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In the states where teachers have engaged in walkouts and strikes, public education has been systematically starved of funding. Typically, corporate taxes have been cut so that funding for education has also been cut. The corporations benefit while the children and their teachers are put on a starvation diet.

Who are the corporations and individuals behind the efforts to shrink funding for public schools and promote privatization?

This article makes it clear.

It begins like this, then details a state-by-state list of corporations and billionaires backing the cycle of austerity and school privatization.

“The ongoing wave of teacher strikes across the US is changing the conversation about public education in this country. From West Virginia to Arizona, Kentucky to Oklahoma, Colorado to North Carolina, tens of thousands of teachers have taken to the streets and filled state capitals, garnering public support and racking up victories in some of the nation’s most hostile political terrain.

“Even though the teachers who have gone on strike are paid well below the national average, their demands have gone beyond better salary and benefits for themselves. They have also struck for their students’ needs – to improve classroom quality and to increase classroom resources. Teachers are calling for greater investment in children and the country’s public education system as a whole. They are also demanding that corporations, banks, and billionaires pay their fair share to invest in schools.

“The teachers’ strikes also represent a major pushback by public sector workers against the right-wing agenda of austerity and privatization. The austerity and privatization agenda for education goes something like this: impose big tax cuts for corporations and the .01% and then use declining tax revenue as a rationale to cut funding for state-funded services like public schools. Because they are underfunded, public schools cannot provide the quality education kids deserve. Then, the right wing criticizes public schools and teachers, saying there is a crisis in education. Finally, the right wing uses this as an opportunity to make changes to the education system that benefit them – including offering privatization as a solution that solves the crisis of underfunding.

“While this cycle has put students, parents, and teachers in crisis, many corporations, banks, and billionaires are driving and profiting from it. The key forces driving the austerity and privatization agenda are similar across all the states that have seen strikes:

“*Billionaire school privatizers. A small web of billionaires – dominated by the Koch brothers and their donor network, as well as the Waltons – have given millions to state politicians who will push their pro-austerity, pro-school privatization agenda. These billionaires lead a coordinated, nationwide movement to apply business principles to education, including: promoting CEO-like superintendents, who have business experience but little or no education experience; closing “failing” schools, just as companies close unprofitable stores or factories; aggressively cutting costs, such as by recruiting less experienced teachers; instituting a market-based system in which public schools compete with privately managed charter schools, religious schools, for-profit schools, and virtual schools; and making standardized test scores the ultimate measure of student success.”

Keep reading to learn about the interlocking web that includes the Koch brothers, the Mercers, the Waltons, the fossil fuel industry, their think tanks, and much more, all combined to shrink public schools and replace them with charters and vouchers.

By the way, rightwing billionaire Philip Anschutz of Colorado was the producer of the anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-charter propaganda film “Waiting for Superman.”