Last week, Sean Kitchen reported that Senators Tomlinson and Dinniman hired the same public relations/lobbying firm that is entrenched in the Philadelphia education privatization movement to advocate for their PASSHE secession legislation, SB 1275. Kitchen’s investigation revealed that the social media campaign, “Stronger Pennsylvania Public Universities,” launched to promote Tomlinson and Dinniman’s PASSHE secession legislation was being run by powerful players in Philadelphia’s education privatization movement:
The website for Stronger Pennsylvania Public Universities is registered to Rhett Hintze, who is the Chief Operations Officer & Technology Procurement Strategist with the Bravo Group. The Bravo Group has carried water for the Corbett Administration in the past; they have a client list that includes some of Philadelphia’s largest education privateers, and the president and CEO of the Bravo Group, Chris Bravacos, is a founding member of the Philadelphia School Partnership. The people that Senators Tomlinson and Dinniman have aligned themselves with have an endgame in mind: the total dismantling of public education.
Late last night, Bill Schackner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette peeled back the next layer of the onion. Schackner broke the story that West Chester University’s Foundation hired the Bravo Group to push the legislation forward. As Schackner reported:
The West Chester University Foundation is bankrolling a campaign to help win passage of state legislation that would enable that school and other state-owned universities to break away from the State System of Higher Education.
A representative of Bravo Group, a Harrisburg lobbying and public relations firm, said the foundation hired Bravo at the request of the university’s council of trustees.
Clearly we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the money and players behind Tomlinson and Dinniman’s legislation to allow PASSHE universities to leave the state system and become state-related universities like Penn State, Temple, Pitt, and Lincoln.
Last week, following Sean Kitchen’s initial report on the links between SB 1275 and public education privateers, Raging Chicken Press filed Right-to-Know requests with Senators Tomlinson and Dinniman’s office, West Chester University, and other PASSHE universities requesting records relating to the proposed legislation. We will keep you posted on the status of our requests and developments in this rapidly moving story.