MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin Now will join public education supporters from across the state at Saturday’s ‘Public Education Is a Civil Right’ march and rally beginning at Milwaukee High School at 10:30 a.m. One Wisconsin Now research has shown that the systematic assault on our public schools owes much of its support to tens of millions of dollars given to pro-privatization propaganda by Milwaukee’s Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair Michael Grebe.
“Public education is a public good and a civil right supported by the students, parents and educators of Wisconsin,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “But led by $31 million in funding by the right wing Bradley Foundation, we have seen an all out assault on our public school students – from the largest public education cuts in our state history, to the rights of educators eviscerated to the stealing of valuable public education dollars to unaccountable private schools.”
The rally will focus on needs of public school students in the wake of these attacks on public education, including funding our public schools across Wisconsin, guaranteeing local taxpayers have a strong voice in school governance, stopping the privatization of public education, accountability for voucher schools and ensuring quality physical infrastructure for all our schools.
In its report “P is for Payoff,” 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 over $384 million under Gov. Walker’s 2013-15 budget. All this is occurring at the same time K-12 public schools in Wisconsin have been subjected to the largest cuts in state history.
In addition, according to the Department of Public Instruction 2,415 applications were submitted for students to attend one of 48 schools indicating they would participate in the privatization program as part of Gov. Walker’s 2013-15 budget using a taxpayer funded voucher. Of the top 25 schools participating, a shocking 76% of voucher applicants did not attend a Wisconsin public school last year. Nearly 67% attended a private school while over 3% were home schooled and almost 5% did not attend school in the last academic year.
“The evidence is clear: public school students and their parents support Wisconsin’s public schools,” Ross said. “This calculated political attack on our public schools must end. The future of our children and our state are at stake.”