Two non-teachers will be there, too: Charles and David Koch, the notorious right-wing billionaires.Well, the Kochs won’t be there in person, but they will be represented by a Koch-funded and controlled organization: the Arlington, Virginia-based Bill of Rights Institute.
Charles Koch is also a generous contributor to many worthy causes. The other two brothers are not involved in the firm, having been bought out by Charles and David in the 1980’s.
He is the founder or co-founder of a number of foundations, many of them in support of free markets and usually with a conservative economic approach. Forbes, in their October 2013 survey estimates Charles Koch’s net worth at about $36 billion.
For example, in one “click-and-explore” activity at the BRI website, showing the many ways that government can oppress individuals—“Life Without the Bill of Rights?
”—a cartoon character pops up with a dialogue bubble reading, “The gov’t took my home! Educator resources for “Documents of Freedom” at the BRI site underscore this business-good/government-bad message: “When government officials can make any laws they please—and hold themselves above the law—there is less economic growth, less creativity, and less happiness.
Harry Koch, the grandfather of Charles Koch, was a printer, and some time following his arrival in Quanah, bought a local struggling printer, which also published the local newspaper, the “Tribune Chief”. Charles apparently got the message, and went to work for his father’s firm.
Koch [1900-1967], the founder of what today is Koch Industries, the world’s largest privately owned company. Koch, was the son of a Dutch immigrant, Harry Koch, who had arrived in Quanah, Texas, in 1888. Following graduation, Charles went to work as a consultant for Arthur D. The father threatened his son that if he did not return home, he would sell the firm.
So Harry Koch became the town’s local printer and newspaper publisher. He then decided to remain for another year, and his focus that year was on chemical engineering, the major of his father. From 1961 to 1963, he served as a vice president of Koch Engineering, the engineering arm of his father’s company.
Charles Koch was born on November 1, 1935 in Wichita, Kansas. He was promoted to president of Koch Engineering in 1963, and served in that capacity until 1971.
Until 2013, the Bill of Rights Institute president was the Koch operative Tony Woodlief, who headed the Market-Based Management Institute in the Kochs’ hometown of Wichita, Kansas, and served as president of the Mercatus Center.
The Bill of Rights Institute says it offers “engaging educational games, videos, and activities for people of all ages, and classroom lesson plans for teachers across the country.” The institute holds essay contests for students and promotes free teacher seminars throughout the United States—on topics like “Being an American,” “Preserving the Bill of Rights,” and “Heroes and Villains: The Quest for Civic Virtue.” Their promotional materials boast that the BRI has offered sessions for 18,000 teachers and provided materials for another 40,000.