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One very intended consequence of the Republican party’s effort to open up Tennessee to corporate contributions is a flood of unaccountable, out-of-state money coming into the state to run negative and misleading campaigns against candidates who want to improve our schools and grow the economy for the middle class.
One such group that is trying to buy this election is the Orwellian-named group “American Federation for Children.” This organization, run by Betsy DeVos, wife of right-wing billionaire and top GOP funder Dick DeVos, is dedicated to one principle – the elimination of public education in America. Their main focus is to destroy public education by eliminating funding for public schools and shift money towards vouchers and for-profit schools.
Recently, we’ve seen negative mail pieces (which don’t even mention education policy) flooding state legislative districts in Tennessee through its Tennessee shell PAC called Tennessee Federation for Children (run by a DC lobbyist Lisa Lisker). One mail-piece being run against Jim Hackworth (D-33), attacks him for voting to increase the tax on tobacco to pay for – get this – EDUCATION! Yes, the supposedly pro-children, pro-education PAC thinks that people should vote against someone for voting to increase money that goes towards educating children.
Let’s be clear here. These groups are not spending money out of the kindness of their hearts. They are not pumping in hundreds of thousands of dollars into our state because they think John Ragan or any of the other Republican legislators are good people. No, they are buying something. They are buying a Tennessee government that will push their model legislation and become a testing ground for every crackpot right-wing education proposal – from virtual schools, to school vouchers, to the eventual elimination of public schools altogether.
These groups don’t care about your kids, they don’t care about our future; all they care about is an ideologically perverse idea that government is always bad – even when it comes to ensuring a quality education for all children.
We MUST stop them from destroying our state.
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