Last month, we gave you a preview of the Charles Koch Institute’s disingenuous — if not downright hypocritical — education forum in Nashville. This week, the Tennesseean has a post-event recap that highlights the paradox inherent in an education discussion hosted by an outfit that wants to end federal funding for education altogether.
The Kochs and their allies approach education much like they do any other aspect of their platform, in that they want to do away with government oversight, regulation and funding in favor of a privatized system. For an example, one needn’t look any further than neighboring North Carolina, where the Kochs and Americans for Prosperity have supported state budgets that slashed public education jobs and funding. Simultaneously, AFP has demonized public education in the Tar Heel state and lauded efforts to establish a voucher system that diverts taxpayer funds away from public schools to fund students’ private school tuition.
According to an account from a leader of the Tennessee School Boards Association, last month’s event in Nashville is proof that the Kochs are hoping to replicate this effort across the border in Tennessee. The author lists several examples where the event’s panelists spouted false and misleading negative claims meant to denigrate Tennessee’s public schools in favor of a voucher system for private schools. Not only is their misinformation scheme entirely transparent, it’s an insult to the thousands of teachers and education employees who have been working hard to improve student outcomes for Tennessee students.
This is hardly the first example of the Kochs and AFP spreading misinformation in service of their anti-working families agenda. Why should the Kochs treat education issues — and teachers, students and families — any differently than they do any other aspect of their self-interested platform?