This may be one of the scariest articles I have read in a long time. Over the past 5 years the Koch Brothers have been developing their own high school business curriculum designed to debunk what they believe are “common economic fallacies” and develop “liberty-advancing agents” inoculated from what they view as the harmful liberal ideas being taught in public schools today. They provide Koch approved lesson plans, videos and tests for free, hire Koch approved teachers who they train for free and even pay for guest speakers and field trips. After the completion of the course, students can participate in Koch funded events that earn the students credits that are redeemable for business start-up capital or tuition for higher education. The more you participate, the more money you earn and the more you learn about the Koch Brothers radical pro business, anti government ideology.
Some would argue that a high school course that teaches entrepreneurship isn’t a bad thing. I would agree. But the Kochs aren’t really interested in creating entrepreneurs. They just want to create more conservative minded voters. If the goal was business education they would be recruiting teachers with business or economic backgrounds. Instead they are simply looking for teachers that are good at connecting with students and delivering a message regardless of their specific expertise.
“We really look for teachers who are able to motivate and move students, move the needle. We don’t care if it’s a music teacher.”
Since Koch provides all the materials and the message, they just just need someone willing to follow the script and effectively deliver that message straight into the cerebral cortex of the young students. No business experience is necessary because that isn’t really what it is they want to teach. The curriculum instead focuses on how regulations harm the economy, how unions don’t really care about the worker, how FDR’s New Deal didn’t really get us out of the Great Depression and how minimum wage requirements harm workers. In other words, typical big business conservative/libertarian/Tea Party talking points dressed up as advanced education.
A good test of whether or not this is suitable for our public school students or not is to ask conservatives how they would feel about an ideologically biased high school business course designed by Warren Buffet or George Soros. I’m pretty sure that FOX News would have their freak out dial turned up to 11 and Rush Limbaugh would be apoplectic.
High school kids could certainly benefit from business courses, but teach the nuts and bolts about starting and running a business, not political ideology or high level economic theory. They need to know how to build a business in the real world of supply, demand, wages and taxes, not study the theoretical economic arguments of Hayek. But that wouldn’t suit the Koch’s purpose. All they really want is to create good little conservative drones that will grow up to become front line soldiers in the Koch brothers multi-generational war against progressives. They outrageously believe that the American classroom is a suitable place to build that army. Don’t let them. Share this article and shine a light on the Kochs so they can scurry back into the dark where they belong.
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