Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

Assistant Professor Jonathan Anomaly

The Koch Brothers “Freedom Center” lecture against public education and in favor of privatization of education is set for Thursday, Sept. 21 at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

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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.

The lecture, entitled “Public Goods and Education,” will be delivered by libertarian professor Jonathan Anomaly in Social Sciences 332 from 12:30 to 1:45 pm on Sept. 21. Anomaly was imported in 2017 from Duke University, where he founded the Heterodox Academy website, set up to fight a perceived liberal bias in universities.

Because the lecture is political propaganda, it has caused concern among Tucson’s elected leaders. The Koch Brothers’ extreme right-wing agenda has sabotaged public education in the state and promoted school vouchers to funnel taxpayer money into for-profit private and religious schools.

In August, more than 111,000 Arizona parents and voters signed petitions circulated by Save Our Schools Arizona in opposition to a new state law creating school vouchers that undermine public schools. The measure to veto the law is set to be on a referendum ballot in November 2018.

The abstract of Assistant Professor Anomaly’s talk describes education as a “good,” like a box of cereal, which students “consume.” The lecture makes a bogus economic analysis of  “markets for education,” as if it were a product to be bought and sold.

The lecture is a diatribe against unions and “bureaucrats with monopoly power.” It is a clear example of how dark money politics are subverting higher education in Arizona.

For example, Anomaly writes:

“The public supply of education often results in bad teaching, political indoctrination, and a system of certification and promotion that deters many smart people from wanting to become teachers.”

“The public goods argument does seem to justify some public financing of education, perhaps through a voucher program.”

“New nationwide standards for examining knowledge of American history were designed that showed a significant left-leaning (or “progressive”) bias.”

“Unions in many American states have made it difficult to fire teachers, and have lobbied against performance-based pay and in favor of requirements for teachers to go through extensive certifications that deter capable people from entering the profession.”

“Bureaucrats with monopoly power rarely have the relevant information or motivation to find the best ways to structure schools and reward innovative teachers and teaching methodologies.”

“Education steeped in political correctness creates negative externalities like emotional fragility.”

“At the level of primary and secondary school, teachers are typically given curricula devised by state bureaucrats rather than encouraged to design methods of teaching that best promote the interests of students.”

“State subsidies for some purposes, such as vouchers for primary and secondary school, may have real benefits by increasing choice.”

It is alarming to see that a public university is now being used for political purposes to undermine the essential public nature of the school itself.

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