It is useful to read Jan Resseger on anything but especially her summary of Dale Russakoff’s fine article about the Dark Money that robbed the schoolchildren of Arizona. (In case the Russakoff article is behind a pay wall.)

Resseger describes what happened as “cannibalizing” the schools.

This was no accident. What happened to Arizona was a deliberate effort by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity and the DeVos’ American Federation for Prosperity to execute a plan:

1. Reduce income taxes to zero
2. Defund public education
3. Shift school funding to charter schools and vouchers

She writes:

“What has driven political leaders in Arizona to collapse the state education budget, cut taxes, and expand school privatization? Russakoff explains: “In 2016, the Brennan Center for Justice at N.Y.U. School of Law issued a report called “Secret Spending in the States,” finding that dark-money political contributions in Arizona increased from about $600,000 in 2010 to more than $10.3 million million in 2014, the year Ducey was elected governor… In his 2014 gubernatorial campaign, Ducey ran on a pledge to cut taxes every year and drive income tax rates in Arizona ‘as close to zero as possible.’ That year, six dark-money groups spent almost $3.5 million supporting him or attacking his opponents… In 2017, the Koch brothers’ political advocacy arm, Americans for Prosperity, named the Arizona voucher-expansion bill its No. 1 education-reform priority in the country. The American Federation for Children, another bundler of anonymous contributions, funded by the family of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and focused on expanding school choice through charter schools, vouchers and private school scholarships, made it their top priority in the state… For weeks after leaders of Save Our Schools delivered their petitions to the secretary of state, a phalanx of activists from Americans for Prosperity and the American Federation for Children submitted multiple daily objections to individual signatures…. When the state nonetheless certified more than enough signatures as valid, lawyers representing the Koch network filed legal challenges that went all the way to the State Supreme Court but ultimately failed.”

“Russakoff quotes Kelly Berg, a 20-year high school math teacher from Mesa and lifelong Republican, describing her sudden realization last May—as she sat through an all-night deliberation of the State Legislature—of the enormous barrier she and her colleagues face: “We were told to sit down when we stood in agreement…. We were told to remain quiet when applauding when a teacher, who was in tears, was pleading for support for our classes and our students… We were disrespected. We were mocked. We were listened to, but not heard. That’s what radicalized me… As the kids would say, ‘I’m woke.’ ”

“Please do read Dale Russakoff’s fine article. She connects all the pieces of this story—school funding—the role of taxes for buying public services—the impact of tax cuts—the role of far-right money buying politics—the ideology of privatization—and the cost to state budgets and to local school districts when a state undertakes to run a system of private tuition neo-vouchers along with a system of charter schools along with the state’s public school districts all out of one fixed pot of money.

“As Russakoff narrates Arizona’s story, she is also providing an account of what has been happening in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Kansas, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Indiana.”

When you meet progressives who favor charter schools but not vouchers, send them a copy of Dale Russakoff’s article, or Jan Resseger’s summary, so they understand that they have been duped by the billionaires who are behind the curtain. Charters are part of the Dark Money plan to destroy public education.