Career politicians really get my goat. Even worse is a career politician who makes his bones by selling out Wisconsin’s students to for-profit corporations in exchange for campaign contributions.
Exhibit A: Brett Davis (R-Oregon)
Brett used to be the chair of the Assembly Education Committee. And during his career in the legislature, Brett’s been leading the charge to take money from our public schools and funnel it to for-profit corporations and private schools. Davis authored 2007 AB 870, which would have allowed charter schools funded by Wisconsin tax dollars to send money to for-profit out-of-state corporations. He also led the charge to grow the voucher program in Milwaukee ‘ because, you know, taking money out of public schools will help them improve, duh. He even got an ‘award’ from the now-defunct right-wing front group Wisconsin Institute for Leadership for his ‘work on virtual schools.’
Public school haters and ultra-conservatives profit chasers of all stripes have taken notice.
Virginia-based K12, Inc. is the for-profit company contracted to create curriculum for the Wisconsin Virtual Academy. In its prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, K12, Inc. anticipated $5 million in 2008 revenues from Wisconsin taxpayers. [K12, Inc. SEC Prospectus, 12/12/07, pg. 69]. Davis’ work to pump money into virtual schools has a direct impact on K-12, Inc. ‘ more virtual schools means more money for K-12. And in a related story, Brett Davis got $500 in campaign cash from executives at K-12. Shocker.
Citizens of the fightin’ 80th will remember the flood of smear literature, paid for by the law-breaking PAC All Children Matter, supporting Brett Davis that drowned Green County mail boxes last election. All Children Matter are funded by a small group of ultra-wealty, uber-conservative profit hawks like the Walton family (of Wal Mart fame), Dick and Betsy DeVos (of Amway pyramid scheme fame) and Wisconsin’s very own crazy voucher couple George and Susan Mitchell. ACM has one mission: prop up elected officials with ‘issue ads’ in return for toeing ACM’s line and pushing for more privatization of public schools. The financial backers of All Children Matter have given Brett Davis $13,000 in campaign contributions.
So it’s no surprise that Brett Davis announced this week another sloppy wet kiss to for-profit education interests. Davis said Wednesday that he plans to introduce legislation to lift the enrollment cap on virtual schools he helped to negotiate last year. Of course, the compromise orchestrated by Davis was settled before All Children Matter spent piles of cash helping him win re-election last year. Now it seems the time has come for Davis to pay back the favor to his pro-voucher masters.