Pantsless Progressive

The story starts back in 2009, when elections were held for four of the Wake County’s nine school board seats—enough seats to dictate the public school district’s agenda if all four board members wanted the same reforms. That’s where Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group founded and funded by the Koch brothers, came into play. AFP, as it’s known, swooped in to fund and organize on behalf of four candidates who sought to kill the district’s policy of bussing to ensure diverse, de-segregated public schools. The AFP-backed candidates ran against what they called “forced busing”—a phrase, the film points out, that dates back to George Wallace in the 1970s—and instead stressed that schools should educate only those who lived in the surrounding neighborhood.

Local reporters, some of whom are interviewed in the film, connected the push to eliminate bussing with the philosophies of AFP and its funders. “They’re definitely pushing an agenda to re-segregate these schools, but there’s also a real push toward privatization,” Sue Sturgis of the Institute for Southern Studies says in the film.

In the end, all four AFP-backed candidates won, and the school board has since begun to roll back its existing bussing policies despite a wave of protest and outrage in the local community.

How the Koch Brothers Funded Public School Segregation

Notes

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