Archives for category: ALEC

ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) is the corporate-controlled organization that is pulling the strings on behalf of the privatization movement.

Its next meeting will be held in Washington, D.C., on December 6 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on H Street. Here is the agenda. If any reader of this blog attends, please send a report about the model laws that are adopted to destroy public education, reduce the status of the teaching profession, and mine the public treasury on behalf of private corporations.

Its model legislation for charter schools, vouchers, eliminating tenure and collective bargaining, and promoting virtual learning, has been adopted in state after state, especially where reactionary governors and legislatures are in control. ALEC has a detailed plan to privatize public education and create profits for entrepreneurs.

True conservatives do not support ALEC’s well-coordinated attack on public education. True conservatives respect the traditional institutions that have made America a great country. True conservatives do not blow up democratic institutions.

Keep us informed about the doings of this shadowy but powerful organization, whose members include some 2,000 state legislators, and whose donors include America’s largest corporations.

To learn more about ALEC, read ALEC Exposed, a website to tracking its activities and goals.

The Internet is buzzing about Arne Duncan’s condescending and insulting comment about white suburban moms who oppose the Common Core because they discovered their child was not so brilliant after all and their local public school was not very good.

But meanwhile Mercedes Schneider found Arne’s message to the first Moms Congress, where he defined parental engagement in ways that would make ALEC and Jeb Bush happy. Most people think of parental engagement as getting involved to help your school, but Arne defined as as school choice, exercising your right to leave your school and go elsewhere.

Now we understand why rumors flew in 2012 that if Romney were elected, he might ask Arne to stay on. Race to the Top is completely congruent with No Child Left Behind. The main difference between them is that Democrats stood up to Bush’s NCLB.

This article from the Daily Kos proves there is no liberal media by listing the stories almost never mentioned in the major newspaper and TV shows.

Think how little attention the reform wrecking ball has gotten. Only a major scandal like Bennett’s grade-fixing is noticed. No major paper would touch John Merrow’s exposé of cheating under Rhee.

No one in the media cares about the US having the highest poverty rate of any advanced nation.

No one cares about segregation.

Almost no one mentions ALEC.

Almost no media outlet thinks it matters that public education is privatized for fun and profit.

NBC became an outlet for reformy propaganda because of “Education Nation.”

Even Rachel Maddow steers clear of education issues.

Gates, Duncan, and Rhee have had hours and hours of national TV time.

Liberal media bias?

Supporters of public education in North Carolina are reeling as a result of the sustained assault by the Legislature in this session, but in comes a Gates-funded project to claim that defeats are actually victories and to lobby for merit pay.

The CAN idea is supported by hedge fund managers and Gates to promote charter schools, evaluating teachers by test scores, awarding higher pay to those whose students get higher test scores (merit pay).

CAN is closely aligned with the ALEC-style effort to privatize public education and to dismantle the profession of teaching.

Below is their triumphant letter, saluting the “victories” in the recent legislative session, where public schools and teachers were pummeled by extremist elements who control the Legislature.

Important to bear in mind that over the past century, merit pay has been tried again and again and again. It has never worked.

In recent years, it failed to produce results in New York City. It failed in Chicago. It failed in Nashville, where the bonus offered for higher scores was $15,000.

The Raj Chetty study cited below had nothing to do with merit pay. It established only that some teachers are able to produce higher test scores than others, and that students with higher test scores have slightly higher lifetime earnings. But there was no merit pay involved.

Here is what CAN said on its arrival in North Carolina, where the very future of public education hangs in the balance and where the Legislature is busily eradicating the profession of teaching and funding Teach for America while defunding the North Carolina Teaching Fellows:

 

A great teacher for every student.

That was our vision when CarolinaCAN launched its “Year of the Teacher” campaign—an effort to elevate the teaching profession through research-backed policy recommendations and, in turn, help our state recruit and keep great teachers. Because we know that’s the most important factor in schools to helping our students succeed—and it’s what all kids deserve.

At the heart of our campaign were three goals:

  • Giving teachers regular, meaningful evaluations that recognize excellence and provide them the feedback they need to improve their practice
  • Freeing districts from outdated salary schedules so they can invest meaningful financial awards in excellent teachers and other staffing priorities
  • Reforming “tenure” laws to award contracts based on excellence
How did we do? The short answer is that CarolinaCAN went three-for-three in our first legislative session: a proud feat for which we thank you—our partners and fellow advocates—and the lawmakers who supported much-needed reforms for the Tar Heel State.

To learn more about our policy wins, I encourage you to visit our website and read our blog series about North Carolina’s 2013 budget.

As always, the long answer is more complicated. These laws create a foundation of sound policy to build on—but we must build on them, to make them meaningful to teachers and enable local leaders to recognize excellence. As these and other policies from the 2013 budget go into effect in our schools, we need to make sure they’re carried out with integrity, in a way that’s best for kids.

Because right now, the landscape of North Carolina public schools remains dire. See for yourself by reading our inaugural State of North Carolina Public Education report.

Our work has just begun. Our dedication to North Carolina’s kids—and to great teachers—runs deep. And we’re busy planning already for the next legislative session, when CarolinaCAN will continue to champion smart solutions to tough problems.

I hope I can count on you to join us.

Sincerely,

 

Julie Kowal
Executive Director
CarolinaCAN
 
 
 

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/When-Merit-Pay-Is-Worth-Pursuing.aspx

 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/07/23/does-teacher-merit-pay-work-a-new-study-says-yes/

ALEC has established its reputation as the organization funded by major corporations to promote deregulation, privatization, and whatever else benefits the big corporations.

In this speech, Jeb Bush spells out his agenda, which closely aligns with that of ALEC: Vouchers, charters, deregulation of teaching, virtual charter schools, for-profit charters, and Common Core.

The only particular where ALEC and Jeb diverge is Common Core.

Some ALEC members surely see Common Core as an initiative of the Obama administration and a federal takeover of education.

Others, like Jeb, see Common Core as an opportunity to make public schools look bad and to see hardware, software, and other stuff to schools and tap into that rich market.

Of course, Jeb didn’t mention that charter schools and voucher schools don’t post higher test scores than public schools, nor did he have time to acknowledge that virtual charter schools have lower test scores and lower graduation rates than public schools.

And he spoke before the New York state scores on Common Core were released, showing that the charter sector as a whole did far worse than the public sector.

But note the care he takes to couch the argument for privatization in terms of protecting minorities and advancing the needs of those at the bottom.

That must have appealed to ALEC members, who are not famous for their interest in civil rights but are busily trying to get rid of public education in their respective states.

Fred Klonsky writes to say that ALEC is holding its 40th annual conference today in Chicago at the Palmer House:

The Palmer House is a hotel located in Chicago’s Loop where ALEC is holding their meeting.

It is located at 17 East Monroe.

A large protest is scheduled for Thursday at noon.

Their phone number is (312) 726-7500.

Jodi Hirsh of Pittsburgh writes that ALEC has forty members in the Pennsylvania legislature, and many hold key positions. ALEC is the voice of major corporations, who oppose any sort of government regulations.

She writes that:

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, Senate Judiciary Chair Stewart Greenleaf, and House State Government Chair Daryl Metcalfe, as well as the Republican chairs of the Health, Veterans’ Affairs, Educational, Game & Fisheries, Consumer Affairs, Ethics, Commerce, Labor & Industry, State Government, Education, and the Senate’s Law & Justice committees, have all been participants in the organization.”

She says that “If ALEC has its way, Pennsylvanians can look forward to losing paid sick days and minimum wagesforcing schools to teach climate denialismrepealing the capital gains and estate taxesto help the very wealthy, and privatizing educationMedicare, and Medicaid. What kind of state would Pennsylvania become if ALEC’s agenda were fully actualized? Not one that many of us would like to live in.”

ALEC is meeting Wednesday in Chicago for its 40th annual conference. Usually, its meetings are held in remote, luxurious resorts. Chicago is an odd choice for an organization that is at the epicenter of the attack on American public education and on unions, among other issues.

 

 

A coalition of civil rights groups, clergy, unions, and supporters of public education began protests against ALEC at the Palmer House, where ALEC plans to hold its 40th annual conference on Wednesday.

The coalition is called the Chicago Moral Monday Coalition.

ALEC sponsors model laws that are anti-immigrant, anti-union, anti-public education, and supportive of corporate interests. Go to this website to learn about ALEC laws to promote charters and vouchers and online schools, as well as to remove any requirements for teacher professionalism.

The bipartisan coalition determined to privatize American public education has a large tent indeed. It includes ALEC, President Obama, Secretary Duncan, Governor Bobby Jindal, former Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Scott Walker, and many more.

Not to be missed is Betsy DeVos, who founded the American Federation for Children and advocates tirelessly for vouchers. In 2012, AFS honored Scott Walker and Michelle Rhee. Here is an interview with Betsy DeVos.

North Carolina has earned the distinction of being ALEC’s playground so it is not surprising to learn that the General Assembly has voted to put armed guards in the schools, with the right to arrest students. .

Jacob Langberg asks these questions:

“Would you want armed former cops and soldiers patrolling your office? Your supermarket? Your place of worship? I wouldn’t. So why are policymakers putting them in schools? Can’t we all agree that schools should be supportive, loving, peaceful environments, and not violent, hostile, and intimidating places? Apparently not.”

Other districts worried about protecting students from outside intruders after the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. North Carolina decided the students were threatening.

Langberg writes:

“This is not an abstract fringe issue. It’s about how we want our public schools to look and feel – child-friendly and caring or hostile and punitive. It’s about refusing to sort youth into potential perpetrators and potential victims. It’s about terrorism against young people. Sadly, school resource officers, who hardly existed two decades ago, already seem normal to most young people. We must refuse to start down a path that will soon make armed militias in schools feel like commonplace.”

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