EAG’s founder, Kyle Olson, gets hate mail. That’s not surprising, given he trades in vilifying teachers and other school employees, and especially their unions. And he’s increasingly focusing on principals, administrators and anyone else involved in public schools. Helping to monetize public education is a dirty business.
But maintaining the pretense of a school improvement group is hard when you tell the truth once in awhile. That happened in 2011, when Kyle’s Glen Beck wannabe impulses got the best of him (again) and he wrote this on the TownHall site:
I would like to think that, yes, Jesus would destroy the public education temple and save the children from despair and a hopeless future. And he would smash a temple that has been perverted to meet the needs of the administrators, teachers, school board members, unions, bureaucrats and contractors.
Again, Kyle has never taught a day in a public or in any other school. His background in purely in Republican politics. Why is it reporters and even worse, public officials, go to this guy for advice on running their schools?
As part of his school reform interest group pose, Kyle Olson has always promised that his was a grass roots organization financed by regular people, most often outraged parents. His association to the Republican party and Michigan’s right wing Mackinac Center made it clear that this was a lie, but now it’s beyond dispute.
In 2011, the Gleason Family Foundation of Wilmington Delaware made a gigantic $4.8 million grant to finance EAG’s operations. Gleason is a well known conservative foundation that bankrolls a long list of extreme right causes. These include old stalwarts like the CATO Institute, a number of state Heritage Foundation franchises, including the Manhattan and the Pacific Research Institutes, the Reason Foundation and several others, as well as the Heritage Foundation itself. It also funds several anti-union operations that masquerade as unions, the California Teachers Empowerment Network and the Association of American Educators. Have a look at the Gleason tax return.
But the EAG grant stands out. It is of historic proportions, even among conservative foundations. Notice also that the grant went to EAG’s 501(c)(3) apparition, not it’s 501(c)(4) or 527 versions. This means these funds cannot be spent on politics, something the pages of EAGTruth show has often not been the case.
And to be fair, it’s not like the Gleason Foundation funds only ultra-conservative outfits. It also gave money to the American Red Cross.