Legislators with ALEC ties

A Thought about those who Quit ALEC – Editorial

I watch the numbers grow.  It’s now 40 corporations, 4 non-profits, and 70 legislators which have quit ALEC.  Those are some impressive numbers.

But to me, the most significant number here does not get enough emphasis—70 legislators.

We’ve read that many of the corporations quitting ALEC have either started working with another member of the Cabal, or have increased their ongoing efforts with other Cabal members such as CSL and NCCPR,among others.  (I fear how many we don’t know about.)

For some, I suspect that ALEC had outlived its usefulness and the circumstances of public pressure provided great cover for them to quit and say how they didn’t know anything about ALEC’s political agenda.  They were just content to admit to liking the ability to meet directly with legislators to discuss the issues.  But hell, we know ALEC is a lobbying influence peddler.  That’s kind of a given at this point–due, I must point out, to the efforts of the progressive coalition.

But the legislators who quit are people (corporations will never be human) who are facing their constituents with their political careers on the line.  And that means a great lot.  It takes a certain degree of courage as well as a finding of one’s inner core values.

I’d like to see the progressive coalition, which is getting so many well-deserved kudos for getting an increasing number of corporations to quit ALEC, intensify their efforts to get more legislators to quit ALEC.  This will inject ALEC’s political agenda into election races where ALEC members are running–please, somebody tell Tim Kaine what this means–and make their members defend themselves for what ALEC has done, is doing, and plans to do.

Fight for early voting continues in Ohio – VIDEO

In Ohio, the Obama campaign had to go to court to try to force Ohio Republicans to comply with a judge’s ruling that restores early voting in the state.  Ohio isn’t the only
state where Republicans are making it more difficult to vote.

Please click here to watch this video of history in the making.
Politics Nation with Al Sharpton
September 5, 2012


Lifelong Democrat ready for fight in Charlotte over school reform

With the Democrats, alas, are coming some of the most powerful voices in so-called education “reform” — purveyors of policies whose failures we and other Charlotte parents have experienced first hand. They bring not the patience and determination required to build up struggling schools and students, but rather a sharp critique of teachers and a steamroller philosophy that the Broad Foundation (which funds many of these groups) calls “disruptive” change.

Here in Charlotte, we are all too familiar with the damage such “disruptive” policies have done to children, schools and communities.

photo of Pam Grundy by Peter Wong

In the fall of 2010, despite pleas and warnings from students, parents and community members, our board of education voted to abruptly close a set of “failing” schools, most of which served low-income neighborhoods. As students were crowded into other schools, discipline infractions rose and test scores fell. The deep damage done to school system-community relations has yet to be repaired.

* A few months later, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) unveiled a battery of 52 new standardized tests, with the goal of testing every child in every subject, from kindergarten through high school, and then using the scores in teacher salary calculations. Our schools quickly became testing factories, and learning ground to a halt. Community protest managed to stop that madness, but we now face a similar barrage of state exams, mandated by our president’s Race to the Top initiative. Fed up with all the testing, more parents are abandoning the public schools for private institutions.

* Finally, two weeks ago, a pair of longtime CMS employees spoke out about the “crisis of heart” our district is experiencing, describing a stress-filled, dehumanizing atmosphere whose results include “too many fine educators, both novice and veteran, deciding to leave their beloved profession or questioning how much longer they can endure the stressful madness.” Statistics on principal and teacher departures from our district bear out their words.

Yet despite such on-the-ground experiences — as well as a stunning lack of evidence that these “disruptive” measures do anything to improve teaching or learning — the “reform” bandwagon rolls on, dragging federal policy along with it. The programs of the president I worked so hard to get elected have become just another obstacle.

I know many right-wingers want to dismantle our nation’s public education system, using charter and voucher laws to fragment education into a plethora of privately run institutions. When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) held a summit here last spring, it felt good to be outside, protesting their attacks on public schools. It’s much harder to watch members of the party I support strike equally devastating blows, seemingly unaware of their effects.

We here at the grass roots face quite a challenge. Groups like StudentsFirst and Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) spend a lot of money…We hold home-printed signs and yellow pencils crafted from pool noodles.

The difference says a lot. There’s big money in many of the endeavors these “reformers” propose: money for testing companies, for charter school management firms, for computer and software producers.

To read this entire article and sign on to their very important petition, please click here