As reported yesterday by The Michigan Populist Blog, The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation has announced a million dollar grant to the Mackinac Center to support “research to help public schools become more responsive, measurable and efficient.” Any suggestion that the Mackinac Center might use this money to actually help public schools, or that the Dow Foundation would want them to, is easily dismissed when Dow’s long financial support is taken into account.
Dow has been working the Mackinac Center levers since its earliest days:
Fundraising activity was active from 1984 to 1991, with peak activity in 1987 when Cornerstone established the Mackinac Center. The insurance industry (primarily Citizen’s) provided initial funding, amounting to $306,382 during this period. Various officials of Dow Corning and Dow Chemical paid $335,986.
Its creation was driven by the insurance industry’s call for product liability reform, its interest in the Accident Fund, and by Dow Corning’s concern over silicone breast implant liability. The Truth About the Mackinac Center, Greg Steimel, 2012
In fact, the Center’s current President, Joe Lehman is a former Dow employee.
This new grant cements Dow as the Mackinac Center’s biggest backer. Between 2009 and 2012, the Dow Foundation wrote checks totaling a whopping $5,560,500. This figure doesn’t include the Dow funding since 2012, including this new figure. And it doesn’t include the other Dow-connected contributors, Dow Chemical Board member Charles J Strosacker’s Foundation, which was good for $68,750, or retired Dow Chemical Chairman Rollin M.Gerstacker’s Foundation, $310,000.
In fact, in 1997 the Center decided it needed a new headquarters building, it went to Dow. The Foundation put up (another) million, and the Gerstacker Foundation, $500,000.
As Eclectablog points out, there are organizations that do actual research on education, like the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice.
In response to all this, a petition drive to demand Dow get out of the public school bashing business has come together. Sign on here.