Christina Wilkie and Joy Resmovitis present their substantial research and excellent investigative report describing Koch Heads: HowThe Koch Brothers Are Buying Their Way Into The Minds Of Public School Students. The Charles G. Koch Foundation is providing generous financial incentives, scholarships, and even start-up capital to teachers who teach, and high school students who complete a year long Koch designed course in "basic economic principles," and how to start a business. The course is being offered by Youth Entrepreneurs, a non-profit company created and funded by the Charles G. Koch.
The official mission of Youth Entrepreneurs is to provide kids with "business and entrepreneurial education and experiences that help them prosper and become contributing members of society." The underlying goal of the program, however, is to impart Koch's radical free-market ideology to teenagers. In the last school year, the class reached more than 1,000 students across Kansas and Missouri.
Working for the Huffington Post, the author obtained class materials advocating libertarian ideas that "(t)he minimum wage hurts workers and slows economic growth. Low taxes and less regulation allow people to prosper. Public assistance harms the poor, (and) Government, in short, is the enemy of liberty."
The emails show that Charles Koch had a hands-on role in the design of the high school curriculum, directly reviewing the work of those responsible for setting up the course. The goal, the group said flatly, was to turn young people into "liberty-advancing agents" before they went to college, where they might learn "harmful" liberal ideas.Wilkie and Resmovitus tell us the Kochs are so pleased with he pilot program they are "pumping millions of dollars into it" to expand the program and further mold it to their worldview. The authors note that with the nation's poorest school districts desperate for resources, receiving free Koch curruculum is an attractive offer too good to refuse.
They also describe how the Koch brothers used a network of libertarian activist groups to identify the first cohort of sympathetic teachers to receive special training and support to get this program into local schools.
During the 2012-2013 school year, YE's credit-bearing class reached more than 1,000 students in 29 schools in Kansas and Missouri, according to the group's annual report. Vernon Birmingham, YE's director of curriculum and teacher support, told HuffPost that the course will be in 42 schools in the coming school year. An offshoot in Atlanta, YE Georgia, reported being in 10 schools in the 2011-2012 school year. Since 2012, YE has also launched three major new initiatives: an online version of its course, an affiliate program to help rural schools access the class, and an after-school program, YE Academy, which served more than 500 students in its first year.What a depressing revelation. The Koch brothers setting up well organized foundations and "charities" to drive their right-wing ideological war into our public education systems. How are we going to counter this with volunteer efforts, by part time people like ourselves that spend our spare time barely keeping up just reading news about conservative initiatives at so many different levels?
"We hope to develop students' appreciation of liberty by improving free-market education," the Koch associates wrote during the program's initial planning stages. "Ultimately, we hope this will change the behavior of students who will apply these principles later on in life."