A major new report from the progressive One Wisconsin Institute finds that the right-wing Bradley Foundation spent more than $108 million, working with 130 partner groups, to privatize public schools in Wisconsin between 2005 and 2014. During the same period, the state’s public schools experienced dramatic budget cuts.


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.


The Bradley Foundation is one of the nation’s most active reform organizations. It hopes to reform public education out of existence. Watch how skillfully the Bradley Foundation followed the usual reformer script:


Original research by One Wisconsin Institute in 2013 first exposed the Bradley Foundation as a leading player in the campaign to gut public education and promote the unaccountable, radical privatization of K-12 education. The Milwaukee-based group spent millions to support organizations, think tanks, journalists and right-wing academics. They engaged in a campaign that manufactured a crisis, singled out their enemies, generated a cure, justified their scheme with pseudo-science, broadcast their message through the media, helped elect politicians to advance their agenda and kept them in line with high-powered lobbyists and well-funded pressure campaigns. [Emphasis added by me.]


Ross concluded, “Wisconsin families and public schools are left paying the price as billions of dollars that could have been used for public education are siphoned off for the Bradley Foundation’s ideologically driven experiment. Until a majority of policy makers are willing to stand up to the Bradley Foundation’s millions, Wisconsin’s tradition of great public schools will remain under assault.”