We have all heard the saying “follow the money.” So what does it mean that the Michigan Chamber of Commerce gave $75,000 to the Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP) in 2010? Sure $75,000 isn’t as much money as the $125,000 that Dick and Betsy DeVos gave, but it is significant. The subversive Great Lakes Education Project lists its mission as bringing ”educational freedom and choices to all parents.” Choice being code for exporting public school students and their state foundation allowance to for profit schools. Since the voters turned back a DeVos backed voucher initiative in 2000, groups like GLEP and the Mackinac Center for Pubic Policy are now pushing for more private charter schools and online schooling. Governor Snyder, whose own children attend a prestigious private school, is all for the plan. It makes sense that the Chamber of Commerce would want to see a new industry become for-profit, though I’m not sure all of their members would agree. Many businesses and business owners have a close connection with their local public schools. This may be why the Chamber of Commerce is funneling money through a front organization instead of backing the privatization move themselves. It is time for the Chamber of Commerce to be upfront and tell their members where they stand on the profitization of Michigan’s public school children. If they are for privitization, it is time for business to reconsider their affiliation with the Chamber of Commerce, and it is time for customers to reconsider patrionizing Chamber of Commerce affiliated businesses.
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