Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Kochs invest millions in free-market education

Koch Foundations Invest in Libertarian Education | Al Jazeera America - Dave Levinthal:

October 30, 2015 - "Higher education has become a top Koch priority in recent years. And their funding — as well as pushback against it — is increasing.

"During 2013, a pair of private charitable foundations Charles Koch leads and personally bankrolls combined to spread more than $19.3 million across 210 college campuses in 46 states and the District of Columbia, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of Internal Revenue Service tax filings....That represents a significant increase from the $12.7 million the Koch foundations distributed among 163 college campuses in 41 states and the District of Columbia during 2012....

"The Kochs are among many wealthy political patrons who give money to education, along with conservative Robert McNair, independent Michael Bloomberg and liberal billionaire financier George Soros. (The Center for Public Integrity receives funding from the Open Society Foundations, which Soros funds. A complete list of Center for Public Integrity funders is found here.)

"The Kochs’ giving, however, has a laser-like focus on a specific, politically relevant discipline — free market economics — unmatched by other political mega-donors. Koch officials routinely cultivate relationships with professors and deans and fund specific courses of economic study pitched by them.

"Detractors argue the Koch brothers’ college-focused money, by helping advance a philosophy of economic liberty, is eroding a fundamental aspect of higher education: academic freedom....

"But some conservatives and libertarians consider the Kochs’ investments in higher education a much-needed counterweight to an American higher education system that historically tilts leftward....

"'Since the ‘60s, they’ve been imbued with the sense that the world would be a better place if the country instituted their libertarian values,' author Brian Doherty said of the brothers.

"'For Charles, his time horizon, as he gets a little older, has become a little shorter. He has lots of money, and he wants to see action in his lifetime,' continued Doherty, the author of Radicals for Capitalism: A freewheeling history of the modern American libertarian movement and senior editor at Reason who’s interviewed both Koch brothers."

Read more: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/10/30/koch-foundations-invest-in-higher-education.html
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