Let’s be clear about one thing when it comes to anything that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is involved in has nothing to do with quality education, good government, safe environment, etc. They are concerned with one thing and that is the profits of the corporations that pay their bills.
This is a completely insidious group. They bait state legislators with trips to resort hotels in exotic areas to indoctrinate them with their rubber stamp bills. The state legislator who are members of ALEC are nearly 100% Republicans, right wing Republicans.
One thing that is evident about low level Republican operatives like state legislators is they are perfect candidates for personality worship. So they put these low level, petty, small minded state legislators with high-powered, slick, corporate individuals who craftily guide them to put together template bills in numerous legislative areas like education, environment, energy, health care, gun control, public lands and resources, etc.
But, the most insidious part of their activity is pushing these bill on the these state legislators to introduce into their state legislature. There are more then 70 bills in the education package alone. They encourage the legislators to submit as many of the bills as possible in each legislative session knowing that some of them will manage to get passed.
ALEC’s education agenda is pretty clear when you look at who makes up the education committee — all charter, private and online school promoters. Dominate institutions in the education committee is the Goldwater Institute from Arizona. They were the original promoter of Arizona’s charter school law. That law was so badly written and implemented that all kinds of scoundrels were able to get charters and start schools.
I was involved with the whole charter school system early on in Arizona and directed a Montessori charter school in the late 90′s. I also served on the board of governors for a Montessori charter school in central Arizona for nearly eight years. So I have seen first hand how charter schools work.
The one constant that I have seen in Arizona charter schools is struggling to keep from going broke because the state provides so little money per student for charter schools. School districts can supplement the inadequacy of state funding by passing bond elections to add funds to their programs. Nearly every school district in Arizona has to supplemental funding in this way. But, charter schools don’t have that luxury. Much of their money goes into facilities and they pay their teachers in most cases far less than public teacher earn.
So this is part of what ALEC is pushing. It is a ways I believe the Arizona legislature pretends to be doing something good for education while cutting support for it. They also never have to hear about their lack of funding from charters because most of them are small programs without the clout or means to protest. But, large school districts can make their case in powerful ways that is difficult for legislators to avoid. But, small charter programs are just trying to survive and rarely speak up.
There is not doubt that education needs transforming. But, ALEC is not the organization to undertake such a role and its legislation should be shunned altogether because is has one end in mind — putting public educational funds into the hand of private educational hands. Once that happens, the whole accountability movement will end. And we will see an end to testing being used to measure school effectiveness (or used to discredit schools and teachers). The private corporations will never tolerarte such scrutiny.
In all of this focus on education, there is very little concern about students. They just don’t care. They only care about getting control of our public money. Too, hell with what follows. They own the legislators and they are only accountable to their corporate overlords.
Below is the ALEC Education task force chairs and members (from ALEC Exposed):
- Co-Chair: Mickey Revenaugh (Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Connections Academy), Private Sector Chair.Connections Academy is a division of Connections Education LLC, a private school based in Baltimore, MD that offers free online public school through contracts with charter schools, school districts, or governmental entities. The contracted schools have a lower graduation rate than traditional public schools. Sylvan Ventures started Connections Academy in 2001. The company started its first schools in 2001, and in 2004, Connections Academy was sold to Apollo Management, L.P. Apollo Management “has some $68 billion of assets under management, spread among its private equity, capital markets, and real estate segments. It specializes in buying distressed businesses and turning them around and has had some of its biggest successes investing during economic downturns,” according to its Hoovers profile.
- Staff Director: Dave Myslinski
- Corporate Members include:
- Politicians on the Education Task Force include:
- Special Needs Subcommittee
- Subcommittee on Science Fraud in the Classroom (or Subcommittee on Junk Science)
- Higher Education Subcommittee
- School Choice Subcommittee
- Working Group on Transparency (joint with the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force
- K-12 Education Reform Subcommittee