Advocating for education opportunity in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In an interview for Governing, Thomas Gentzel, executive director of the National School Boards Association, recently said, “I don’t think anybody is arguing that we should just have traditional public schools and we shouldn’t have these options” [referring to charter schools and other school choice options].
Wouldn’t Thomas Gentzel be surprised to hear that in Nebraska there is a well-funded organization that is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in the regressive pursuit of convincing the public that “we should just have traditional public schools”?
That’s Nebraska Loves Public Schools. Warren Buffett’s daughter Susan leads the Sherwood Foundation, which funds Nebraska Loves Public Schools. Inconceivable in most of the country, this organization is looking backward and trying to convince everyone else in Nebraska to look backward, too.
Instead of looking to the school choice successes across the country, NelovesPS wants you to look away. They play on state pride as a way to convince people that what they have right now is fine as it is. Here’s an example:
Translation: “Nebraska doesn’t need any of those silly choices that other, less superior, states need.
They say things like “School choice is already alive and well in Nebraska and has been for decades.” Well, all you have to do is look at school choice summaries at The Heritage Foundation, The Friedman Foundation, The Parent Power Index (#49, by the way), or a myriad of other sites, to realize that this statement is more than a stretch.
One of our favorite things about the Nebraska Loves Public Schools organization and their supporters is the hyperbole with which they propagandize. The following tweet is a prime example:
This is a NelovesPS retweet of a teacher’s union post. Apparently, they think that the Nebraska organizations that support school choice have “deep pockets & hidden agendas” and that we want to “take resources from our kids & public schools.”
For the record, no one in Nebraska has deeper pockets than the Buffetts, and no organization has more political influence than the teacher’s unions. Yes, we know they feel threatened by the least criticism or resistance. Here at School Choice Lincoln we’ve gotten shady messages from anonymous people offering to donate to our cause if they can find out about our 501(c)(3) status. Just in case you’re curious, we don’t have 501(c)(3) status. That ought to save a few hidden people some effort.
As far as taking resources from our kids and public schools: we have kids in public schools, and we don’t want to take money from our own kids. We just want more choices. We believe that more choices mean that more kids will find educational options that will best suit their needs. We believe that competition within the public school system will improve quality and variety, just like competition does in every other industry under the sun.
Keep it up, Nebraska Loves Public Schools. No matter how glossy the videos or how expensive the website, you’re still pointed in the wrong direction. Most of the country doesn’t even realize that there are people who still think the way Nebraska Loves Public Schools thinks—just ask the executive director of the National School Board Association.