In the spring of 2012, Spenser Johnson, a junior at Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kansas, was unpacking his acoustic bass before orchestra practice when a sign caught his eye. "Do you want to make money?" it asked.
The poster encouraged the predominantly poor students (http://www.city-data.com/school/highland-park-high-school-ks.html) at Highland Park to enroll in a new, yearlong course that would provide lessons in basic economic principles and practical instruction on starting a business. Students would receive generous financial incentives including startup capital (https://www.youthentrepreneurs.org/ye-academy/) and scholarships after graduation. The course would begin that fall. Johnson eagerly signed up.
In some ways, the class looked like a typical high school business course, taught in a Highland Park classroom by a Highland Park teacher. But it was actually run by Youth Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit group created and funded primarily by Charles G. Koch, the billionaire chairman of Koch Industries.
The official mission (https://youthentrepreneurs.org/about/) of Youth Entrepreneurs is to provide kids with "business and entrepreneurial education and experiences that help them prosper and become contributing members of society." The underlying goal of the program, however, is to impart Koch's radical free-market ideology to teenagers...