Number 16 - November 14, 2002
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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
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 concoction."
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 corps."
"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 the subsidy.
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,
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
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 so.
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.
To learn more about
Fruit of the Poisoned Tree:
The Hard Right's Plan to Capture Newark, April 5, 2002
The Hard Right Enters Through the Schoolhouse Door, July 11, 2002
People for the American
Way. Progressive think-tank. Report on Black Alliance for Educational
news, research on conservative foundations. Search for BAEO funding.
Black Alliance for