"This is the camel's nose under the tent," said Patrick Byrne, who...gave $70,000 to the local pro-voucher group Parents for Choice in Education. "If it takes hold here and proceeds here it will have a demonstrative effect that no other states can afford to ignore."
By afford to ignore, I think he means politicians will have to support it because big moneyed donors from out of state will get pro-public school politicians out of office.
Nearly half the money the group spent on legislative campaigns came from a political action committee called All Children Matter based out of Alexandria, Va., that has its headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich. All Children Matter donated $240,000 to Parents for Choice in Education in 2006 and about $250,000 during the 2004 campaign cycle, finance reports in Utah show.
Utah was one of 10 states that All Children Matter has targeted to affect state elections, spending about $8 million nationwide in the 2003-04 election cycle. It is an organization dedicated to supporting candidates who favor charter schools and voucher programs.
It's largely financed by heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune and the founders of Amway, according to finance reports in Virginia.
In 2004, Jim Walton and John Walton, children of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, each donated more than $3 million to All Children Matter, the reports showed.
In 2006, the estate of John Walton donated another $4.1 million, the reports showed.
Each one of these groups are right-wing organizations that are more anti-union than pro-education, especially the Walton family.
I don't blindly support whatever teacher's unions, or other unions want, but I fail to see how unionization is the cause of Utah's educational struggles. It has far more to do with class size & per pupil spending. More, highly-trained teachers and better facilities (and better student loans) will go a long way towards Utah's education problems, vouchers will not.
But if the anti-union out-of-state corporatists have their way, our public school system will suffer and then die.