Teachers Say NO Koch in Schools

BRI_Koch-GIn November of 2014, the Zinn Education Project published a widely circulated exposé of the Koch Brothers influence on K-12 civics education. Called “The Koch Brothers Sneak into School,” the article explained:

The billionaire brothers, Charles and David Koch, make their money in fossil fuels. They use some of their vast wealth to fund a network of organizations to push their interests. One of these is the Bill of Rights Institute.

The Kochs have funneled millions of dollars to the Bill of Rights Institute to promote their right-wing version of freedom: Government regulation is bad, the free-market knows best. The Kochs’ formula: profit from fossil fuels, support politicians who cut public school funding and social programs, give money to groups like the Bill of Rights Institute who tell the world that this is what freedom looks like.

The exposé, by Rethinking Schools editor Bill Bigelow, was published in the Huffington Post, Common Dreams, ZNet, and Diane Ravitch’s blog.

Two weeks later, we organized a (silent) protest of the Koch Foundation funded Bill of Rights Institute at the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference in Boston. The Bill of Rights Institute had a booth at the conference and our Zinn Education Project booth was just two aisles away.

We printed #NoKochInSchools signs so that teachers could expose the implications of the Koch Brothers in our schools. Everyone wanted to join in and publicly express their outrage.

Update: The Bill of Rights Institute did not have a booth at the 2015 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) annual conference in New Orleans. They have had a booth each year since then.




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3 comments on “Teachers Say NO Koch in Schools

  1. Douglas Graney on

    I am a teacher at a high school outside Washington, DC. I self-describe as left of center and have voted for Obama twice and would again if I could. I have participated in seminars at the Bill of Rights Institute and have appeared in one of their videos. I have also set up a Constitution Club sponsored by BRI and received money for the club from BRI. The seminars were attended by teachers with a wide range of political thought and all political statements were met with respect. The money for the Constitution Club went towards field trips to meet a member of Congress, attend a Supreme Court Case and visiting a foreign embassy. BRI put no restrictions on who we would see or what we would say. There are things I don’t like about the Koch Brothers but BRI is a positive for education. For what it’s worth I’ve used some of Howard Zinn’s writings in my teaching. There is room for both.

  2. ann price on

    This would be a criminal act if the Koch brothers had any influence in our schools. They are racist money grabbers who have no interest in the well being of our children. They only want to turn them in to bigots for their right wing politics. We need to keep them out of education and our politics. Stop their influence in our politics and our schools and children. They are very dangerous individuals. They probably supported the Bush administration torture and want to suppress human rights. They need to be stopped!

  3. Joe Montuoiri on

    I can’t seem to get off the Koch brothers’ , er, I mean, the Bill of Rights Institute’s email distribution list. The “unsubscribe” link hasn’t been effective. Should I be surprised?

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