First She Voted Against It, then She Voted for It?

Though some conservatives have rightly criticized the 65% Deception, First Class Education receives considerable support and funding from prominent players in the movement to privatize public education. Until recently, though, voucher pushers were unwilling to publicly embrace the 65% Deception. But now, “All Children Matter”, the funding network set up by Dick DeVos to push for vouchers around the country, is campaigning on behalf of the 65% scheme – except the candidate they chose to support didn’t actually vote for it when she had the chance.

“Kim Berfield makes the grade,” says the mailing, recently sent to thousands of Pinellas and Hillsborough voters. Inside it says Berfield, a Republican candidate for the Senate District 16 seat, “supports plans to constitutionally require 65 percent of our education dollars to be spent in the classroom.”

But in the spring, as a House member, Berfield voted against a 65 percent classroom spending plan.

Berfield defended the flier Thursday, saying it was accurate despite her no vote. The provoucher All Children Matter group paid for the campaign advertisement

Last year, the Right opened up a new front in their war against public education when a group called First Class Education was formed to push a scheme they call the 65% ‘solution,’ which would ostensibly require all public schools to cut funding for ‘non-classroom’ expenses like school nurses, transportation, libraries, security and school maintenance. The 65% Deception, as we like to call it, is a typical right-wing proposal: It sounds good at first blush, but doesn’t make much sense once you think about it. A PFAW Foundation report exposed the hidden agenda of First Class Education as detailed by Tim Mooney, the republican political operative who runs the organization:

In an unsigned, undated memo that Mooney has admitted writing, he argues that the 65% “solution” gives Republicans “a viable answer to ‘in the classroom improvement of education’ without the need to call for a tax increase, offsetting budget cuts in other popular programs or gimmick accounting and deficit spending. Among the other tangible political benefits of the 65% “solution” Mooney lists are: (1) Splitting the education unions; (2) Softening up targeted segments of voters to vouchers; (3) Defining the debate over school funding in terms of taxes and government spending; and (4) Increasing voter turn-out among the conservative base through the use of the initiative process.

On the surface the 65% Deception and the push for publicly funded school vouchers don’t have much in common – except that the forces behind them are committed to destroying American public education.

Learn more about the 65% Deception here.