Oil tycoons and right-wing activists Charles and David Koch have been behind the designing of programs geared to push their dangerous conservative economic ideas on to high-school students in Georgia, Kansas, and Missouri, according to a report released yesterday by the Huffington Post.
Youth Entrepreneurs (YE), which was technically founded in 1991 by Charles and his wife Elizabeth, began to take it’s current form in 2009. Until that time, it mostly taught students basic business skills. Now, however, “lesson plans and class materials obtained by The Huffington Post make the course’s message clear: The minimum wage hurts workers and slows economic growth. Low taxes and less regulation allow people to prosper. Public assistance harms the poor. Government, in short, is the enemy of liberty.”
“Koch-funded think tanks provide many of YE’s course materials,” the report says. “Teachers are trained at Koch Industries headquarters and are required to read Charles Koch’s book The Science of Success.”
“We are operating under the assumption that high-school students do not receive an education that gives them an understanding and an affinity towards free markets,” stated one lesson plan from Jan. 2010. “Without the knowledge or affinity for free markets, students cannot appreciate the role that free markets play in laying the foundations for prosperity and freedom in society.”
Other emails show that the group’s goal was to “turn young people into ‘liberty advancing agents’ before they went to college, where they might learn ‘harmful’ liberal ideas.” Basically, the Koch brothers wanted YE to indoctrinate children into believing their economic policies actually help the country before the students had any first-hand knowledge of how the economy really works.
The ideas the group believes children should be taught include “common economic fallacies” such as:
- Corporatism v. Free-market Capitalism
- Deregulation is what caused recession in 80s, Economic problems of today
- Rich get richer at the expense of the poor
- FDR/New Deal brought us out of the depression
- Government wealth transfer programs help the poor
- Private industry incapable of doing functions that public sector has always done
- Unions protect the employees
- People with the same job title should be paid the same amount …
- Minimum wage, “living wage,” laws are good for people/society
- Capitalist societies provide an environment for greed and materialism to flourish
- Socialist countries do just fine, people have great lives there (using this as proof that socialism works
During the previous school year, the YE classes reached more than 1,000 students in 29 schools across Missouri and Kansas, and were available in 10 schools in Georgia in the 2011-2012 school year. Courses are expected to be available in 42 schools in the 2014-1015 school year, and YE has also launched an online version, an affiliate program to reach rural schools, and an after-school program.
But, of course, the Koch brothers aren’t going to stop there.
“A student can take the YE course in high school, participate in the YE Academy to earn scholarship money and then use that money to pay for a degree from a Koch-funded university. So it isn’t just a relatively small but growing high school program offered in Kansas and Missouri. It’s part of a larger mission.”
Read the full report, including YE’s lesson plans at the Huffington Post.