Thursday, February 16, 2012

Heartland Institute caught with anti-public school pants down.

UPDATE: 2/21/12: Peter Gleick: I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public. I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents or to the original anonymous communication-Huffington Post. 

In a nice piece of reporting, Blue Cheddar brought to light this interesting angle on public education by the Heartland Institute, a…and you’ll love this, non-partisan libertarian group tied in with ALEC.

But the Heartland Institute is in repair mode right now, trying to convince the media they're not as crazy fringe as their policy statements suggests.
jsonline-Dan Bice: "Operation Angry Badger" purportedly describes a Heartland Institute proposal that would cost about $612,000 and focus on promoting Wisconsin Act 10, which curtailed collective bargaining for most public-sector workers. "Operation Angry Badger" purportedly describes a Heartland Institute proposal that would cost about $612,000 and focus on promoting Wisconsin Act 10, which curtailed collective bargaining for most public-sector workers.

Promoting Act 10 helps them targeted public teachers for extinction, to push their privatization agenda. A few screen shots tell the whole story.

Research shows "virtual learning" is a disaster; Voucher schools don't measure up to public schools; And the parental trigger allows a gang of angry parents influence by the likes of local Heartland Institute agitators, or anyone else, to dismantle public schools. It's the easy solution. Think about it, there isn't one idea here about how to teach a particular subject.

While Heartland denies that the plan below is theirs, and that some of the documents are pure fabrications, who are you going to believe? It looks like we've got another radical fringe group to keep our eye on and expose.

According to the documentation posted at Blue Cheddar, this section deals with education, one of THE issues I like to cover here extensively:
From page 13 of the Heartland Institute’s 2012 Fundraising Plan:
We are contemplating five projects:
1. Recruit and promote superintendents who support Act 10*
2. Explain the benefits of Act 10
3. Document the shortcomings of public schools in Wisconsin
4. Expose teacher pay in key districts
5. Create blogs that shadow small town newspaper coverage of the controversy

Heartland Institute is based in Chicago and refers to itself as a “non-partisan think tank”. It’s a member of ALEC and it grew out of David H. Padden’s Chicago “Loop Libertarian League”.
I tend to believe the "plan." Heartland got caught, and is now spinning the facts. Nothing is more transparent that the statement they posted on their home page:

Yesterday afternoon, two advocacy groups posted online several documents they claimed were The Heartland Institute’s 2012 budget, fundraising, and strategy plans. Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered. the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed. We respectfully ask all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, especially the fake “climate strategy” memo and any quotations from the same, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

Dan Bice asked around and came up with this:
Maureen Martin, a Heartland senior fellow for legal affairs, will be the project's chief researcher and writer, the document says. Martin, a resident of Green Lake, declined to comment when reached Thursday.

John Johnson, a spokesman for the Department of Public Instruction, said what was contained in the document was "just breathtaking. This year and next year school districts are dealing with the biggest budget cuts ever," he said. "Instead of supporting 860,000 kids who go to public schools in Wisconsin, people organize money to discredit the schools. It's pretty sad."

"When did we lose our clean state?" said Miles Turner, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators. "I wish our local political situation could be left to our local state people," he added. "I wish Wisconsin was not being such a heavy target of national groups of both sides."

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