Freedom Writer - May 1995
California's Education Alliance
By Jerry Sloan
Soon after installing Ronald Reagan as president, social conservatives
realized that controlling the presidency meant little if they couldn't
get their plans through Congress and state legislatures. They realized
that it meant more to control local school boards, city and county
governments, and, if possible, state legislatures because these were
the government units that were passing laws which had a greater impact
on our daily lives.
From that realization, particularly in California, has grown a vast
grassroots movement which has been organized by the five men of the
Allied Business PAC to capture the state legislature.
Now, with that goal almost accomplished, Howard F. Ahmanson, the Allied
Business PAC's chief Christian Reconstructionist idealogue and daddy
deep-pockets, has embarked upon a plan to capture California's school
In November, 1994, Ahmanson was the chief financial backer ($40,000)
of a pilot project in Orange County which raised $63,221 and gave
$61,671 to 36 endorsed candidates for school boards in 15 districts
through a PAC known as the Education Alliance. He was joined by John
and Donna Crean of Newport Beach, who contributed $10,000.
It would appear that because of the unlimited financial resources
of Ahmanson, the Creans, and the rest of the Allied donors, they have
the potential of being far more successful than that any other radical
Religious Right group on the California scene today.
The Education Alliance is reportedly run by a Mark Bucher, 35, from
the office of his business, the Service First Contractors Network
Although disclaiming any ties to the Religious Right, the agenda that
Bucher says the Education Alliance supports is amazingly similar to
the agendas promoted by the Coalition on Revival (COR), the Traditional
Values Coalition, Christian Coalition, Citizens for Excellence in
Education, and Focus on the Family/Capitol Resource Institute.
Bucher says that Education Alliance candidates generally oppose state
and federal curriculum guidelines, support a back-to basics approach
to education and want to emphasize American values instead of multiculturalism.
They are opposed to the California Learning Assessment System and
the establishment of health clinics or condom distribution in schools.
They want to see evolution and creationism taught side by side. They
are divided on the question of prayer in schools.
The real educational agenda of the radical Religious Right is outlined
by an organization spawned by COR called the National Coordinating
Committee. The purpose of this group is the abolition of public education
by the year 2000.
The idea of abolishing public schools was reinforced by Christian
Reconstructionist Gary North in his March, 1995 newsletter. "Our reform
is straight forward; no more taxpayer-funded education," North wrote.
"Not a brass farthing," he concluded, quoting from _My_Fair_Lady_.
Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., the scion of the Home Savings fortune, has
been a member of the board of trustees of the leading Christian Reconstructionist
think tank, Chalcedon, since the mid-1970s. Ahmanson is also a long-time
member of the Council for National Policy. He was the number-one contributor
to Proposition 174, the school voucher initiative on the ballot in
the 1993 general election.
The Education Alliance claimed a 33 percent success rate in the November,
1994 election which means
that 12 of their 36 candidates won election. In some cases candidates
spent up to $7000 to campaign for their seat. This is an unprecedented
amount for school board candidates to spend. It portrays an ominous
future for people who want to run for school board seats but do not
have the financial backing to make the attempt.
With the help of Ahmanson and Crean, the Education Alliance hopes
to expand its efforts state-wide by 1996 with the additional goal
of sponsoring an initiative to ban public employee unions from materially
participating in elections for public-employer trustee positions on
school boards, city councils, county supervisors, water districts
and so on.
Concerned citizens must do more than just wring their hands. They
must become active in an organization which is trying to alert the
general public and pluralistic Evangelicals as to the real goals of
the radical Religious Right. Coalitions with other civil liberties
and civil rights groups must be formed and become a priority in order
to preserve the freedom of public schools in our country.
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