NOTE: MEA-MFT’s two national affiliates, NEA and AFT, are involved in the Stand UP to ALEC coalition.
THE ALEC EDUCATION AGENDA
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) claims that its education mission is to “promote excellence in the nation’s educational system,” yet its “model” legislation advocates for policies that defund public services, distort the curriculum, and undercut our educators.
ALEC on Education:
• ALEC supports funding “virtual” schools at the same per pupil rate as public brick-and-mortar schools; the difference in cost results in profits for ALEC’s corporate members.
• The Education Task Force has voted on over a dozen separate ALEC bills relating to vouchers and tuition tax credits for K-12 education. The bills vary by whose financial interests they serve and by funding mechanism. Some of these bills introduced in states have been word-for-word copies.
• ALEC’s “Environmental Literacy Improvement Act” calls for curriculum to “provide a range of perspectives in a balanced manner” regardless of the scientific findings surrounding climate change.
• ALEC’s Academic Bill of Rights and Intellectual Diversity Act would prevent higher education faculty from using their professional judgment and create a chilling effect on what professors and students discuss.
• ALEC has also adopted the Indiana Education “Reform” Package. It includes bills that advance online distance learning for K-12, that limit the collective bargaining rights of teachers, and that open schools up to “special management” if they underperform.
• ALEC’s A-Plus Literacy Act is based on special interest legislation peddled in Florida which grades schools based mainly on standardized test results.
ALEC’s Education Task Force includes corporations that profit from privatizing public schools. They promote model bills that divert tax dollars to private schools and undermine academic freedom.
Corporate-Led Online Learning:
In 2011 Tennessee signed HB 1030 into law; a bill that includes copy-cat language from ALEC’s Virtual Public Schools Act. The model bill allows private operators to create online academies that would be funded as if they were brick-and-mortar schools.
Guess which ALEC corporate funder won the no-bid contract to develop a state school district’s Virtual Academy? K12 Inc., pictured left at the NY Stock Exchange. K12 has paid its CEO nearly $16 million in the past three years; most of its revenue comes from taxpayers.
In 2013, the ALEC Task Force voted on at least five new model bills that make the curriculum vulnerable to digital content, content that could potentially be developed by for-profit corporate Task Force members.
IT’S TIME TO STAND UP TO ALEC’S EDUCATION AGENDA!
Actions You Can Take:
• Join the campaign at StandUpToALEC.org and reach out to your state legislator.
• Ask your Facebook and Twitter followers to join the campaign on Twitter via @StandUpToALEC and at Facebook.com/StandUpToALEC
• Tweet: Use the hashtags #StandUpToALEC & #ALECeducation
Want to Do More? Contact Anthony DeAngelo at [email protected]
ALEC in the states:
The Center for Media and Democracy tracked at least 129 ALEC education bill introductions in the states in 2013. Among the introduced bills:
AZ FL IA MA MD MO NY NV OK OR SC TN: Use language from the Parent Trigger Act (ALEC’s version includes vouchers)
More on ALEC:
Through ALEC, state legislators vote as equals with corporate lobbyists and special interest groups on “model” legislation without the press or public present. Corporations help bankroll ALEC meetings at resorts, where state legislators are wined and dined at corporate expense.
ALEC’s future education work:
In December The Guardian published documents revealing ALEC’s proposal to begin an Education Subcommittee on Science, Technology, Education & Mathematics (STEM). Potential members are:
Exxon, BP, Shell Oil, Microsoft, Texas Instruments
Documents reveal that ALEC may be courting the following education related companies to join:
• American Association of Community Colleges
• Business Higher Education Forum
• American Council of Trustees & Alumni
• DeVry University
• Career Education Corporation
• Capella Education Company
• Pearson Higher Education
• White Hat Management
• Education Management Corporation
• Edison Learning
• Academic Partnerships
• American Public Education, Inc.