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Robert Greenwald

Robert Greenwald is a producer, director, political activist, and Brave New Films founder and president.

September 27th, 2011 1:37 PM

The Koch Brothers are at it again in public schools [VIDEO]

The student resegregation plan favored by industrialists Charles and David Koch has been a divisive flashpoint between school board members in Wake County, NC. The billionaire brothers continue trying to resegregate a widely celebrated school system, which sets the agenda for hundreds of communities across nationwide.

The Koch brothers are extending their political battles to local school boards. An anonymous campaign flier, which may have ties to the Kochs, accuses the NAACP of brainwashing local anti-resegregation candidates. The flier is called "indoctrination" and is being investigated by state officials. The Kochs have been linked to similar smear efforts in Michigan and Wisconsin.

The Koch brothers own virtually all of Koch Industries, a $100 billion manufacturing conglomerate. Through our Koch Brothers Exposed videos, we've brought the brothers' spending on political causes that advance their bottom line and anti-civic service ideology to the fore. This film investigates the Kochs' role in resegregating a high performing school district.

The Koch brothers remain persistent influencers. And with an Oct. 11 school board election rapidly approaching, Koch-supported incumbents continue their efforts to resegregate their school communities. Since winning a majority on the nine-member school board in 2009, Koch-supported candidates have tried to implement a "neighborhood schools" model, a phrase that recalls the days of Jim Crow and school segregation.

The Koch brothers' push to resegregate schools in North Carolina is fueled by Americans for Prosperity, a Tea Party group with chapters in 23 states. Americans for Prosperity's North Carolina outfit allied with other like-minded groups and laid the groundwork for a long and divisive campaign to elect a new school board majority and advance a school resegregation policy.

These Koch-supported candidates won and promptly began rewriting decades of successful guidelines, which changed how hundreds of thousands of families are assigned to local schools. Reversing the current student assignment plan, which is the model for many school districts nationwide and has made the Wake County schools a hub of student achievement and academic innovation, would lead to segregated schools for white and minority students.

But that hasn't stopped an anonymous group from distributing fliers and smearing anti-Koch diversity advocates. The flier depicts anti-segregation school board candidates supporting "angry men" from the NAACP, which has "an agenda for Wake County Public Schools." A photo of NAACP-NC President Rev. William Barber being arrested at a school board meeting is featured on the flier. It also says, "This Oct. 11th we can put these radicals on a bus out of town by electing pro-family & pro-community candidates for the Wake County Board of Education," according to local media reports.

The NAACP played a significant role to expose the resegregation policy. It filed litigation to halt its implementation and dealt a severe setback to the Koch-supported board members.

Advocates for the proposed resegregation plan got more bad news when transportation cost estimates were higher than previously thought. The so-called neighborhood schools model favored by the Koch-supported school board majority would cost at least $1.3 million more than the current system, North Carolina Policy Watch reports.

Our Koch Brothers Exposed campaign has busted the Koch brothers as the Tea Party's wallet, and we've got more in store. You can be the first to see our next investigative film by clicking the 'like' button at the Koch Brothers Exposed page on Facebook.

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