Scantron

What Happens to Corporations Who “Quit” ALEC?

Thomas Jefferson on the state of America todayLast year, a number of  national progressive groups with ample funding spent a lot of time working to get corporations to change their business paradigms and cut their ties to ALEC.  A very admirable undertaking, as this was supposed to cut directly into ALEC’s operating capital while putting them (ALEC and the progressive groups) in the spotlight of at least cable news shows and internet media reporting.  A spot of MSM coverage, but just a spot.

I have asked before on these pages, and will ask again–did these corporate members of ALEC back off their financial support for a radical right wing agenda when they quit ALEC–after all, most of them claimed to know nothing about ALEC’s political work.  They were just involved for “business”.

koch-cokeCoca Cola, for example, issued a statement that “Our involvement with ALEC was focused on efforts to oppose discriminatory food and beverage taxes, not on issues that have no direct bearing on our business.”

Well, don’t believe for a second that Coca Cola participated in ALEC meetings and never heard a word about Voter ID laws or immigration laws, or women’s health laws, or any number of other radical right wing model legislation.  I can’t prove this because Coca Cola’s PR department is not taking questions on this subject and I wasn’t allowed into any of the ALEC meetings.  But none of the photos and videos we have of Coca Cola members at ALEC meetings—in social situations or in task force meetings–show them wearing blinders and ear plugs.

So what exactly did Coca Cola – and the other insurgents– do to get their “get out of jail free card” from MSNBC, big national public interest groups like Color of Change and Common Cause, and the written press?

No2

Are they making any sort of amends for the ALEC written model legislation they voted for?

Are they making any sort of restNo6itution to those directly hurt by
model legislation that ALEC passed?

 

NO-12Are they encouraging legislatures not to pass these hateful bills?

 

No9
Are they now doing anything to help black voters register to vote?    Again,No.

 
To put it succinctly, many of the corporations that are no longer bankrolling ALEC continue to engage in stealth lobbying through other Cabal members.

Stealth lobbying.  ALEC is a 501(c)3 so it is precluded from lobbying.  There have been three whistleblower complaints filed with the IRS  about ALEC, in fact, being a lobbying organization.  (VLTP has the master complaint of those filed, rather than one by any of the big national interest groups.  Let’s hear it for grass roots activism!)

And appropriately, this is all about money.  Money is at the core of what ALEC stands for.  And despite claims of success at getting corporations to quit ALEC, we can plainly see that in about half the cases money flowing into ALEC went to “another ALEC” instead.

Were goals actually achieved, or did ALEC slip past this attack?

The results are indeed mixed.  Assuming that companies actually are not making any donations to ALEC or actively involved in ALEC policy-writing, let’s take a look.  (Please click on any of the blue-colored links to find out more about these members of “The Cabal”, or “The Other ALECs” (as Truthout has dubbed them) with whom the quitting corporations are now in bed.)  Then let’s say it again, without laughing, that they did not know about ALEC’s political agenda.

List of Corporations Which Have Dumped ALEC Which Are Still Supporting the Radical Right Wing:

Corporations

1.) Coca-Cola – NGA, SGAC, SLLF

2.) Kraft – SGAC, CSG,SLLF

3.) Intuit – CSG, SLLF,NGA

4.) McDonald’s – SGAC, CSG,SLLF

5.) Mars – SGAC

6.) Reed Elsevier – SGAC

7.) American Traffic Solutions – SLLF

8.) Blue Cross, Blue Shield – CSG,NGA

9.) Procter and Gamble – SGAC, CSG, SLLF,NGA

10.) Scantron -NGA

11.) Amazon -NGA

12.) Medtronic -CSG

13.) Walmart – SGAC, CSG, SLLF, NGA

14.) Johnson & Johnson – NCSL, CSG,NGA

15.) John Deere -SGAC

16.) CVS – SGAC, SLLF,NGA

17.) Hewlett-Packard – SGAC, CSG,NGA

18.) Best Buy – SGAC, NCSL,NGA

19.) ExpressScripts -CSG

 

Non-Profits

20.) Gates Foundation – SLLF

21.) Lumina Foundation – NGA

To summarize, while ALEC may have been financially hurt by the exodus of these corporations, corporate behavioral change was most certainly not achieved as monies were simply re-directed to other influential members of the Cabal.  These corporations need to be treated accordingly for trying to pull the wool over the publics’ eye.

Please, write to these corporations and tell them that they have not fooled you by “quitting” ALEC only to stay involved with those rad-right groups which are

supporting financial de-regulation
supporting privatization of government
supporting the elimination of unions
supporting the elimination of the minimum wage
supporting climate change denial legislation
supporting Voter ID
supporting Kill at Will

These corporations have certainly NOT distanced themselves from the extremist agenda of ALEC, and in fact manipulated the progressive media into creating the echo chamber that sold this to the public.

 

NC Senate bill 795: More high stakes testing

Mecklenburg ACTS
Hello Friends,

The NC House and Senate are currently considering legislation that will increase testing madness and weaken public schools. Last year, it was your timely e-mails that helped kill HB 546 and stall testing madness in CMS. E-mail legislators about Senate Bill 795 TODAY! We’ve posted easy to copy email address for legislators here.

This e-mail is long and detailed: we apologize in advance. But these are crucial decisions for the future of our schools, and it’s important to understand them. You can find the full text of the bill here. Look for the box at upper left, and click on “edition 3” (unless there is a more recent edition by the time you get there – it’s changing very rapidly).

Testing and SB 795

SB 975 is a grab-bag of “reform” proposals. Specific parts of the proposal that would increase testing and/or raise test stakes include:

• A-F grading of schools (Part III) will make the stakes higher on tests. The legislation would give each school a grade of A to F, based solely on students’ test score performance, and require that each grade be widely publicized.

• Pay for Performance (Part X) requires each district to prepare a pay for performance plan for the 2013-14 school year.  Districts are be instructed to use measures of student “growth” (read “standardized test scores”) in pay for performance calculations.

• Replacing teacher career status with short-term contracts (Part XIV) will place pressure on teachers to produce high test scores at all costs year after year.

Although the legislation includes a section supposedly dedicated to “minimizing the time students spent taking tests through State and local testing programs” (Part IV), that section misses the point entirely. As we all know, the damage done by high-stakes testing affects teaching and learning throughout the year, not simply on those days that tests are administered.

Other sections of the bill concern us, including the legislators’ decision to mandate specific remedial reading strategies, more calendar shenanigans, and a provision that would require districts to grant a year-long leave of absence and a guaranteed return to any public schoolteacher who wished to move to a charter school.

Background and ALEC Connections

Most of these proposals were inspired by legislation passed in Florida, which has been promoted around the country by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-funded entity with connections to prominent testing companies such as Pearson and Scantron  [admin’s note: Scantron has recently announced their resignation from ALEC, but with no apology for what they did with ALEC, nor for the people they adversely affected.  Nor are they trying to stop ALEC legislation put into play while they were active members.]. Florida’s students are among the most tested in the nation

Although Florida has seen a few general gains in test scores during the past decade, NONE of the Florida proposals being recommended for North Carolina has been directly linked to improvements in student performance (for more detail, see here). In addition, parents and school board members across Florida are currently in revolt over Florida’s heavy-handed state exams, as well as its methods for evaluating schools.

These are not measures we want enacted in our state. SB 795 has passed the Senate Education, Appropriations and Finance Committees.  It’s time to email both the Senate and House Education Committee, as well as your own Senator and Representative.

The most effective letters mention the bill number (SB 795), and relate in specific, personal terms why you oppose (or support) a bill and its provisions.

Thank you!

Medtronic Leaves ALEC, Joining 19 Other Organizations

The corporate front group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has come under increasing fire for secretly passing off corporate-written legislation to state legislatures. Yesterday, the medical device company Medtronic announced that it chose not to renew its membership in ALEC in 2010.

For the rest of this news flash from Zaid Jilani of The Republic Report, please click here