Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize an organization engaged in coordinating with legislators to advance a political agenda. Unfortunately, this has been the case with The Hunt Institute housed at UNC-Chapel Hill. The Institute was created to honor “the legacy of James B. Hunt,” former North Carolina governor, who still serves as Chairman of the Board.
According to their own description: “The Hunt Institute is leading the movement to transform American education. To make the greatest impact, we work at the intersection of policy and politics, supporting state and national policymakers and empowering them to drive educational reform.”
How does the Institute “empower” legislators to “drive educational reform,” and what kind of reform do they advocate for?
In terms of how The Hunt Institute wants to “transform American education,” our question is answered with the Institute’s support for Common Core Standards – with financial help not only from state taxpayers but also from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
We also can learn more about their ideological agenda from the group’s “core beliefs,” which include the proclamation that “a free PreK-12 education is the birthright of every child.”
The Institute “empowers” legislators by exposing them to research and “experts” who will help steer legislators to be sympathetic to the Institute’s agenda. And the Institute’s own website strongly suggests that they are not content to merely offer neutral analysis, but rather wants to “mobilize action on the issues that matter in education.”
Among their efforts to help mobilize action on education issues is the Institute’s “Legislators Retreat,” which is touted as “one of the Institute’s hallmark events.” At the retreat, the Institute “connects” legislative leaders with so-called education experts for “better policy decisions”.
One such “expert” the Institute chooses to boast about advising state lawmakers at a past retreat is Pedro Noguera, professor at New York University.
Noguera is a former University of California-Berkeley professor who was a featured speaker at the “Conference on Perspectives for Democracy and Socialism in the 90s” in Berkeley in 1992. He currently sits on the board of directors at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a left-wing group whose president has ties to the Democratic Socialists of America.
Noguera is also a featured speaker of the progressive group “Speak Out,” which features other speakers such as left-wing radicals Noam Chomsky and Angela Davis.
The fact that the Hunt Institute brags about exposing state legislators to such a radical leftist is further evidence of a clear agenda being advanced by the group.
The Hunt Institute has for years relied on the “generous support of the North Carolina General Assembly” — in other words, taxpayer dollars. Annual taxpayer subsidies of the Institute reached $1.5 million in 2008, and while slowly declining in subsequent years, the group still receives just under $1 million per year.
Because it forces taxpayers to support an organization clearly trying to advance a political agenda, taxpayer support for The Hunt Institute is this week’s Waste of the Week.