Conservatives Plan 2014 Assault on Education, Healthcare, Workers’ Comp and Environment

474px-human-brain_257Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

According to internal documents obtained by the British newspaper and published online Thursday, the Guardian reports that more than forty state-level conservative groups are planning a “US-wide assault” on “education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment.”

If you want to know how the right-wing State Policy Network—in concert with a network of other national and state-level conservative policy groups—has been able to overrun state legislatures with “model legislation” that carries the interest of the nation’s wealthiest corporations and individuals while undermining workers and communities, the ream of grant proposals obtained by the newspaper tell the tale.

For the second time this week, the Guardian has published internal documents from an influential U.S. conservative organizing group that reveals rare insight into how they operate and the way smaller, local groups vie for portions of the large amount of money made available by people like the Kochs brothers and other funders of the conservative, Tea Party cabal.

According to the Guardian:

Conservative groups across the US are planning a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.

The strategy for the state-level organisations, which describe themselves as “free-market thinktanks”, includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

The policy goals are contained in a set of funding proposals obtained by the Guardian. The proposals were co-ordinated by the State Policy Network, an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy at state level.

Partnering with local news outlets, the Guardian shared some of the documents in obtained in order to have journalists more familiar with state politics and trends explore the implications of how these nationally-coordinated conservative policies, if enacted, would play out with the communities that will ultimately feel them.

As part of their reporting on the documents, the Guardian published all forty of the proposal sent by state-level groups to SPN for approval.

Read more here.

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  • misinformation

    I can’t think of a more effective assault on education than the decades long program called government schooling.

    *edit

    I don’t remember how I fecked up my account(s) to move between misinformation and moremisinformation. Maybe it depends on how BS-filled my post is?

    • DeepCough

      Education has always been a matter of the state.

      • misinformation

        Schooling is a matter for the state. Education has nothing to do with either of them.

        • DeepCough

          Then how do you explain the Department of Education or State Board of Education? And where do most people get their education, if you don’t mind my asking?

          • misinformation

            They can call it whatever they want – you know, ‘Ministry Of Love’ and all that – schooling and education are not the same. I would contend that most (if you’ll allow the indulgence of a word to be wary of) people receive enough ‘education’, to maintain the status quo.

            For instance, most (there it is again) people who leave government schooling only have a grasp on passive literacy (and there is a lot of evidence to deny even that) – essentially, reading. That reading of course, happens without context, innuendo, nuance, etc. A relatively small amount leave schooling having acquired the active literacies – persuasive writing, rhetoric. This is only one example of the differences.

            Education is a lifelong, self-directed process. Schooling is a top-down, hierarchical, one-size-fits-all, social control/indoctrination center.

          • DeepCough

            From Dictionary.com:

            Word Origin & History

            educate

            mid-15c., from
            L. educatus, pp. of educare “bring up, rear, educate,” which is related
            to educere “bring out,” from ex- “out” + ducere “to lead” (see duke). Meaning “provide schooling” is first attested 1588 in Shakespeare.

            Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

            You confuse the word “education” with “learning.” But that’s okay,
            I blame that on your schooling.

          • misinformation

            I should’ve been clearer. Schooling, as in the Prussian model, mentioned in the original post these comments are for, and specifically that system adopted by the United States, was never about ‘classical education’ – the classical liberal arts, a phrase which today, bears little resemblance to it’s traditional meaning.

            I won’t deny that the classical trivium was used to perpetuate the class systems of the day. However, the gap between those classical ‘schools’ and today’s, could just about fit into the Grand Canyon – that is, if today’s school grad could even locate it on a map.

            Your ability to regurgitate an online dictionary definition, believe that has somehow cleared up the discussion and feel smug about it, illustrates the point I made about active vs. passive literacy, rather well. Do you believe that schooling today prepares children for life as equally as it did in 1588?

            I’ll grant you that the lack of clarity in the earlier back-and-forth may have led to the over-all laziness of the discussion but if you believe that what ‘Shakespeare referenced in 1588′ resembles, in any way, what children partake in today, then modern schooling is more effective than I thought.

            “Why Schools Don’t Educate”: http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/john_gatto.html

          • DeepCough

            Why so indignant, @disqus_yd79rOpr3A:disqus? I thought you’d be ecstatic to read that an indoctrinated drone such as myself would have the brain cells to cite a source for my semantic claim, something that a “passively literate” individual would not have any ability or interest to do, yes? And I find it ironic that you would use a word like “trivium” and yet have no appreciation for the etymological root of the word “education,” the definition of which is in stark contrast to what you like to think it really means.

            But don’t misunderstand me, misinfo, I agree completely that the public education system has become a fucking joke for a myriad of reasons, a lot of which are mentioned in the bold and provocative article to which you linked. The potshots over the spartan learning environment in schools today; the delusional “myth of childhood;” the “warehousing of children” which serves only to babysit children while their parents are at a job–these things aren’t challenged enough, and that’s why school has become such a terrible
            place to be, public or private.

            So how’s that for clarity?

          • misinformation

            That’s clearer.

            But, you still seem to be missing the difference between education and school/schooling.

            One is a system, an, institution – often even containing brick and mortar. One can go to school for 15,000 hrs and receive little education just as easily as one can receive a fantastic education having never set foot in a school.

            I believe that the sooner people divorce these two words, ideas, really; the sooner the decrepit government school system, can be left behind.

            As an aside. To me, anyone laying claim to being the gatekeeper(s) of knowledge, should have their institution regarded as highly as the world around me, when juxtaposed to other options available.

            That’s probably a little bit clunky but it’ll have to do for now.

          • DeepCough

            Okay, I think you might want to consider the word “learn,”
            because it’s an action that occurs with an active tense. The word “education” implies a passive experience (it certainly denotes that by its original meaning, you see), and it’s the passive experience that has made school a mind-numbing venture.

          • Juan

            A few years ago I had the crazy idea I wanted to change careers and go into teaching. So, after having acquired the necessary degrees, I found myself as an intern/student-teacher at my local community college, teaching freshman English comp. I was not prepared for what I encountered. We’re talking adults, in their own native language, who were incapable of stringing a couple of sentences together. Out of a class of 27 people, I had maybe 3 or 4 who were able to even grasp the rudimentary concepts required to write a basic essay at a college level.
            I’m sure there all kinds of reasons for this. What I saw was that people simply did not read. Not only did they not read, but they could not have been any more disinterested. I was confronted with class full of slack-jawed, functional illiterates.
            I was not put off by this. Actually, I thought there was a lot of work to be done and I would’ve been more than happy to give it a shot. Unfortunately, there is no work teaching English at any of my local community colleges, not even as adjunct faculty. Tenure track positions are unheard of anymore.

          • Dingbert

            But English is useless! We need more STEM grads!
            Never mind that poor communication is a universal complaint about engineers and that history’s best scientists all went to liberal arts colleges.

          • rhetorics_killer

            Let me insert here that mass-schooling is a necessary task for designing a people commercial-message-ready. What would become millions of advertisement sentences with a mere 30% only able to process them? Not mentioning all the ideologically oriented history class, in order to cement a collective fighting spirit, among the many features conceived for appropriate obedience. And, most of all, in these poor times for child working, school is an affordable place to leave children while parents are on duty to satisfy directly any of these ‘corporatist interests’ in the chain of production.. (For all these reasons and many others I believe these ultra conservatives, with such an agenda, run against their very basic needs.) The fact is they believe it easier to dominate, lull, exploit and inhibit when only a minimal schooling is performed.

        • http://skadhiblog.wordpress.com/ skadhithjassisdottir

          Basic education is correctly a right. However society engineered a vicious circle so that degrees are necessary for employment where, formerly, the job required no such degree.

          The college bubble burst, next thing really should be cutting back on middle school and high school – a horrible period of most peoples lives caused by society trying to drag out childhood for an extra few years.

    • Reasor

      I find that my user name changes, depending on whether I use Google, Twitter, or Facebook to log in to Disqus.

      • misinformation

        Thanks for the note. I don’t tweet or use Facebook but I do use different browsers. I have a vague recollection of having a log-in problem a while ago where the end result was the two-ish accounts.

        • echar

          You can merge them, and bypass the “problem” if you should choose.

  • echar

    So business as usual?

  • Cortacespedes

    “In its grant bid, the Maine Heritage Policy Center asked for $35,000 to support a “research and demonstration project” that would “release residents from extreme government dependency”. It would turn the state’s poorest area into what the Portland Press Herald describes in its report from Washington County as “a gigantic tax-free zone”.

    Hmm. A “gigantic tax free zone.” Not a bad idea, as long as there is a bit of tit for tat included in this bargain. It should be stipulated in the deal that these “zones” (entire counties, I believe) should be held to a strict “tax free” atmosphere. Meaning, that any service normally provided thru taxes, should be provided by the entrepreneurs themselves. None of this leaning on municipal “freebies” like public roads, police and fire protection, sewage and curbside waste management, snow removal, water allocation and its distribution, etc. All of this infrastructure should come straight out of the profits made from these newly “developed” Randtopias and Galtvilles. It would be an interesting experiment, tho, I am not filled with optimism regarding its success.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think it could be doable, but not with this “get rich quick-libertarian” mindset. If profit is the only measure of success and your prime motivator, you’ve doomed yourself from the inception.

    As to this baffling statement, “release residents from extreme government dependency”, I am at a loss as to what they mean exactly, and how they intend to “release” these victims.

    One can only imagine a Heritage policy operative driving around neighborhoods bullhorning propaganda at the natives. “Fly, fly my pretties, away from the bonds of the basic sustenances that bind you! ” “Move on to more agreeable pastures; be as the birds and beasts and seek out your fortune early grave.” For the reality is, employment in these “zones” would ensure, not remove, government dependency.

    • DeepCough

      Don’t get me wrong, I think it could be doable, but not with this “get
      rich quick-libertarian” mindset. If profit is the only measure of
      success and your prime motivator, you’ve doomed yourself from the
      inception.

      That about sums it up.

  • http://pneumerology.com/ pneumerology

    “Education” in America is becoming the process of training the worker bees that the corporations need, and inculcating in the rest the belief that they are essentially worthless.

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