Alex Constantine - April 21, 2013
In a new report, entitled “P is for Payoff: Inside the Bradley Foundation’s Campaign to Privatize Education in Wisconsin,” the non-profit activist group One Wisconsin Now has detailed the Bradley Foundation’s funding of a coordinated campaign to promote school privatization in Wisconsin and across the nation.
The report “reveals a web of right-wing groups are part of a $31 million-plus propaganda campaign pushing a massive privatization of public education in Wisconsin. Underwriting the effort is the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, headed by Gov. Scott Walker's campaign co-chair, Michael Grebe."
Recipients of the funding are detailed in the graphic below.
In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget for 2013-2015 would expand voucher programs around the state, after previous expansions in the 2011-2013 biennial budget. The new budget proposes increasing spending on voucher programs by 32 percent. This follows on a decades-long effort to promote school vouchers in Wisconsin, an effort first started by Governor Tommy Thompson and later taken up by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). See the ALEC privatization bills here.
According to Scot Ross, the Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now, the Bradley-funded effort "has left no stone unturned, and it seems, almost no right wing organization unfunded in their quest to foist their education privatization scheme on Wisconsin."
Pro-Voucher Campaign Funding Detailed
This report comes on the heels of a review from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign of political spending by voucher proponents. The review reveals that pro-voucher interests have spent nearly $10 million in the past 10 years in Wisconsin, with much of that going to Governor Scott Walker. “Walker has received $2.35 million in campaign contributions and outside spending support from individuals and groups that back school vouchers since his first run for governor in 2006.”
The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign found that much of the pro-voucher spending is coming from out of state. “Spending by school choice backers included $2.8 million in individual campaign contributions to mostly Republican and conservative candidates for statewide office… Nearly two-thirds of the $2.8 million from school choice backers came from individuals outside the state.”