AN American investment mogul is spending $20 million (pound;13.3m) of his own money on television commercials, arguing that public schools are failing.
The adverts, timed to appear during the presidential election campaign, were the idea of Ted Forstmann, who has previously given away millions of dollars for scholarships to private schools.
The adverts declare that "America's government-run public school monopoly is failing our children" and showclassrooms full of unruly children. But Mr Forstmann insisted he is not pushing for alternatives to public schools, such as government vouchers for private and religious tuition.
"What I want is for parents to be aware of the facts and the possibilities and say, yes, we want to be in charge," he told a news conference.
Public education supporters immediately criticised the campaign, but it received support from such notables as Senator John McCain.