The Texas OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co.. 1978 Ronnie Dugger. Publisher Vol. 70, No. 21 November 3, 1978 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Demo crat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Jim Hightower ASSOCIATE EDITORS Linda Rocawich Eric Hartman EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger PRODUCTION MANAGERS: Susan Reid, Beth Epstein ASSISTANT ED:TORS: Vicki Vaughan, Bob Sindermann STAFF ASSISTANTS: Margaret Watson, Margot Beutler, Beverly Palmer, Harris Worcester, Larry Zinn, Jamie Murphy, Lisa Spann, Helen Jardine, Karen White, Viki Florence, Charles Lohrmann, Martha Owen CONTRIBUTORS: Kaye Northcott, Jo Clifton, Dave McNeely, Don Gardner, Warren Burnett, Paul Sweeney, Marshall Breger, Jack Hopper, Stanley Walker, Joe Frantz, Laura Eisenhour, Dan Hubig, Ben Sargent, Berke Breathed, Eje Wray, Roy Hamric, Thomas D. Bleich, Mark Stinson, Ave Bonar, Jeff Danziger, Lois Rankin, Maury Maverick Jr., Bruce Cory, John Henry Faulk, Chandler Davidson, Molly Ivins, Ralph Yarborough, Laura Richardson, Tim Mahoney, John Spragens Jr., Sheila R. Taylor, Doug Harlan, David Guarino, Susan Lee, Bob Clare, Keith Dannemiller BUSINESS STAFF: Cliff Olofson, Ricky Cruz ADVERTISING: Rhett Beard A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. The editor has exclusive control over the editorial policies and contents of the Observer. None of the other people who are associated with the enterprise shares this responsibility with him. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written. and in publishing them the editor does not necessarily imply that he agrees with them because thisis a journal of free voices. Published by Texas Observer Publishing Co., biweekly except for a three-week interval between issues twice a year. in January and July; 25 issues per year. Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. Publication no. 541300. years, $36. Foreign, except APO/FPO, $1 additional per year. Airmail, bulk orders, and group rates on request. Microfilmed by Microfilming Corporation of America, 21 Harristown Road, Glen Rock. NJ . 07452. Editorial and Business Offices: 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 Buying into the public schools And now The Word rom our sponsor By Matthew Lyon Austin The current crop of voting-age Americans has been a disappointment to the managers of our corporate economy. As they see it, the public, led astray by demagogic politicians and the likes of Ralph Nader, no longer gives due respect to the efficacy of American business, nor trusts in its beneficence. A 1976 public opinion survey by Hart Research Associates confirmed the trend: a 47 percent plurality of Americans old enough to vote agreed that “big business is the source of most of what’s wrong in this country today”; 41 percent favored “making a major adjustment to try things which have not been tried before”; 44 percent thought “public ownership of oil and other natural resources” sounded like a good idea; and fully 75 percent saw a need for more public control over the private sector. Such findings are terribly distressing to those who run the country’s corporations, and they are responding. How? Not by any amount of corporate introspection and reform, to be sure, but rather by blaming the public itself. In their view, people today are ignorant about economics and therefore just don’t realize what a good deal they are getting from business. What’s needed, then, is for corporate managers to get into the education business, and that’s exactly what is happeningoutfits like Exxon and Gulf Oil are investing millions of dollars \(taxsure that the next generation of voters does not graduate with the same benighted attitudes toward business as their elders. If all this sounds to you like an implausible parody of what our business elite is thinking and doing these days, you haven’t been keeping an eye on your local schoolhouse. The crusade is already well-advanced in Texas, where corporations and business groups have been plowing tens of thousands of dollars into the state’s public school districts to teach children, and train 2 NOVEMBER 3, 1978
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