A foundation Charles Koch created (now defunct) spent millions over decades to fund groups advocating the Koch agenda, including conservative state-based think tanks affiliated with the national State Policy Network, e.g., the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. The Koch network has continued funding the State Policy Network and its affiliated American Legislative Exchange Council of which Mississippi Speaker of the House Philip Gunn is a board member. School choice advocate Empower Mississippi is the latest link in this network.
The Charles Koch Foundation has spent millions to push Koch thinking onto college campuses, including Mississippi State University. In 2015, the university announced formation of its Institute for Market Studies to be funded with nearly $2.5 million of Koch money over six years. Since then, MSU associate professor Claudia Williamson, co-director of the Institute, has been an active voice for economic policies aligned with Koch thinking.
The Mississippi chapter of Americans for Prosperity has risen in power to dominate thinking on many legislative issues. The chapter has strongly touted Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves for promoting its agenda. It is expected to play a dominant role in next year’s legislative elections.
Choice proposals transfer decision-making power to parents and subscribe to the conservative principle that people closest to a problem are the best people to fix it.
Many happily choose traditional public schools, but that choice is largely reserved for those who can afford it. Low-income families who lack the resources to move to neighborhoods with better schools or pay for private school tuition are often trapped in a school someone else chose for them.
School choice levels the playing field, promoting equality of opportunity for all.
“It is probably the No. 1 problem the citizens are talking about today,” says state Sen. Willie Simmons, a Democrat who chairs the chamber’s Highways and Transportation Committee. #msleg #mspolitics https://t.co/Ls6NdVSH15
— msroadbuilders (@msroadbuilder) June 1, 2018