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The Koch Brothers and Public School Segregation

In its latest attack on the billionaire Koch brothers, Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films shows how the fearsome libertarian duo used their wealth and power to elect four segregationists to North Carolina’s Wake County school board in 2009.

The candidates and their backers opposed the district’s desegregation policy of mixing students from poor and rich neighborhoods by busing them to the same schools. They did not advertise their intentions so plainly, however. Instead, they mouthed terms like “forced busing” and “neighborhood schools”–phrases that hark back to the campaign of former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who during his 1963 inaugural speech famously said: “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

The four Koch-backed candidates won election to the school board and have since begun to dismantle the busing program despite local protest. –ARK

Mother Jones:

… There are deep connections between the Kochs and Wake County, and it’s all about the money. The latest installment in the left-leaning Brave New Foundation’s “Koch Brothers Exposed” video series reveals how a Koch-founded and funded outfit, Americans for Prosperity, fueled a campaign to “resegregate” the schools of Wake County, a prosperous area in central North Carolina that’s home to the cities of Raleigh and Cary, among others.

The story starts back in 2009, when elections were held for four of Wake County’s nine school board seats—enough seats to dictate the public school district’s agenda if all four board members wanted the same reforms. That’s where Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group, came into play. AFP swooped in to fund and organize on behalf of four candidates who sought to kill the district’s policy of busing to ensure diverse, desegregated public schools. The AFP-backed candidates ran against what they called “forced busing”—a phrase, the film points out, that dates back to George Wallace in the 1970s—and instead stressed that schools should educate only those who lived in the surrounding neighborhood.

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