Bush Administration is directly funding a media campaign by
the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), the school
vouchers propaganda outfit created by the far-right Bradley
Foundation. The blatant political nature of the gift could
not be plainer. "We want to change the conversation about
parental choice by positively influencing individuals who
are resisting parental choice options and get them to reconsider
their outlook," said Undersecretary of Education Gene
Hickok, announcing a $600,000 grant to the BAEO.
taxpayer-funded propaganda blitz targeting Black parents will
be the second for the BAEO. The front-group's 2000-2001media
campaign, valued at an estimated $3 million from Hard Right
and corporate bankrollers, inundated print and electronic
media in selected cities. It was the coming-out party for
the BAEO, which had shortly before been check-booked into
existence by Michael Joyce, then executive director of the
Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation. Bradley has given the
BAEO well over $2 million since inventing the front organization
in August, 2000. The ultra-right Walton Family Foundation
also helped jump-start the BAEO with $900,000, according to
People for the American Way.
also channeled at least $1 million to Charles Murray, author
of "The Bell Curve," the book that gave academic
respectability to the theory that Blacks are intellectually
inferior to whites. Joyce left Bradley in June to devote full
time to his Washington lobbying firm, Americans for Community
and Faith-Centered Enterprise. He has permanent access to
George Bush's ear, having been the principal architect of
Republican social policy over the last decade. It was Joyce
who inspired the GOP's faith-based initiatives strategy and
the party's most restrictive welfare "reforms,"
as well as the vouchers offensive among Blacks.
BC reported in our July 11 issue, the Bradley Foundation is
the "paymaster of the Right. Since 1985, the foundation
has spent close to $400 million to invent and fund a host
of phony civil rights, environmental, women's, small business,
student, and other front organizations tailored to serve its
corporate agenda. The school voucher 'movement' was one such
a movement through media
the efforts of Bradley-funded think tanks like the American
Enterprise Institute and the Manhattan Institute, the illusion
has been created of a Black grassroots movement for vouchers.
Federal dollars will now magnify the lie, for public and media
consumption. It will also provide the BAEO with enormous political
patronage opportunities. "The full-scale media campaign
will use direct mail, television, radio, newspapers, the Internet
and door-to-door visits," reads the Education Department
press release. "BAEO also will provide direct assistance
to eligible parents through call centers and local volunteer
phony "movement," invented by rich, racist white
men in Milwaukee, is being foisted on a Black and Latino public,
paid for with the people's tax money.
Bush Administration is engaged in a shameless abuse of the
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, passed overwhelming with
support from both sides of the Senate and House, and crafted
largely by Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy. Under cover
of informing parents of options available within public
school systems, the BAEO is encouraged to use public money
to rally political support for private schools funding - its
only reason for existence.
gave lip service to the intent of the legislation when he
signed the measure, early this year." These reforms express
my deep belief in our public schools and their mission to
build the mind and character of every child, from every background,
in every part of America," said the Prevaricator-in-Chief.
months later, following the U.S. Supreme Court decision paving
the way for private school vouchers, Bush paid homage to the
Bradley Foundation, the deep pockets behind the "movement."
Bradley Foundation has always been willing to seek different
solutions," said Bush. "They've been willing to
challenge the status quo. They'd say, where we find failure,
something else must occur. And the foundation not only has
been kind and generous with its donations, the foundation
also has been willing to help people think anew."
Bush has put Bradley's creation, the BAEO, on the federal
payroll. "This grant is one of many vital components
that will enable us to advance BAEO's work and its mission,"
said BAEO chief executive Lawrence C. Patrick III, accepting
BAEO's mission is privatization.
grant for the media campaign was announced at a charter school
in Philadelphia, one of
the cities targeted for political conversion along with Dallas,
Detroit and, of course, Milwaukee. Detroit and the rest of
Michigan overwhelmingly rejected a private school voucher
referendum two years ago; the federal money gives the BAEO
another shot at proselytizing among "parents and community
members in economically disadvantaged, at-risk communities."
under the firm political grip of the Bradley Foundation, is
already host to a voucher program involving 10,000 students.
The federal "informational" monies will doubtless
supplement the paychecks of Bradley's African American operatives,
further distorting that city's Black political structures.
is the choicest prize to the privatizers of the BAEO. Sitting
among the motley BAEO board of Republicans and education business
hustlers are Floyd Flake, the former Democratic congressman
from Queens, NY, and president of Edison Charter Schools,
and Deborah McGriff, a former Milwaukee Schools superintendent
and president of Edison Teachers College. Edison is the for-profit
vulture of public education. Its stock value rises and falls
with the number of "failing" public schools it can
cut deals to take over. Twenty Philadelphia schools have been
placed under Edison's control. Quite literally, Flake and
McGriff have a vested interest in the failure of public education.
the cash infusion from Bush's Education Department, the BAEO
will be able to put more of its political troops on the streets,
infesting parent and neighborhood meetings, spreading the
voucher gospel. Federally financed radio and print ads will
work relentlessly to create the sound and fury of a "movement"
that exists only because Bush, Bradley and the rich make it
hustlers such as Cory Booker, the BAEO board member, unsuccessful
Newark mayoral candidate, darling of the corporate media,
and leading Black, nominal Democrat booster for school vouchers,
also benefit directly from the $600,000 Department of Education
gift. His political fortunes rise along with those of the
phony Black voucher "movement."
biggest beneficiary is the Republican Party - in a sense,
Bush is converting Education Department funds into African
American GOP and Democrat Trojan Horse cadre development money.
Vouchers are the GOP's wedge into Black America, a people
for whom education is the dearest priority.
Chairman Howard Fuller, whose Marquette University-based Institute
for the Transformation of Learning was sustained by at least
$900,000 from the Bradley Foundation, tells his followers
that their mission is "to change the face" of pro-voucher
politics. Fuller is married to Edison Teachers College president
Deborah McGriff - a household built on undermining public
education and Black political cohesion. The entire voucher
enterprise is incestuous and thoroughly corrupt - the true
character of what is advertised as the "new Black politics."
remain convinced that history is on the side of the families
and their right to make choices for their children,"
Howard Fuller told his new paymaster, Undersecretary of Education
Hickok, in Philadelphia. "This partnership is a perfect
match," Hickok beamed. He's correct: a rightwing, Republican
match with the most dangerous race-sellers in Black America.
learn more about the BAEO:
of the Poisoned Tree: The Hard Right's Plan to Capture Newark,
April 5, 2002
Tricksters: The Hard Right Enters Through the Schoolhouse
Door, July 11, 2002
for the American Way. Progressive think-tank. Report on Black
Alliance for Educational Options.
Transparency, news, research on conservative foundations.
Search for BAEO funding.
Alliance for Educational Options
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