Let’s just say, for arguments sake, that you are a dyed in the wool Republican. I’m not talking an old school Eisenhower Republican; I’m talking a true right-wing libertarian, Fox News watching, Glenn Beck loving, free market, trickle down economics Republican.
And then, for the fun of it, I told you that the Teamsters and the Service Employees Union had gotten together and are sponsoring a business class for high school students, taught by your local high school teacher in your local high school. And what if that class focused on the importance of unionization to the economic future of America?
And for the icing on the cake, at the end of the class, the students got paid with scholarships etc.
Would you be comfortable with that? (If you are such a Republican, I suspect you just popped a nitro tablet to fight off the angina.)
Well my hardcore Republican friends don’t worry. It is actually just the opposite of what I described. It is, instead, the very right wing Charles G. Koch Foundation and they are buying their way into schools to teach the anti-regulation, free market dogma that mirrors the Tea Party libertarian view of the world.
That’s right folks, the hardcore right wingers at the Koch Foundation don’t like the fact that kids go to college and start thinking, so they are trying to indoctrinate them before they get there through a subsidiary organization called Youth Entrepreneurs.
“Lesson plans and class materials obtained by The Huffington Post make the course's message clear: The minimum wage hurts workers and slows economic growth. Low taxes and less regulation allow people to prosper. Public assistance harms the poor. Government, in short, is the enemy of liberty.”
And this it isn’t just the interpretation of the Huffington Post. Emails obtained from the program’s open Google group (thanks guys!) make the true intent of the program is clear.
“…the current structure of the program began to take shape in November 2009, documents show, when a team of associates at the Charles G. Koch Foundation launched an important project with Charles Koch's blessing: They would design and test what they called "a high school free market and liberty-based course" with support from members of the Koch family's vast nonprofit and political network. A pilot version of the class would be offered the following spring to students at the Wichita Collegiate School, an elite private prep school in Kansas where Koch was a top donor."First, the Koch team chose its mascot: a golden eagle holding a knife in its beak. They also assigned each other nicknames: Ol' Mucky Terrahawk, Mighty Killer, Big Gay Mule, Midnight Bandit and the Erratic Assassin. The group dubbed itself the "Wu-Teach Clan."Over the next six months, members of the Wu-Teach Clan exchanged hundreds of emails with one another and with Koch lieutenants. They hashed out a strategy to infiltrate public schools after surveys showed that the wealthy prep school students largely failed to absorb their libertarian message."The emails show that Charles Koch had a hands-on role in the design of the high school curriculum, directly reviewing the work of those responsible for setting up the course. The goal, the group said flatly, was to turn young people into "liberty-advancing agents" before they went to college, where they might learn "harmful" liberal ideas.” [HuffPost]
Here are just a few of the “falsehoods” that the YE group wanted to dispel with students:
· Rich get richer at the expense of the poor· FDR/New Deal brought us out of the depression· Government wealth transfer programs help the poor· Private industry incapable of doing functions that public sector has always done· Unions protect the employees· People with the same job title should be paid the same amount ...· Minimum wage, "living wage," laws are good for people/society· Capitalist societies provide an environment for greed and materialism to flourish
Hey, this is a long article and I’m not going to run through the entire thing. The bottom line is this. The Koch Foundation is targeting woefully underfunded school districts that are desperate for any infusion of cash or free curricula with right wing propaganda designed to shape the student’s ideology so that it more closely reflects their own. They aren’t teaching kids to think, they are attempting to indoctrinate them into the extreme political right-wing.
And it doesn’t have to stop after high school.
“A student can take the YE course in high school, participate in the YE Academy to earn scholarship money and then use that money to pay for a degree from a Koch-funded university. So it isn't just a relatively small but growing high school program offered in Kansas and Missouri. It's part of a larger mission.” [HuffPost]
YE isn’t about the students, its mission is creating a political future that serves to protect the wealth of the elite to the detriment of the rest of us. It is about securing the future of those with money and power. It is, simply put, class warfare designed to ensure that the robber barons of today continue to pillage the economy of tomorrow.