07.23.2012 0

Ideas: up for auction?

By Rachel Swaffer — It’s no secret that the American educational system has a political bias.  The left-of-center prejudice is most blatant in the university system, but also permeates throughout the entire public school system via skewed history books, science lessons, and woefully inadequate politics and civics requirements.

The big question is: are our nation’s academicians for hire?  Is it really the “inconvenient truth” that is spewing from the mouths of our educators, administrators, and textbook editors?  Are “conservatives” of all varieties simply a misinformed minority whose children must be purged of extremist nonsense? Doubtful.  In fact, there is most definitely a less noble impetus influencing education (and, therefore, ideas) in America — cold hard cash.

According to tax records, in 2010 progressive, liberal, and generally left-leaning organizations donated at least $69,000,000 to politically active groups involved with education in America — these include public school advocacy, teacher support organizations, and student achievement groups.  Sound like a hefty chunk of change?  Hardly.  In fact, it pales in comparison to the $142,000,000 donated by similar funders to Universities and Colleges that same year (according to tax records).

The majority of this funding came from the usual liberal bank-rolling suspects: the Hewlett Foundation donated $51,698,880 to educational institutions and advocacy groups, the Ford Foundation gave almost $40,000,000, Goldman Sachs Foundation: $13,068,822.  The Boston Foundation donated at least $7.5 million and George Soros’ Foundation to Promote Open Society donated a little over five million as well.  Liberal funding giant Tides granted out $2,393,748 to educational interests in 2010, according to tax records.

This tie between high levels of politically motivated funding and highly biased faculty is blatantly obvious in the U.S. university system.   According to tax records, 16 of the top 18 most liberal universities are heavily funded by progressive bankrollers — most receiving yearly gifts in the millions of dollars.  The entire Ivy League is heavily subsidized by progressive funders and all 8 schools rank among the most liberal universities in the county.  In 2010 Brown received $1,392,500, Columbia: $3,424,830, Cornell: $138,000, Harvard: $6,532,062, University of Pennsylvania: $350,000, Yale: $7,333,405.  Similarly prestigious colleges Stanford, John Hopkins, MIT, and UC Berkeley received a combined $29,437,251.

The University of California (UC) System, whose member universities are considered to employ some of the most liberal faculty in the U.S. and regularly rank among the most liberal colleges in the country, received over $37.5 million dollars from progressive funders in 2010, according to tax records.  This in a year that state funding for the UC system fell by about 9 percent.

And state funding is falling across the county — leaving colleges increasingly dependent on the support of liberal ideologues like Pew, Hewlett, Tides, Open Society, and Ford.  The UC system alone received a staggering $1,381,580 from Pew, $20,444,181 from Hewlett, $11,868,241 from the Sandler Foundation, and $3,596,983 from the Ford Foundation in 2010 (according to 990 tax records).

And it’s not just top-tier schools that are affected by these prejudiced donations.  In 2010 almost every state university system received grants from progressive bankrolling organizations, according to tax records.

Of course, no one has a problem with the private sector investing in education.  But these donations aren’t coming from individuals supporting their alma mater, favorite athletic program, or even from genuine philanthropies — they come from organizations who use their money to push their political agenda, and it’s naïve to think that their donations ever come without a caveat.

In fact, all of the top environmental science and climate change studies programs in the U.S. (according to USAnews.com) receive extensive support from environmental funders.  Harvard, UC Berkeley, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, UCLA, Yale, Cornell, UC San Diego, Duke, University of Chicago, Columbia, University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins, UC Santa Barbara, and Carnegie Mellon have some of the top climate-change studies programs worldwide and all received at least $1,000,000 donations from environmental extremists in 2010, with many receiving tens of millions in that year alone (according to 990 tax records).

In early 2011 the Koch Foundation donated a controversial $150,000 to re-evaluate climate change data at UC Berkeley, chump change compared to the $18,896,597 that the university received from vocal climate change activists in the previous year (according to 2010 990 tax forms).

In fact, the top supporters of environmental extremism (Hewlett, Pew, and Tides Foundations) also happen to be the top private funders of secondary education in America.  Not only are these political donors bankrolling the organizations distributing controversial environmental studies, but it turns out they are also funding (some might say “buying off”) the very scientists creating the supporting evidence for global warming alarmism and paying for the brainwashing of the next generation to boot.

Given the glut of biased, liberal money in education, one has to wonder if all climate change research is truly “inconvenient truth” or rather pure propaganda, bought and paid for by environmental extremists.

The connection between the funding of education and the disproportionate leftist bias that permeates our entire school system goes a long way in explaining a progressive cultural phenomenon that appears to have been bought by the monied elite — through liberal subsidizing of propaganda, media, and (perhaps most dangerously) education in the United States.

Rachel Swaffer is a staff writer for Americans for Limited Government and a contributor to NetRightDaily.com.

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