Tag Archives: Koch Brothers

Who Wanted the State to Spend Tax Dollars on the UA and ASU Koch Centers?

When the Arizona Legislature concluded its 2018 legislative session, its $10 million budget increase for the three state universities (Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University) included $2 million for two schools:

  • One at the University of Arizona (Department of Political Economy and Moral Sciences)
  • The other at Arizona State University (School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership), the later school receiving $100,000 to develop K-12 Civic standards.

With each school receiving $1 million, the three universities had just $8 million in increased funding to spread out over the many programs offered at their campuses. What makes these two schools deserving of such targeted generosity by the State Legislature? Was there a grassroots drive by parent, student, faculty, or administrative groups calling for funding these centers?

No. There was no such movement.

Are these schools offering courses that are not readily accessible at other departments or schools like history or political science?

Not really.

Do the universities conduct nationally-competitive searches to staff these schools? Their recruitment apparently did not follow standard University hiring practices.

Is a  new K-12 “seal” of civic literacy necessary? Not when the Department of Education is in the process of finalizing new Social Studies standards that include civics and economics.

Preferential taxpayer funding

So, why do these two schools get such preferential taxpayer funding and staffing consideration if there is no need and there has been no grassroots desire from the university stakeholders? It is because these schools subscribe to the philosophical dogma and patronage of the Koch Brothers, that they receive the favorable consideration of conservative lawmakers in this and other states across the country at the expense of other funds that could go towards education or priorities like Medicaid and hospital care.

Since the 1970’s, the Koch Brothers, like other advocacy groups, have been utilizing their financial clout to promote their ideological agenda in the political, economic, and educational arenas. To that end, they have been subsidizing political candidates and “Freedom Schools,” and other educational programs at learning institutions like George Mason University, Florida State University, The University of Kansas, and Ball State. The University of Arizona and Arizona State University are recent additions to the Freedom School Ledger. Another university, Montana State, has voted not to join this network.

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Moving Forward: What is next for Red For Ed?

Arizona Educators United spokesman Noah Karvelis stands beside dozens of teachers and public education advocates protesting

Arizona Educators United spokesman Noah Karvelis stands beside dozens of teachers and public education advocates protesting.

Fresh off the week-long statewide teacher walkout, Red for Ed co-leader Noah Karvelis answered questions on what his organization accomplished and where its members will channel their energies in the coming months. Karvelis expressed happiness with the movement they were able to energize, the “empowerment” Arizona teachers harnessed in the walkout, and the down payment in increasing funds towards our state schools. This was more impressive given that the Red for Ed Movement did not negotiate directly with Governor Ducey or any of his allies.

He acknowledged the contributions of other leading Red for Ed Team Members like Derek Harris, Rebecca Garelli, Dylan Wegela, Vanessa Arredondo, Heather Nieto, Brittani Karbginsky, Kelley Fisher, Kellee Wolfe, and Cat Barrett,

Moving forward,  Karvelis (who is also the campaign manager for Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidate Kathy Hoffman), said that the goals for Red for Ed are to bring education funding to the level where it was in 2008. What passed the State Legislature last week was still $700 million short of restoring parity to our education funding needs. To that end, the movement will champion and campaign for the Invest in Ed Ballot Initiative.

Saying the wealthy should pay their “fair share,” Karvelis expressed reservations about a sales tax to fully fund education, calling it “regressive.” He favors Invest in Education coupled with other measures that would bring in funds from a “devoted revenue source” such as income tax increases with a trigger to adjust funds for inflation.

On other education-related issues, Karvelis conveyed that support staff should perhaps be salaried instead of hourly wage employees. Furthermore, he indicated that a $100,000 grant to the Koch sponsored-centers at Arizona State University and University of Arizona was “highly problematic” and indicative of an organization using public funds to “proliferate their agenda.”  Finally, on Proposition 305, Mr. Karvelis wrote that school vouchers with public funds were a “direct attack on public schools and public education.” He also stated that “public dollars should be spent on public schools, not on vouchers for private and charter schools.”

Mr. Karvelis and his team should be congratulated for the positive change they have helped usher in for Arizona’s public schools. Congratulations and thanks should also be extended to everyone that was willing to fight for better conditions for Arizona children’s schooling. As Karvelis and the other members of Red for Ed would point out, there is a long road moving forward. There are pro-education candidates to support in the November elections.

Voters need to read where each candidate, from both parties, stand on the issues of moving children’s education forward to help make an informed decision. There are ballot initiatives to fight for and against. Finally, there are dark money and open reactionary interests to ward off. If the people make fully informed decisions and objectively evaluate where the candidates stand on the issues, the sun should rise on a bright day on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.

 

 

Professors Lay Bare Koch Scheme to Corrupt Arizona Universities

150 people attended "Dark Money, Charles Koch, and the UA Freedom Center" at the University of Arizona.

150 people attended “Dark Money, Charles Koch, and the UA Freedom Center” at the University of Arizona.

Professors and activists laid bare the Koch Brothers’ plot to corrupt Arizona’s universities to advance their anti-worker, anti-consumer and anti-public school agenda. 150 people attended “Dark Money, Charles Koch, and the UA Freedom Center” at the Tucson UA campus.

The speakers called on University President Robert C. Robbins to put the so-called “Freedom Center” under rigorous scrutiny, and they urged citizens to call and write Koch-funded Gov. Ducey to end the unique $2.5 million budget line-items especially for the Freedom Center.

Freedom Center DonorsThey are members of Kochs Off Campus! — a nonpartisan group of Tucson residents, UA faculty and students concerned about the undue influence of right-wing money on public education.

Donors to the Freedom Center are a whos-who of right-wing advocates, including the Charles G. Koch Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, Randy and Ken Kendrick, the Thomas W. Smith Foundation and even local car dealer Jim Click, according to Douglas Weiner, Professor of History.

“There has been a lack of transparency in the operation of the Freedom Center,” Weiner said, pointing out secret donor agreements, undisclosed donors and surreptitious planting of Koch textbooks in Tucson high schools.

“One of the biggest issues of the academic neutrality of the Freedom Center is that Director David Schmidtz has a long association with libertarian politics,” Weiner said.

See Koch Brothers Deeply Infect the U of A and Tucson Schools.

Koch Structure for “Social Change”

The Koch brothers political agenda is to promote private schools, defund public education, eliminate consumer and environmental protections, minimize employee rights, and abolish taxes on their businesses.

Samantha Parsons, Campaign Organizer of UnKoch My Campus, said 419 campuses have taken funding from the Kochs. “It is highly inappropriate for a donor to have this control over a university. They are holding the universities hostage,” she said.
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A Pall is Cast over McSally Senate Bid by Election Result in Pennsylvania

A blue wave is cresting in American politics.

A blue wave is cresting in American politics.

There is definitely a blue wave cresting in American politics. When it hits Arizona, it will spell doom for the Martha McSally campaign for US Senate.

As of last December, Democrats won a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, won the governorship in New Jersey, took full control of the Washington state government, and swept elective offices statewide in Virginia. Now voters in Pennsylvania elected a Democratic Congressmen in a deep-red district.

Even though the Democrats had less in campaign funds, were outspent by out-of-state PACs and ran in districts carried by the president, they are still finding a way to win.

Congresswoman Martha McSally snuggles up to President Donald Trump.

Congresswoman Martha McSally snuggles up to President Donald Trump.

Trump is poison. Even in conservative districts, Trump is unpopular. Democrat Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania won a stunning upset against a Republican who was chiefly a stand-in for Trump and who endorsed Trump’s tawdry agenda. Trump energizes Democrats, and his two appearances drove independents to vote for the Democrat.

McSally, a nondescript Republican, votes in line with Trump 97.1%. She defended Trump from criticism by Sen. Jeff Flake. McSally has sent out photos of herself with the president and with first daughter Ivanka Trump. McSally appeared on Fox News to sing the president’s praises. Her announcement video features Trump saying, “Martha McSally, she’s the real deal.”

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Koch Brothers Deeply Infect the U of A and Tucson Schools

University of Arizona History Professor David N. Gibbs

University of Arizona history professor David N. Gibbs described how deeply the billionaire Koch brothers have infected the University and Tucson high schools with millions of dollars for right-wing propaganda.

The Charles Koch Foundation made a $1.8 million grant to the University of Arizona’s “Freedom Center,” which is a conservative think tank designed to turn students into lobbyists. It produced a bogus economics textbook that was recently abandoned by Tucson high schools.

The Freedom Center also got a $2.9 million grant from the Templeton Foundation, a part of the Koch network that seeks to corrupt the discussion of science in the interests of religion.

“This is a center that should not be on a university campus,” Gibbs said at a meeting of Democrats of Greater Tucson. “I am surprised that the Philosophy Department is affiliated with something so dodgy and naive about how this will affect their reputation.”

Hiring right-wing faculty

The Freedom Center just spread its tentacles to a spin-off in the University’s “Department of Political Economy and Moral Science,” staffed with key personnel from the center. The purpose is to “hire faculty in economics without the approval of the University’s Economics Department,” Gibbs said.

The Freedom center has used the Koch money “to hire four right-wing faulty, making the Philosophy Department a hotbed of right-wing thinking,” Gibbs said.

“The Koch family not only wants to be able to use money without regulation and taxes, it wants it to be viewed as moral. What better way to do that than by affiliating with a university. That’s the objective, to establish a moral basis,” Gibbs said.
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Koch-Funded Prof Back Again with Lecture Against Public Schools

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Remember professor Jonny Anomaly? When faced with public outrage last September, he canceled his anti-public school lecture at a Koch-funded University of Arizona class in Tucson.

Like Jack Nicholson in The Shining…he’s back. Anomaly will present “Public Goods and Education” on Thursday, January 25 at 12:30 pm in the Maloney Room, Social Science building 224, on the UofA Campus in Tucson.

The class description reads:

“But public financing of education can produce negative externalities by creating perverse incentives, and a public monopoly on the delivery of education can discourage experimentation and turn schools into an outlet for intellectual fads and political propaganda.”

“I conclude with a note of skepticism about the desirability of direct government involvement in education, even if it plays a limited role in financing it through vouchers, grants, or loans that can be redeemed at accredited schools.”

This talk is directly from the propaganda playbook of the right-wing Koch Brothers, their front group Americans for Prosperity, and their toady — anti-education Governor Doug Ducey.

The dark-money Charles G. Koch foundation donated $1 million to the UofA to create the “Center for the Philosophy of Freedom,” which is a think tank designed to turn students into future lobbyists for the right-wing, anti-education foundation.

Bogus economic analysis

Concerned parents, teachers, and elected representatives should attend to ask why a publicly-funded university is being utilized as an indoctrination tool to sabotage publicly-funded education.
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