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House Bill 4826 proposes that there by public education curriculum that teaches capitalism and entrepreneurship to 8th graders in Michigan

December 5, 2019

A few weeks ago, we posted a story about a new class being offered through the Grand Rapids Public Schools, a class which essentially prepares students to work in the Hospitality and Tourism industry. 

The business community’s interest in public education has a long history. Elizabeth Fones-Wolf, author of the book, Selling Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism 1945 – 60, thoroughly documents the push by sectors like the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) to promote entrepreneurial education, including the creation of classroom materials for K – 12 schools.

The capitalist class continues to influence public education with a multi-pronged strategy, including attacks against public school teacher unions, redirecting public funding for Charter & private schools, and pushing state level legislation that would alter curriculum being used in public education.

This last tactic is exactly what we are within the GRPS and even at the state level, with legislation like House Bill 4826. House Bill 4826 essentially promotes entrepreneurial education, where students would be exposed to the ideas around creating their own businesses. The language of House Bill 4826 states:

Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, the board of a school district or board of directors of a public school academy shall ensure that the school district’s or public school academy’s social studies curriculum for grade 8 includes a program of instruction in free enterprise and entrepreneurship.

House Bill 4826 goes on to say:

House Bill 4826 was introduced in August of 2019, by West Michigan legislator Tommy Brann. The bill was co-sponsored by the following state legislators – Hank Vaupel, Matt Maddock, Michael Webber, Steve Marino, Sue Allor, Gary Eisen, Ryan Berman and Gary Howell, all of which have been funded heavily by the private sector, with several of them receiving substantial from the DeVos family, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network searchable database.

House Bill 4826 has since gone to the Education Committee and that is where it remains. It is worth noting that the Education Committee is chaired by Pamela Hornberger’s number one campaign contributor has been the DeVos family, a family which not only promotes entrepreneurial education and supports attacks on public education and public education teachers.

Of course, so much of this kind of legislation happens without the public knowing about it, which is how politicians prefer it. However, what would an informed and organized movement for education justice respond to this kind of legislation, along with the multi-pronged strategy of those seeking to push a Neo-Liberal Education model in Michigan? For those interested in being part of such a movement, contact Grand Rapids for Education Justice, by going to their Facebook page sending an e-mail to

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