In addition to the central “corporations are profiting off of education funding without adequately educating kids” story told in Lee Fang’s investigation into for-profit online education companies, there’s a fascinating description of the tactics by which these companies and their lobbyists are getting legislation passed to expand online learning initiatives.
Speaking at a conference organized by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others, Patricia Levesque, a lobbyist and adviser to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Florida Gov. Rick Scott, said that:
[R]eformers should “spread” the unions thin “by playing offense” with decoy legislation. Levesque said she planned to sponsor a series of statewide reforms, like allowing taxpayer dollars to go to religious schools by overturning the so-called Blaine Amendment, “even if it doesn’t pass…to keep them busy on that front.” She also advised paycheck protection, a unionbusting scheme, as well as a state-provided insurance program to encourage teachers to leave the union and a transparency law to force teachers unions to show additional information to the public. Needling the labor unions with all these bills, Levesque said, allows certain charter bills to fly “under the radar.”
Flood the zone with so much horrific stuff that you can get a few things through that don’t look quite so terrible at first glance, but have opportunities for profit buried just below the surface. It’s a strategy Republicans and corporations have used to great effect. Wouldn’t it be great to see unions or other progressive groups going on the offensive like this in some blue states, offering up a slew of bills that would benefit workers, unions, women, gay rights, the environment, whatever. Just make them fight back for a change and create some forward movement somewhere in this country. Then let the results speak for themselves.