By Doug Martin at Hoosier School Heist
As I detail in my book Hoosier School Heist, the so-called school reform movement in Indiana and elsewhere is led by billionaires who fund legislators to support bills to privatize public schools. Some political donors seek taxpayer money for their own charter schools. Others have so much money they are merely using their wealth to chip away at public education until a completely free-market system replaces it, one often based on corruption, crony capitalism, and rightwing Christian fundamentalism.
Jim Lucas, the Indiana Republican lawmaker from District 69 in the Seymour area, has had his fair share of campaign money from those involved in this takeover of public education.
In 2010, Lucas received, in total, $24,650 from the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC. For years, as I note in Hoosier School Heist , this PAC has been backed by Walmart, Amway, hedge fund managers, and several wealthy Indiana businesspeople, among others in and out of Indiana.
Walmart’s Walton family and many wealthy donors use a front-group called American Federation for Children to funnel money into the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC (see its new name below), which, in turn, funds the politicians who support school privatization.
To keep him onboard with the school privatization agenda, in 2012 the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC gifted Lucas $7,000 and another $1,000 in 2014. That year, Walmart’s Wal*Pac added $500 to Lucas’ campaign chest (see page 4). The previous year, Wal*Pac had only given Lucas $300 (see page 6).
Since the Hoosiers for Economic Growth PAC changed its name to Hoosiers for Quality Education recently, it has given over $400,000 to Indiana Republican candidates and committees since 2014. One of these is the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee, which also has been a chief Lucas funder.
Those in Jim Lucas’ Southern Indiana, please take note. School privatization is bad for students, teachers, and communities. When Walmart moves into US communities with tax breaks from the government, the mom-and-pop shops close and Walmart workers, not able to making a living wage, need the help of taxpayers to feed their children. This is what Walmart and billionaires envision, too, for the schools, when veteran teachers are replaced by a temporary workforce, aides get laid off, and corporate charter schools run by wealthy CEOs get build on every block. When it gets so bad for the community school even the star basketball team goes, or worse.
Doug Martin is the author of Hoosier School Heist : How Corporations and Theocrats Stole Democracy From Public Education, a book being read in over 130 cities and towns and 79 Indiana counties, 25 states, and the District of Columbia. A regular guest on national and Indiana radio talk shows such as Justin Oakley’s Just Let Me Teach and Amos Brown’s Afternoons with Amos, Dr. Martin’s research has been or will soon be featured in the Washington Post Answer Sheet , ABC’s Nightline, and the Associated Press.