I'm Your Puppet

A gues post by a reader under the pseudonym of Think.

Oil billionaires Charles and David Koch use their massive wealth to fund many right-wing organizations, including the Tea Party, but the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) gives them the best return on their investment. The Koch brothers bankroll ALEC task forces as they create ā€œmodel billsā€ and hand them to conservative legislators who are also members of ALEC. Those lawmakers sponsor the model bills in their respective state legislatures, including Ohio, and get them passed into laws, making the Koch brothersā€™ extreme fundamentalism legally binding.

Ohioans can thank the Koch brothers and ALEC's Ohio legislators for the extreme education laws that have been passed in recent years. One piece of ALEC educational legislation is HB 555, ā€œThe Ohio School Report Card Bill,ā€ which houses the infamous "Third Grade Guarantee." ALEC also orchestrated several new changes that were passed in Ohio's 2013 biennial budget, including a new school funding plan and the expansion of the school voucher program. To see what other educational policies the Koch brothers and ALEC have waiting in the wings, check this out.

According to Bill Phillis of the Ohio Education and Adequacy Coalition: "ALEC is a champion of charter schools and voucher legislation and thus is geared toward starving the public common school. K-12 Inc., the nationā€™s largest provider of online charter schools, paid its CEO Ron Packard $5 million in total compensation in 2011. Additionally, Packard owns millions of dollars in company shares, not a bad compensation package for a school superintendent. He is on the ALEC Education Task Force. The Ohio Virtual Academy charter school is operated by K-12, Inc. Ohioans should recognize that tax dollars (deducted from school districts) are being used to support a superintendentā€™s salary of $5 million plus millions in company shares, while many school districts are cutting essential programs and services due to lack of funds. Ohio taxpayers are subsidizing outrageous salaries and benefits of for-profit charter operators, and slick, expensive marketing. On average, charter schools spend twice as much per pupil on administration as traditional school districts."

ALEC pulls the strings of Republican governors around the country, many of whom are ALEC alumni, and Charles and David Koch are the hands-on puppet-masters who help ALEC control the legislative process in those states. Every time another ALEC "school reform" law is passed and signed, this loud melodic pledge, sung to the tune written by Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn, can be heard coming from an executive office at the Ohio Statehouse:

Pull the string and I'll work for you, I'm your puppet,
I'll say funny things if you want me to, I'm your puppet,
I'll be yours to have and to hold,
Brothers, you've got total control of your puppet.
Pull another string and I'll sign your bills, I'm your puppet,
Snap your fingers and I'll give you thrills, I'm your puppet,
Your every wish is my command,
All you gotta do is wiggle your hands,
I'm your puppet, I'm your puppet.
Pull them little strings and I'll sing you this song, I'm your puppet,
Make me do right or make me do wrong, I'm your puppet,
Treat me good and I'll do anything,
I'm just a puppet and you hold my string, I'm your puppet,
Yeah, I'm your puppet.

Think.