MADISON, Wis. — In comments to the state news service Wispolitics.com, Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign co-chair and head of the right-wing Bradley Foundation, Michael Grebe called draining hundreds of millions in public tax dollars away from public schools for unaccountable private schools an “accomplishment.” One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Ross blasted the massive expansion of the private school voucher program, enabled by the Bradley Foundation’s millions, while Wisconsin K-12 public schools suffered the 4th largest funding cuts in the nation.
On Thursday the Institute released updated research on Grebe’s Bradley Foundation’s propaganda campaign to promote their radical education privatization campaign, finding between 2005 and 2014, lavished in excess of $108 million on over 130 organizations in Wisconsin and across the country.
“Taking hundreds of millions of dollars away from public schools to send to unaccountable private voucher schools might rank as an accomplishment for the head of an $850 million right wing foundation,” commented Ross. “But it’s an affront to the people of Wisconsin who care about their public schools and an assault on our tradition of great public education.”
Key findings of the updated “P Is For Payoff” report include:
- Bradley Foundation head Michael Grebe, a political insider who chaired Gov. Walker’s presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, continues to orchestrate a massive propaganda campaign to advance the privatization of public education;
- An analysis of IRS Form 990 records and Bradley Foundation reports reveals over 130 organizations supportive of their education privatization agenda and working to advance their cause have received over $108 million from 2005 through 2014;
- Bradley’s tactics have continued to evolve, now featuring litigation to advance their privatization agenda and intimidate opponents. Leading the effort is the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty which since its inception in 2011 has been larded with over $2 million from Bradley;
- According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the voucher program will cost Wisconsin taxpayers over $1.1 billion from 2011 through the end of the 2015–17 budget cycle. Meanwhile, a new report found that Wisconsin schools have suffered the 4th biggest cuts in in the nation through 2014.
Ross concluded, “What the Bradley Foundation has done with their lavish spending is create a culture where their dollars are more important than independent data on student achievement and their ideological whims are enabled by politicians like Gov. Walker and his Republican legislative cronies who put their own political future before that of Wisconsin school kids.”