Thursday, June 29, 2017

Koch brothers boost effort to bring education savings accounts, or ESAs, to Colorado

Koch brothers boost effort to bring education savings accounts, or ESAs, to Colorado:

An inside look at how the Koch brothers are flexing their political muscle to spread message of school choice, ESAs
From Colorado Springs, the campaign for educational savings accounts – criticized for diverting money from public schools — is shaped to deploy nationwide




COLORADO SPRINGS — In a nondescript office building on the north side of this conservative enclave, more than a dozen volunteers spent hours making calls to educate voters about a new initiative that will allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send children to private schools.
At the same time, just miles down the road, the political network behind the effort gathered hundreds of its wealthiest donors at a posh mountainside resort to raise money to support the campaign to remake the education system.
The confluence of policy and politics epitomized how the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch flex their organization’s muscle and spread an ideological agenda in states across the nation.
“The value of this network cannot be overstated,” said Stacy Hock, a Koch donor and conservative education advocate in Texas. “The ability to stand on the shoulders of the giant that is this network to make yourself more impactful and strategic changes the game.”


The phone calls to middle-of-the-road voters and presentation to donors in Colorado last week were part of the Koch network’s six-figure campaign to promote school choice and education savings accounts, or ESAs.
The effort in Colorado involves the Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the Libre Initiative, a group focused on Hispanic community outreach. Together the organizations are making calls and sending flyers to voters this summer, two of which promote ESAs as a way to “give families the freedom to select schools, classes and services that fit the unique needs of their kids.”
Five states currently offer the accounts as a school-choice option, according to the bipartisan Denver-based National Conference of State Legislatures. The program allows parents to use taxpayer dollars for Koch brothers boost effort to bring education savings accounts, or ESAs, to Colorado:



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