Archives for the month of: October, 2017

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s appointee to the State Board of Education has proposed a constitutional amendment to allow private schools to be funded as part of the state’s obligation to public schools.

If a parent doesn’t like public schools, she proposes, public money should go to private schools. The state hard also proposed eliminating the Blaine amendment, which bars public spending on religious schools.

The issue of public funding for religious schools was on the ballot in 2012, and voters rejected it 55-45.

Due to my technological deficiencies, I have lost some of the visual notes in the original. If you want to see the original, as written by the poet, look through the comments on September 29, about 3 p.m.

Speaking of Poe

“The Teacher” (Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”, with some minor modifications)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and glorious volume of Coleman lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the Common Core—
For the rare and radiant standard whom the Coleman named The Core —
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered term, “Common Core”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Common Core!”—
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Teacher of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made she; not a minute stopped or stayed she;
But, with mien of queenly lady, sat inside my chamber door—
Spat upon a bust of Betsy just above my chamber door—
Spat and sat, and nothing more.

Then this stately lady beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance she wore,
“cuz thy face be worn and tired thou,” I said, “art sure retired
Glaring and grim and ancient Teacher wandering from the schoolhouse door —
Tell me what thy queenly name is on the Night’s Reformian shore!”
Quoth the Teacher “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled at this mainly, to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no Reformer
Ever yet was blessed with seeing Teacher inside his chamber door—
Spitting upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Teacher, spitting longly on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if her soul in that one word she did outpour.
Nothing farther then she uttered—not a sound or word she stuttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other teachers have flown before—
On the morrow she will leave me, as my foes have flown before.”
Again she just said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what she utters is her only stock and store
Brought from some unhappy bastard whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”

But the Teacher still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of Teacher and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous Teacher of yore—
What this grim, glaring, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous Teacher of yore
Meant in speaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the Teacher whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Common Core
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this Common Core!”
Quoth the Teacher “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Teacher “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted standard whom the Coleman named The Core—
Clasp a rare and radiant standard whom the Coleman named The Core”
Quoth the Teacher “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Reformian Shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—spit no more on the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my floor!”
Quoth the Teacher “Nevermore.”

And the Teacher, never flitting, still is spitting, still is spitting
On the pallid bust of Betsy just above my chamber door;
And her eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er her streaming throws her shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore

Yesterday I wrote about the for-profit Benjamin Franklin Charter Chain in Arizona, which is owned by a member of the legislature, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth. He is paid $18 million by the state for his four schools. Although Arizona law says that charter boards must have open public meetings, he has won an exemption from the law because he is the only member of the board. As a one-person Board, he holds no public meetings.

It turns out there is more to the story. Jim Hall of Arozonans for Charter Accountability documents that the Benjamin Franklin charters are the only ones in the state that spend more on administration and buildings than on instruction.

“Representative Farnsworth profits from charter ownership

“It is unclear how much Representative Farnsworth profits from his sole ownership of BFCS because for-profit corporations do not have to reveal salary information. We do know that Representative Farnsworth is a multi-millionaire – BFCS has over $3 million in stockholder equity and Farnsworth is the only stockholder. BFCD also has assets of $6.7 million in cash and another $35 million in real estate holdings.

“Farnsworth profits from the ownership of his real estate firm LBE Investments LTD (LBE) as well. LBE actually owns each of the BFCS campuses and leases the schools back to BFCS at substantially more than the mortgage payments and property taxes due.”

Why do taxpayers in Arizona put up with this misdirection of public funds?

Joe Dtrauss, Speaker of the House in Texas, recently announced that he was stepping down. This heartened the radical right wingers in the legislature because Strauss had repeatedly blocked vouchers and almost singlehandedly stopped passage of a bill about transgender bathrooms. He was known as a moderate who was business friendly. The rightwing ideologues are salivating at the chance to take control.

Christopher Hooks, who wrote this article for The Texas Observer, says that Strauss has not ruled out running for another Office. Governor? We can only hope.

With the demographics of Texas changing and the state becoming increasingly multiracial, the reactionary white faction can’t hold on to power indefinitely. It is only a matter of time until Hispanics and blacks flex their political muscle and win key offices in the state. In the meanwhile, it would be amazing if Joe Strauss took on Governor Gregg Abbott and put together a ticket that sent reactionary Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the voucher zealot, back to running his radio talk show.

Politico reports that the Koch Brothers are promoting School Choice to Hispanic families in 11 states with an organization called the Libre Initiative.

The Kochs and their political action group Americans for Prosperity are relentless in trying to replace public schools with charters and vouchers and eliminate unions.

“While the Koch network has long been involved in school choice battles, the push by Libre represents a new front in the fight by targeting Hispanic families — and a recognition that with Congress gridlocked, it’s on the ground at the state level where the network can disrupt the educational status quo. The Koch message on schools is shared by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a longtime ally.

“Across the [Koch] network, there’s a greater commitment to advancing this because we do see it as critical to advancing a free and open society,” Libre’s Executive Director Jorge Lima told POLITICO.

“The group has had some initial success — for instance, helping to thwart a moratorium on charter school expansion in New Mexico. But it’s also created bitter divisions in the Latino community and led to accusations the Kochs are trying to undermine public education — and even in some cases, to subvert the Democratic process.

“Don’t let so-called Hispanic organizations such as the Libre Initiative deceive you …” Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union, wrote last year in a guest column published in the Las Vegas Sun. “Libre is not looking out for Nevadans’ best interest; it is working to benefit its billionaire Koch funders.”

“Despite such criticism, the group is hunkering down for the long haul in states it views as ripe for change even as it eyes new states for expansion. Lima says it’s on track to make contact with more than 100,000 Hispanic households this year on school choice.

“Besides Nevada and New Mexico, Libre is organizing in Arizona, Colorado, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin. Its recent efforts, with other Koch-backed groups, include:

— A planned “six-figure” spend in Nevada on “deep canvassing” in Hispanic neighborhoods to build support for educational savings accounts, which enable families to use state tax dollars to pay for private school. Although such a program was passed by the Nevada Legislature in 2015, it never took effect after the funding mechanism was ruled unconstitutional.

— A lawsuit brought by Americans for Prosperity, among others, aimed at stopping a 2018 Arizona referendum asking voters whether they want to keep a school choice law passed earlier this year. The law would expand the availability of education savings accounts to more than 30,000 families — a move that public school supporters fear would divert millions of dollars from financially stretched public schools.

— A “six-figure” Libre and Americans for Prosperity campaign in Colorado this summer to promote charter schools and education savings accounts and another ahead of a Nov. 7 school board race by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation to push choice-friendly issues.

— A seven-figure investment In Virginia’s gubernatorial race by Americans for Prosperity that includes a video criticizing Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, for his opposition to education savings accounts.”

Americans for Prosperity opposes all government programs. Its primary purpose is to protect the Koch billions from taxation to pay for any programs that benefit others. If it was up to the Koch Brothers, they would eliminate Social Security, Medicare, and every other social programs. They are rabid libertarians who oppose taxation and government. Their interest is protecting the Koch billions, not anyone else.

Why they suing to block a referendum in Arizona? They know they will lose. Their strategy is to block democracy.

Will they fool Hispanic families into supporting the billionaires’ self-interest?

Mike Petrilli is concerned that Republican support for charter schools has declined sharply. He suspects it is because charter advocates have tried too hard to pretend that charters are all about being progressive.

He thinks it is time to remind Republicans that charters are a conservative idea.

“We found a 12-percentage-point drop in public support for charter schools from the spring of 2016 to the spring of 2017. What’s most surprising is that Republican and Republican-leaning respondents helped to drive this trend, with GOP support down 13 percentage points. Nor is this a one-year blip; roll back the tape to 2012 and Republican support for charter schools is down a whopping 22 points.

“The puzzle is why. This is no idle question, as Republican support has been crucial to the growth and success of the charter movement over the past twenty-five years.

“While the charter movement has historically received proud bipartisan backing in Washington—Presidents Clinton and Obama both strongly supported charter schools, as have Presidents Bush II and Trump—charters are almost entirely a GOP accomplishment at the state level, where charter policy is made. To be sure, some blue and purple states can count a handful of Democratic legislators and the occasional Democratic governor as proponents, but the charter movement has relied on strong Republican support to sustain it. If that support evaporates, the movement could hit a brick wall.

“One would imagine then, that advocates of charter schools would be exquisitely attentive to the political math at the heart of their coalition: They typically need virtually every Republican vote, plus a handful of Democrats. Such attention would inexorably lead to an obsession with shoring up support on the right side of the aisle, correct?

“Well, no. Instead, many leaders of the charter movement have spent the past decade displaying their progressive credentials and chasing after Democratic votes that almost never materialize. Thus, the case for charter schools today is almost always made in social-justice terms—promoting charters’ success in closing achievement gaps, boosting poor kids’ chances of upward mobility, and alleviating systemic inequities. That was certainly the approach taken by President Obama and his social-justice-warrior secretary of education, Arne Duncan….

“A simpler, more direct way to boost conservative support is to remind people what made charter schools conservative in the first place. This means emphasizing personal freedom and parental choice—how charters liberate families from a system in which the government assigns you a public school, take it or leave it. Choice brings free-market dynamics into public education, using the magic of competition to lift all boats. And while some conservatives understandably would prefer private school choice, which allows a family to select a religious school, for example, instead of an independently run public school, charters are much more than a way station to vouchers. They have proven to be scalable and powerful, especially in cities.

“But there’s another aspect of charter schools that gets very little attention these days, especially from the social-justice types: Most are non-union. In fact, in most districts, union representation is the most significant difference between charter schools and traditional public schools. It’s hugely important. It’s why charter schools can and do fire ineffective teachers, why they can turn on a dime when an instructional approach isn’t working, why they can spend their money on the classroom instead of the bureaucracy, and why they can put the needs of students first, every day, all day. Yet most charter supporters almost never talk about any of this.”

Yes, It is time to remind Republicans—and Democrats—that charters are a conservative strategy. They sacrifice community to competition. They get rid of unions. They make teachers at-will employees.

But I disagree with Mike about the reasons for declining support for charters among Republicans and Democrats alike. I think that the public—that is, members of both parties—are hearing quite a lot these days about charter scandals and swindles in their own states. They don’t want to waste their tax dollars on exorbitant charter salaries coupled with frequent reports of graft, misappropriation of funds, and indictments of charter operators. How do people react when they hear about the millions paid to virtual charter operators? What about the convictions of swindlers in Pennsylvania and Michigan? Most Republicans went to public schools, send their own children to public schools and are happy with them. They cheer for the local teams and show up when their neighbors’ kids are in a school play. They don’t want charters in their neighborhood. Many serve on school boards. They are not antagonistic to public schools, not like  DeVos or the people who work at conservative advocacy shops inside the Beltway. In New York, for example, Republicans in the legislature vote for charters but don’t want them in their own backyard. They think charters are fine for black and brown kids, but not their own.

Charters could never have gotten this far without bipartisan support so it was useful for their advocates to play the “social justice” card. Now that Republicans control so many states and DeVos is Secretary of Education, why not tell the truth? Charters are a way to break up public schools and replace them with competition and choice, while getting rid of unions. They are and always have been a conservative ploy to launch school choice. Obama and Duncan fell for it. So have Corey Booker and Andrew Cuomo. They got fooled into attacking their political base. Will Democrats continue to support charters now that they are clearly part of the Trump-DeVos agenda?

Republicans support charters for “those kids,” not for their own kids. If they are losing faith in the charter idea, it is probably because they don’t want them for their suburban and rural communities.

I felt like sharing a slice of my life, 24 hours of it.

For 25 years, my partner and I lived next door to a wonderful family in brownstone Brooklyn. She is German-born; he is Irish. They are Catholic. They have three beautiful daughters. They were children when we moved onto the block, now they are beautiful young women. The oldest daughter married a man of Irish descent. The middle daughter married a Chinese-American man. The third daughter was married last night to a French man who is Jewish. Their actual wedding was held in Cambridge last May, but their family wedding was held last night in Brooklyn on the waterfront, with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

The groom’s extended family–sixty of them!–flew over from France. A score of the bride’s maternal family flew in from Germany. People of many nationalities joined together to celebrate their nuptials. The ceremony was a traditional Jewish wedding, with a Chupah (a ceremonial cloth) stretched over the couple, a cantor singing in Hebrew, and a klezmer band playing Yiddish music. The wedding was followed by dinner and dancing and toasts. Some of the toasts were in French, and the French clan laughed heartily at jokes the rest of us could not understand. Then the French clan surrounded the happy couple and sang a song in English from the American musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” They sang, “To Life, to Life, L’Chaim, L’Chaim, L’Chaim to Life. And if your good fortune never comes, here’s to whatever comes, drink l’chaim to life!” (I remembered that many years ago, my husband and I bought a house in Pound Ridge, New York, from the man who wrote that music.)

A D.J., played dance music, most of it written and performed by African American singers. The dancing was spectacular, although it didn’t include me, because my knees are too fragile for dancing. Swaying, yes, not dancing.

For a moment, life was the way it should be. I felt as though this young couple and their family and friends were repairing the world.

Tonight, my partner Mary and I went to a cabaret–Feinstein’s 54 Underground–to hear Christine Ebersole, the wonderful actress and singer, perform. The room was packed. There was joy in the air.

Life goes on.

A good 24 hours.

Since 2001, Philadelphia’s public schools have been controlled by a “School Reform Commission” that has failed again and again to improve public education.

In this article, parent leaders call for a new vision for public schools.

They write:

“Over a year ago, we launched the Our City Our Schools campaign to end the 16-year-long failed experiment of the state-controlled School Reform Commission (SRC). The SRC was set up in 2001 in a supposed attempt to bring in more state funding, but instead led to dozens of school closures in black and brown neighborhoods, increased school privatization, failed for-profit consultants like Edison, and an austerity budget that has hurt students, parents, school staff, educators, and the city at large..

“Regaining local control is a huge step forward on the path toward true, democratically based community control of our schools.

“While we celebrate the mayor’s leadership, the question of how our schools will be governed is critical. For the last six months, Our City Our Schools and supporters have pushed for a transitional task force that could study successful school governance models and gather broad public input on what comes next — from an elected school board like those in the other 499 districts in Pennsylvania to the mayoral-controlled board of Philadelphia’s past…

“We can return a voice to the people who know our schools best. In ending the 16-year state takeover, we can define who are the true stakeholders of the Philadelphia schools. For too long, our schools have been treated like a business where decisions are made by people seeking to profit off of our children’s education. In this new era, we need to return power to the people who work, teach, and learn in neighborhood and charter schools every day, the parents who volunteer to fill budget gaps, and the community members who have supported their neighborhood schools for decades.

“We can end the era of conflicts of interests. The most important focus for any school board should be the thriving health of students, teachers, staff, and their schools. With local control and accountability, we can vet new board members for conflicts of interest and end backroom deals.

“Our next school board must push forward a progressive agenda for our schools. Our next school board must see quality education from locally based schools as a key racial and economic justice issue of our time. The SRC failed to stand up against a state legislature that continues to use our schools for its racist and privatizing agenda. Is the next school board ready to lead the fight for more equitable school funding across the state, for Philadelphia-based corporations and developers to pay their fair share toward our schools, and for an end to massive giveaways to private school managers?”

Jim Hall of Arizonans for Charter School Accountability has a mission. He insists that charter schools should be accountable to taxpayers for the public money they receive. In Arizona, the charter laws are written to ensure that charter schools seldom are accountable.

He produced this example as the poster charter for total non-transparency and non-accountability.

A member of the legislature, Representative Eddie Farnsworth, owns a chain of charter schools. It has a budget of $18 Million. He is the only member of the board. State law says that “all legal actions of a public body must be made in a meeting open to the public.” State law says that such meetings must be open to the public. “All meetings of any public body shall be public meetings and all persons so desiring shall be permitted to attend and listen to the deliberations and proceedings. All legal action of public bodies shall occur during a public meeting.”

Every school district, charter school, public agency, and commission must abide by these laws.

But not Rep. Farnsworth’s Benjamin Franklin Charter Schools.

The state Attorney General confirms that charter schools owned by Representative Eddie Farnsworth are exempt from all Arizona Open Meeting Laws.

Hall writes:

“The four Benjamin Franklin Charter Schools in the East Valley are owned solely by Republican Representative Eddie Farnsworth as a for-profit company. Rep. Farnsworth has appointed himself the only board member of the school’s governing board and, as the result of a technicality in Arizona law, does not have to follow Arizona’s Open Meeting Laws. Rep. Farnsworth has free rein to conduct all matters pertaining to the expenditure of over $18 million in public money every year in complete secrecy – there are no public meetings at Benjamin Franklin and there can be no Open Meeting Law requests for information.”

Jim Hall’s ACSA filed a complaint in March 2017 against the four Benjamin Franklin Charter Schools for failing to provide information about the location and notice of board meetings on their website as required by law. As of October 25, 2017, the school websites are still out of compliance with Open Meeting Laws.

Rep. Farnsworth says that he is exempt from the laws because he is the sole member of the governing board. He alone controls $18 Million and is not obliged to hold public meetings.

Jim Hall, founder of Arizonans for Charter School Accountability, noted: “As a member of the Arizona Legislature, you would hope Rep. Farnsworth would set an example for assuring charter schools are spending tax dollars in a transparent manner. Instead, Rep. Farnsworth participates in the worst of practices of deception and secrecy that undermine the credibility of “public” charter schools. There is nothing “public” about Rep. Farnsworth’s charter schools.”

Contact Jim Hall

Arizonans for Charter School Accountability

David Safier writes in the Tucson Weekly about well-funded efforts by the billionaire Koch Brothers to promote their anti-government, free-market libertarian views into local high schools.

“The course was created by the University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, which designed the curriculum, wrote the textbook and offers workshops for high school teachers instructing them on how to teach the class. The Freedom Center, which has been at UA since 2011, gets a majority of its funding from the Koch Brothers and a wealthy Arizona donor couple who are big contributors to and play an influential part in the Koch network.

“The course is also being offered in the Amphitheater, Vail and Sahuarita school districts and at least seven private and charter schools in Pima and Maricopa counties.

“The Center for the Philosophy of Freedom at the UA and similar centers at ASU are the latest in a continuing effort by the Koch Brothers to infuse institutions of higher education with their libertarian-fueled philosophy. The Koch’s long term goal is for their economic and political views to filter down from the university into mainstream public opinion, and to use their influence with politicians to create legislation favorable to their ideological and economic interests.

“A part of that effort is to create curriculum, class materials and entire courses to be used in high schools around the country.

“In the 1980s, the Koch Brothers began buying their way into universities by setting up departments and think tanks. The Koch-funded centers lend scholarly credibility to the brothers’ libertarian philosophy by teaching courses, writing papers for academic journals and conducting seminars for like-minded academics. The first serious funding venture began in the mid-1980s at Virginia’s George Mason University. At the time the university wasn’t known for the quantity or quality of its scholarship. Since then, it has grown, due to the Koch’s money and influence, into the largest research university in the state.

“Ground zero for the Koch’s efforts at George Mason University is the Mercatus Center. The Washington Post described it as a “staunchly anti-regulatory center funded largely by Koch Industries Inc.” A fellow at the Cato Institute, which was founded and funded by the Koch Brothers, referred to it as a “libertarian mecca.”

“Over the years, the Koch Brothers expanded their academic reach until they were subsidizing programs at more than 300 institutes of learning. From 2005 to 2015 alone, the Koch Foundation gave $145 million to universities, including $95 million to George Mason University and the Mercatus Center. Unlike most major university donors, the Kochs often maintain direct or indirect control over the departments their money creates and the professors they hire.

“Scholarly work tends to be too detailed and complex for public consumption, so the Koch Brothers also fund institutes and organizations outside of universities to shape the academic material into more easily digestible form (the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation are two well known examples). Members of their staff generate position papers, write articles for magazines and newspapers, and appear on television news programs. They also work with sympathetic politicians to formulate and draft legislation.

“University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom began in 2011. The Koch Brothers put in a million dollars to help start the center, though the largest portion of the funding came from Ken and Randy Kendrick, as well as another donor who remains anonymous. Ken Kendrick is the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Randy Kendrick is a lawyer who is deeply involved in right wing causes. Because of their million-dollar-plus donations to the Koch’s donor network, including support for the Mercatus Center, the Kendricks are charter members and influential players in the Koch network.

“From its inception in 2011, UA’s Freedom Center had its eye on Arizona’s high schools. That year David Schmidtz, the founding director of the Center, spoke of his plans with Tim Vanderpool of the Tucson Weekly: “Schmidtz says the center plans to offer a degree program in economic instruction for high school teachers, and to generate texts for K-12 education. ‘We aim not only to produce the teachers, but the materials that are getting taught.'”

“Schmidtz is one of the three co-authors of ‘Ethics, Economy, and Entrepreneurship’, the textbook used in the high school course.

“The Koch Brothers began their efforts to make inroads into high school education with Youth Entrepreneurs, which was founded by Charles Koch and his wife Elizabeth in 1991 as a program to teach basic business skills to young people. It expanded its mission in 2009 when it created what the organization referred to as “a high school free market and liberty-based course,” complete with course materials and training for teachers. By 2014, more than 1,000 students were taking the course in Kansas and Missouri. YE has expanded into other states as well. It has a regional office in Phoenix.”

The goal of the Koch brothers is to install their free-market ideology in high schools across the country.