“Curriculum for Sale”

North Carolina multimillionaire Arthur Pope has been using his wealth to influence the state’s politics and policy for years. In the May-June issue of Academe, Hassan Melehy, a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, explains how Pope uses his wealth to fund foundations which push for more and more conservative influence over education. On the one hand, Pope funds political candidates who promise to cut public education funding; when schools are faced with budget shortfalls as a result, his education foundations step in to offer to fill the gap—on their own terms. A favorite of the Pope organizations is to promote “Western Culture” programs, under the theory that universities are no longer teaching such writers as Plato or John Locke (a favorite of Pope’s). Melehy carefully picks apart Pope’s logic, showing that not only do students have plenty of exposure to western history and culture, but also that many of these philosophers advocated a sense of community and shared commitment abhorred by the various foundations Pope supports. Read the full article on Academe’s website.

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