Funding a Movement

PFAW Analysis of U.S. Department of Education Grantmaking Reveals Steady Stream of Public Funds to Support School Privatization

An initial People For the American Way analysis of federal education grants has uncovered a pattern of major — and at times unsolicited — grants made to a small cadre of pro-voucher private advocacy groups. The funds diverted to these groups total more than $75 million over the last three years, and were doled out by the U.S. Department of Education despite chronic underfunding of the Bush administration’s own landmark ‘No Child Left Behind’ education legislation.

“As the Bush administration has closed the tap on education funding, even abandoning much of its commitment to ‘No Child Left Behind’ and other critical education programs like IDEA and Headstart, money is flowing to private, pro-voucher advocacy groups,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “This administration is sending millions of taxpayer dollars to groups that have been built by an interconnected network of right-wing foundations dedicated to privatizing education in America.”

PFAW’s analysis traces the millions from the Department of Education to various initiatives sponsored by pro-voucher, pro-privatization groups such as the Black Alliance for Education Options, the Hispanic Council for Reform and Education Options, the Education Leaders Council, and the Center for Education Reform.

“The mission of the Department of Education is to advance and promote public education,” said Neas. “Why is the Department handing out $75 million to groups whose work undermines public education?”

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