Greg Gianforte’s deep pockets and repugnance of public education earn him high honors from “detractors” who, while quick to celebrate our nation’s success, actively undermine the public education system that makes that success possible. Gianforte has supported these right-wing extremists’ agenda, pouring millions of his own money into private schools, and giving nearly $1,000,000 to the Montana Family Foundation, where his wife served as a director. The Montana Family Foundation tirelessly attacks Montana’s public education system through systematically pursuing privatization tax credits and charter schools. Gianforte’s gubernatorial aspirations have temporarily softened his tone towards public schools, but his latest proposal to slash state government by implementing 30 percent tax cuts speaks to his real agenda.
Montana’s public education system consumes nearly 50 percent of current state tax dollars; if implemented, Gianforte’s suggested 30 percent reduction in taxes across the board would gut local public schools. The losers under this plan would be Montana’s lower and middle class families because, while Gianforte and his wealthy inner circle can fund and attend private schools like Bozeman’s Petra Academy, most Montanans cannot. Montana’s 11,000 teachers serve 150,000 students in 403 school districts. Will they also be cut by 30 percent under Gianforte’s plan?
A principled leader would seek to improve the existing schools as that would afford equal opportunity for all children. It would be a tragedy to elect a governor who would devastate Montanan’s public education system by pursuing alternatives that only benefit the wealthy, and a select few.