Why did the SAISD Superintendent accept an invitation to speak at an event organized by one of the most anti-immigrant, climate-change-denying, school voucher-loving, anti-worker, ultra-conservative think tanks in the U.S.?
Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres.
On Monday night, Pedro Martinez spoke at an event organized by the Texas Public Policy Foundation - one of the most powerful and influential political lobbying organizations - or “think tanks” - in the state.
Martinez was one of three panelists, sharing the stage with San Antonio’s favorite charter mom, Inga Cotton, and Emily Sass, former staffer for Ted Cruz, and arch-Republican school choice advocate.
Sass is a paid cheerleader for what she euphemistically calls “choice” - the systematic dismantling of public education for private profit, expansion of charter schools, and unbridled market control of every aspect of public life.
She works for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an Austin-based conservative think tank which spreads disinformation about climate change, advocates for draconian public safety and immigration policies, and pushes for the expansion of charter schools.
Oh, and it’s long been at the forefront of the push for education vouchers in Texas.
TPPF has also been leading the fight to deny San Antonio’s working families paid sick time - a direct attack on San Antonio’s working people, including the families, parents, and communities Martinez serves, and on local democratic control of policy-making.
They’re advocates for privatizing Medicaid, opponents of attempts to expand it, and produce policy paper after policy paper to help right-wing politicians justify the most merciless and heartless of austerity policies in the name of “economic freedom”, the most cliché of conservative talking points.
They’re enthusiastic champions of every war the United States will ever fight, and advocates for increasing military spending to ever-higher, dizzying heights.
Aaaaand TPPF is funded primarily by oil and tobacco companies, the ultra-conservative Koch brothers, and a who’s who list of right-wing billionaires.
What do you call a group of ideologues that collects millions from corporations and billionaires and then—through the alchemy of fuzzy math and Ayn Randian levels of free-market wishful thinking—churns out studies and policy papers used by politicians to justify miserly policies? Kick kids off health insurance? Here’s a white paper for that. Create confusion about climate science? Research paper! Propose tax cuts as a means to help West, Texas, recover from the fertilizer plant disaster? You bet. Derail Medicaid expansion that could insure millions and save an estimated 9,000 lives a year in Texas? Done. (Forrest Wilder, Texas Observer)