Now reveals a web of right-wing groups are part of a $31 million plus propaganda campaign pushing a massive privatization of public education in Wisconsin. Underwriting the effort is the Milwaukee based Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair, Michael Grebe.
“A well-funded right-wing cabal has orchestrated a comprehensive propaganda campaign to support the privatization of public education in Wisconsin,” according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “And at the center of it is Gov. Walker’s campaign co-chair Michael Grebe and the millions of the Bradley Foundation.”
One Wisconsin Now’s extensive research utilizing tax records and public databases found at least $31 million has been spent by the Bradley Foundation since 2001 promoting education privatization, including support for academics providing favorable pro-privatization pseudo-science, media personalities promoting the privatization agenda and lobbying organizations advocating for privatization legislation.
The report details the mechanics of a comprehensive campaign that manufactured an education “crisis”, proposed a “solution”, attacked and undermined the ability of potential opponents to block their agenda and funded aggressive pro-privatization media and lobbying efforts.
“The Bradley-funded propaganda machine has left no stone unturned, and it seems, almost no right wing organization unfunded in their quest to foist their education privatization scheme on Wisconsin,” commented Ross.
Wisconsin taxpayers will have spent $1.8 billion on the private school voucher program by 2014–15 and spending on the voucher program would increase in Gov. Walker’s 2013–15 proposed budget by a whopping 32%. All this is occurring at the same time K-12 public schools in Wisconsin have been subjected to the largest cuts in state history.
He concluded, “It is not an overstatement to say the future of public education in Wisconsin is hanging in the balance in the face of the Bradley-funded privatization propaganda campaign. The question is: how much will this ideological payoff cost Wisconsin taxpayers and school children?”