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Commonweal Institute
DECEMBER 7, 2004
3:16 PM
CONTACT: Commonweal Institute  
Jim Farrell, 916/443-7817, 916/441-2653 (fax)
Public Education in America Faces Complete Privatization Blue Print for Educators and Their Allies to Protect America’s Public Schools

MENLO PARK, C -- December 7 -- A new report released today by the Commonweal Institute (CI), “Responding to the Attack on Public Education and Teacher Unions”, shows how a well funded conservative movement is on the verge of creating a major shift toward privatization of the nation’s public schools. Authored by David C. Johnson and Leonard M. Salle, the in-depth study is intended as a wake-up call and offers a plan of action for those who care about protecting and improving America’s public education system from its adversaries.

“Most Americans are unaware of the threat posed by this well-organized and funded assault on our nation’s public schools. The threat is real and it is urgent. Teacher organizations, however, are quite familiar with the efforts to undermine public schools through vouchers and privatization. What we are doing here is showing how they can respond effectively to protect our children’s public schools,” said Mr. Salle, who is the President of the Commonweal Institute.

The report shows that the attack on public education is part of a broader “conservative” opposition to many “liberal” institutions and policies, such as organized labor, progressive taxation, regulation of business, reproductive choice, and the environment. The CI report exposes the anti-public education perspectives being marketed daily to the American public by an ultra-conservative movement led by Grover Norquist and others. It lays out how Americans now hear almost exclusively hard-right messaging from such diverse sources as Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and “talking heads” from conservative think tanks.

Although the new report focuses on public education, it also makes it clear that the conservative movement is positioned for success in multiple other areas of their agenda.

The report also provides a detailed plan for those who support public education to be able to compete with the conservative movement in this country. It shows how public education advocates can work with allies to form a network of organizations and individuals - an infrastructure - that will craft and distribute their messages to the broad public and provide an alternative perspective to what Americans now hear and see. A determined and coordinated effort by public education advocates and their allies can be expected to result in much stronger political and public support for public education.

“Today’s report shows that, in this new era of No Child Left Behind, it is imperative that moderate and progressive citizens organize to create a new, substantial messaging infrastructure to combat a conservative movement in this country. If there is no effective counter-force, ultra-conservatives will continue to advance their ideological agenda without significant opposition,” says Mr. Salle. “The only electable candidates for public office, of any party, will be those who embrace conservative ideology, including privatization of public education, because that is what the public will have been conditioned to believe is in their best interests.”

The report is available online at:

You may request a print copy of the report by sending an email to, and providing your name, title, organization, and address.

About the Commonweal Institute

The Commonweal Institute is a non-profit, multi-issue think tank that focuses on research and communicating a moderate to progressive perspective to the broad public and decision makers. For more information about the Commonweal Institute, visit the website located at


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