school vouchers

The GOP’s free-market reforms are aimed at public education … More ALEC!

The GOP’s free-market reforms are aimed at public education … More ALEC!

by Will Huntsberry, published by NC’s Indy Week

VLTP and our editors and authors have attempted to inform the public that education is the next big initiative of ALEC.  Not to educate, but rather to privatize public schools and turn teaching over to private corporations.  These corporate “teachers” are not required to be state certified instructors and charters basically are less regulated than public schools.

This article by Huntsberry describes ALEC’s efforts of privatizing education and why…

“At least seven bills are moving through the Legislature that would divert money from public schools to private hands, eliminate teacher tenure, instill performance pay and potentially increase class sizes in public schools. As for charters, they would have less accountability to local school boards; in effect, they would be deregulated.

“Introducing all the reform bills at once is a national strategy, not a state one. A conservative think tank the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) developed the plan, and over the past two years, it has been deployed in Republican-controlled states.

ALEC’s goal is to promote “limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty,” according to its website. The organization writes conservative legislation, which state lawmakers can use in their home states. Many major corporations sponsor ALEC: Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, Bayer, AT&T, Cracker Barrel and Koch Industries are just a few of the organization’s current members, according to the Center for Media and Democracy.”

Ramming through the education reforms is like a game of whack-a-mole. “If all the moles pop up at once, there is no way the person [i.e. progressive education advocates] with the mallet can get them all,” reads an ALEC strategy guide on education policy.

“Instead of being forthright and aggregating all of the reforms into one education bill, they are making it difficult to see,” says Patty Williams of Public Schools First NC, an organization that advocates for progressive education policy. “It’s just a way of not being transparent to the public. We should be proposing laws in a way that’s easy to understand.”

A school voucher bill, HB 994, introduced Tuesday and originated in the office of Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake, is the centerpiece of conservative education bills. Not only does the bill come straight from the ALEC playbook, Stam, like many other North Carolina lawmakers, is a member of ALEC.

Please take the time to read and share this highly important and informative article by Will Huntsberry -> HERE <-

BOYCOTT PEARSON NOW!

Pearson, ALEC, and the Brave New (Corporate) World:
Stand Up to Pearson Now!

(Publisher’s Note: We have revised our Boycott Pearson boycottinformation for clarity and in order to add additional research – please use this version, posted April 29, 2012, when sharing.)

 

Supporters of Public Education,

The curtain has been pulled aside recently from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), exposing the seedy underbelly of our democracy. Organizations like ALEC circumvent the democratic process in favor of corporations. Financial resources are used to influence public officials and provide model legislation meant to easily pass through state houses of governance. Recent examples include infamous “Stand Your Ground” laws and others that seek to limit the voting rights of marginalized populations. Education reform legislation is also part of ALEC’s agenda, with substantial sponsorship from corporate funds to divert the flow of valuable taxpayer dollars away from public schools.

ALEC-inspired advocacy for public education reform typically follows a path to privatization; that is, viewing educational practices vis-à-vis economic and capitalist principles. Strict school choice models, vouchers, private charter management organizations, and the erosion of collective bargaining rights are all examples of the economic management of public education. As opposed to a valuable public good, certain entities prevalent in the education reform debate are forcing schools to motivate themselves by profit and competition. What it means to be an educated person (e.g., college and career ready), what is important to teach (e.g., common standards), and how success is measured (e.g., standardized tests) are currently under significant transformation without the thorough vetting via democratic processes. And with the frustration and confusion ensuing from rapid developments occurring behind closed doors, outside the public spotlight of democracy, there are large corporations conveniently present to sell us products that will solve all of our problems.

Pearson is one such entity that as of late always seems to be at the right place and precisely at the right time. In other words, just as new legislation is passed, as new educational mandates are set, Pearson is suddenly able to provide the legions of educators and school systems clamoring for some kind of answer with just the right product. How can this be? In recent years, this once relatively small publishing house turned itself into a massive provider of a range of educational products, from traditional print materials for the K-12 sector, higher education resources and technology solutions for public school systems. It is one thing to have various products to sell and to allow the marketplace to judge their success or failure. It is another matter to reorganize the rules so that Pearson products are all one needs to buy to satisfy a range of emerging Federal and State education mandates.

For better or for worse, education reform in the United States is largely controlled by legislation. It appears then that Pearson is successfully implementing a two-pronged approach: grease the democratic process in their favor so that certain rules must be followed and from the other side perfectly match their own products so they have exactly what can be bought to satisfy those requirements. Pearson, through connections to ALEC, has become the dominant provider of education resources and services in the K-12 and post-secondary markets. The following are some of the affiliations that made this perfect alignment possible:

  • Pearson acquired the Connections Academy, whose co-founder and executive VP is Mickey Revenaugh, is also the co-chair of the ALEC Education Task Force. In September of 2004, Connections Academy was sold to an investor group led by Apollo Management, L.P. In the fall of 2011, Pearson acquired Connections Education, establishing a leading position in the fast-growing virtual school segment and the opportunity to apply Connections Education’s skills and technologies in new segments and geographic markets.
  • According to Pearson’s website: “Pearson Education and the University of Phoenix (a subsidiary of Apollo Management Group), the largest private (for-profit) university in the United States announced a partnership which will accelerate the University’s move to convert its course materials to electronic delivery.” [emphasis added]. As such, Pearson will certainly provide the materials and the mode of transmission. It must also be stated here that many for-profit universities have been under investigation for student loan fraud and unethical recruitment practices. The CEO of AMG, Charles (Chaz) Edelstein, was Managing Director of Credit Suisse and Head of the Global Services group within the Investment Banking division, based in Chicago. He is also on the Board of Directors for Teach for America, which is a provider of temporary and inexperienced teachers and also frequently associated with corporate education reform. One prominent name in this regard is TFA alum Michelle Rhee, the failed former Chancellor of DC public schools.
  • America’s Choice was also recently acquired by Pearson. This organization is directly associated with the Lumina, Broad, and Walton Foundations, all active members of ALEC. They each promote so-called “innovations” that appeal to the corporate and for-profit mindset.
  • Bryan Cave, LLP is the lobbying firm for Pearson. Edward Koch is currently one of the partners at Bryan Cave. Edward Koch sits conveniently and comfortably on the board for StudentsFirst NY, a branch of the national initiative StudentsFirst, which is the brainchild of failed former Chancellor of DC public schools Michelle Rhee. It must also be stated that Rhee’s tenure is under a dark cloud of investigation for rampant test cheating and tampering in the district.
  • Pearson is contracted with Stanford University to deliver the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) to more than 25 participating states. According to Pearson’s website, “TPA is led by Stanford University, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and Pearson.” Furthermore, “Pearson’s electronic portfolio management system will support candidates, institutions of higher education, and state educational agencies by providing registration and account management services, submission of the portfolio for scoring and results reporting.” [emphasis added]. Pearson provides the administrative management skills and broad-based technology and delivery systems that will support the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) and bring it to a national scale. Stanford University’s Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) selected Pearson to provide these needed services for the TPA. Let it be known that the U.S. Dept. of Ed. is currently considering teacher preparation programs to be evaluated based on accountability measures similar to public schools.
  • Sir Michael Barber is the current Chief Education Advisor for Pearson. It is no secret that Mr. Barber is a powerful advocate for the free-market approach to education, including union busting, merit pay, and turning public schools into privately run charters.
  • Pearson contracts with Achieve to manage the PARCC assessments. Achieve is funded by Lumina, State Farm (both members of ALEC) and The Alliance for Excellence in Education (AEE). AEE chairman Bob Wise is a regular contributor to and participant with the ALEC educational agenda. Moreover, PARCC awarded Pearson a contract in January to develop a new Technology Readiness Tool, which will support state education agencies to evaluate and determine needed technology and infrastructure upgrades for the new online assessments. Pray tell, who will sell those upgrades?
  • The Tucker Capital Corporation acted as exclusive advisor to The American Council on Education (ACE) and Pearson on the creation of a groundbreaking new business that will drive the future direction, design, and delivery of the GED testing program.
  • The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) partners with a whole cast of other organizations that promote a corporate, anti-public education reform agenda. CCSSO Central “partners” include (among others) McGraw-Hill and Pearson. CCSSO Director Tom Luna works closely with Jeb Bush, whose associations with ALEC and corporate-reform are too numerous to mention.
  • GradNation is a special project of America’s Promise Alliance, sponsored by Alma and Gen. Colin Powell. Grad Nation sponsors include State Farm (ALEC), the Walton Foundation (ALEC), AT&T (on the corporate board of ALEC), The Boeing Company (ALEC), the Pearson Foundation and Philip Morris USA (ALEC). The GradNation Summit list of presenters reads like an ALEC yearbook.
  • Gen. Colin Powell sits on the Board of Directors for The Council for Foreign Relations, which issued an “Education Reform and National Security” report (co-chaired by Joel Klein and Condoleeza Rice, directed by Julia Levy). The report states, among other things, that: “The Task Force believes that though revamping expectations for students should be a state-led effort, a broader coalition … including the defense community, businesses leaders, the U.S. Department of Education, and others … also has a meaningful role to play in monitoring and supporting implementation and creating incentives to motivate states to adopt high expectations. The Defense Policy Board, which advises the secretary of defense, and other leaders from the public and private sectors should evaluate the learning standards of education in America and periodically assess whether what and how students are learning is sufficiently rigorous to protect the country’s national security interests.” [emphasis added].
  • According to Susan Ohanian: “In the introduction to the Education Reform and National Security report, Julia Levy, Project Director, thanks ‘the several people who met with and briefed the Task Force group including the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Mary Cullinane formerly of Microsoft [Philadelphia School of the Future] [now Vice President of Corporate and Social Responsibility for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt], Sir Michael Barber of Pearson and David Coleman of Student Achievement Partners …’ They were briefed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Pearson.”
  • Pearson has partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create a series of digital instructional resources. In November 2011, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave ALEC $376,635 to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement (the Gates Foundation recently withdrew its support for ALEC under the heat of public pressure). However, their billions of dollars still flow to other far-reaching organizations dedicated to dismantling public education.
  • The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards is a private-sector member of ALEC. Bob Wise (Chairman, of NBPTS) and Alliance for Excellent Education presented on “National Board’s Fund Initiative to Grow Great Schools” at the Education Task Force Meeting at the 2011 ALEC annual picnic. According to the NBPTS website, they “announced that it has awarded Pearson a five-year contract for the period 2009-2013 to develop, administer and score its National Board Certification program for accomplished teachers. Pearson will collaborate with NBPTS to manage its advanced teacher certification program in 25 certificate areas that span 16 subject areas.”
  • Pearson has also acquired partnerships with companies to deliver PARCC, SAT testing, GED testing, and was the central player (through Achieve) in the design of the National Common Core Standards. The GED Testing Service, while wholly owned by the American Council for Education, entered into a joint venture with Pearson to transform the GED for some 40 million adult Americans (one in five adults) lacking a high school diploma. This is an entirely new market.

Even with all of Pearson’s efforts, they are not the only game in town. McGraw-Hill is another publisher forging similar connections and making money hand over fist due to NCLB-mandated reading programs like Open Court and SRA Reading Mastery. Of course, after billions spent on Reading First and the McGraw-Hill materials, the federally funded evaluation of the program showed no increase in reading comprehension by third grade. McGraw-Hill is also one of the biggest test publishers in the U.S. and publishes the CTBS, the central competitor to Pearson’s illustrious SAT-10.

The legislation forced upon states to adopt the curriculum (i.e., the Common Core) and its required testing measures (i.e., PARCC) essentially eliminates the possibility of consumer choice (supposedly a key concept in free market ideology) and requires that taxpayer dollars for education be handed over to Pearson and McGraw-Hill as the sole providers of nearly all educational resources available to the schools. It is frightening that Pearson, profiting billions from public education, is simultaneously operated by and sponsors organizations that promote the destruction of public education. It is essentially forcing the public to pay for the demise of its own education system.

It is possible that Pearson and its allies will deny and attempt to refute the information bulleted above. Perhaps the magnitude of their efforts will project the magnitude of their guilt. Whatever the semantics here, if a connection is really an association, if ownership is actually sponsorship, or if partnership actually means membership, it is interesting and coincidental that the above cast of characters constantly find themselves associated with each other. Additionally, the common friend to all seems to be Pearson.

If Pearson is truly interested in profit, as all corporations typically are, then consumer pressure is the best way to be heard. We at United Opt Out National are calling on everyone to take a stand against Pearson by doing any or all of the following:

  • Refuse to buy their materials or adopt them in your courses or for personal use.
  • Bring these concerns to local PTAs, school boards and libraries.
  • If required to use Pearson products due to professional obligations, do so under public protest.
  • Promote the use of ACT rather than SAT, as SAT is a Pearson product.
  • Inform Pearson of your actions.
  • If you are in higher education, discuss your concerns with your local Pearson representative, informing them that for these purposes you are not going to adopt their materials in any of your courses.

Raise public awareness so the brakes can be put on this madness. Please click here to see Education News’ sample letter, which you are encouraged to share so that others may refuse Pearson products.

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This article is written by or from a variety of publications on EducationViews.org on March 11, 2013 and is published in Education News.
Education Newshttp://educationviews.org/boycott-pearson-now/#
Please visit their site to read the Pearson Boycott Letter
and to sign your name and intention to Boycott Pearson
in their Comment Section by clicking here

How Kasich’s Budget for Ohio Hurts All Schools, But Especially The Poorest

Governor John Kasich has made clear that he wants to privatize the schools of Ohio as much as possible with vouchers, charters, and online schools. His new budget reflects his attitude toward public education.

This report came from Jan Resseger in Cleveland. Jan works tirelessly on behalf of equity and social justice.

It is likely you have been getting mixed messages about Ohio’s proposed school funding plan. The political rhetoric is designed to confuse you. How to sort out the facts and how to consider the moral implications of the plan that will allocate opportunity among Ohio’s children?

First, forwarded below is an alert from the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding. You’ll remember them as the DeRolph plaintiff group. The point being made here is clear and simple. Of course poor districts will get more from the state than the wealthiest districts, even though the proposed formula for this biennium rewards rich districts more than poor districts. All of Ohio’s school funding plans going back over a century deliver more money to poor districts. That is a primary function of a state funding formula… to make up at least to a tiny degree for disparate property taxing capacity across local school districts. Back in the 1990s, the Supreme Court of Ohio found four times that Ohio’s formula did not do a good enough job of equalizing access to opportunity.

The problem with this year’s budget proposal is that it doesn’t deliver anywhere what is needed to make up for vast disparities in local property taxing capacity. This means that school districts in wealthy communities will continue to have plenty while the poorest rural and urban districts won’t have nearly enough. This means, for example, that despite passage of a 15 mill levy last November, Cleveland probably still won’t be able to afford to reduce class size enough or hire back all the social workers who were laid off two years ago.

It is appropriate here to remember the words of political philosopher Benjamin Barber: “Equality is not achieved by restricting the fastest, but by assuring the less advantaged a comparable opportunity. Comparable in this matter does not mean identical. The disadvantaged usually require more assistance to compete. Adequate schooling allows those born disadvantaged to compete with those advantaged.”

Here also is a link to an analysis of the proposed state budget by an alternative newspaper in Cincinnati. It is a fair and balanced analysis.

In a constitutional, thorough and efficient system of public common schools, all students and all districts should be winners when a state budget bill is crafted. The state has the constitutional responsibility to secure a thorough and efficient system of public common schools for the benefit of all of Ohio’s school children. So why should there be any losers?

State administration officials, in regard to their state budget, had said such things as:

Students in every zip code deserve a quality education.

If you are poor you will get more, if you are rich you will get less.

The district-by-district spreadsheet revealed that poor districts typically will not receive more state aid than the current amount. The administration officials then said:

We were not looking for a specific per pupil funding number-there is no magical number.

We are not attempting to arrive at a cost amount per pupil.

Poor school districts receive more total state money per pupil.

A historical perspective is warranted. Poor districts have received more state money per pupil than rich districts since at least 1906. SB 103, enacted April 2, 1906, provided state funds to poor districts on top of the state subsidy of $1.85 per pupil for all districts. In May 1908, HB 1302 appropriated $45,000 “to assist with the maintenance of weak school districts.” A $50,000 appropriation, via HB 561, was enacted in May 1910-again, to put more state money in poor school districts.

The state’s first foundation program (Ohio Foundation Program) was enacted in 1935. The Foundation Program Act provided additional funding to poor districts in addition to the state “flat rate” per pupil amount to all districts. The legislature revised the foundation law in 1947 but the result remained the same-more state aid to poor districts.

In August 1975 the legislature enacted SB 170 which included the equal yield formula. The premise was to yield more state funds to poor districts. Equal yield was repealed in the early 1980s in favor of a return to the foundation program. The equal yield formula failed because it was grossly underfunded.

The idea of more funds for low wealth districts is obviously not new. However, even with more state funding per pupil provided to low wealth districts, the total per pupil revenue available to low wealth districts is much less than high wealth districts. Since, in general, low wealth districts will receive no increase with the proposed state budget, the equity gap will widen.

The proposed budget for FY 14 & FY 15 is a loser for all districts. In general, most school districts will be receiving less state and federal money than they received in FY 11. K-12 public education will not benefit from an improved Ohio economy under the state budget proposal and thus a greater burden will be shifted to local revenue sources. FY 2014 and FY 2015 STATE BUDGET PROPOSAL:

Rich districts, poor districts, which are the winners?

Ms. Jan Resseger
Minister for Public Education and Witness
Justice and Witness Ministries
700 Prospect, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3711

http://www.ucc.org/justice/public-education

“That all citizens will be given an equal start through a sound education is one of the most basic, promised rights of our democracy. Our chronic refusal as a nation to guarantee that right for all children…. is rooted in a kind of moral blindness, or at least a failure of moral imagination…. It is a failure which threatens our future as a nation of citizens called to a common purpose… tied to one another by a common bond.” —Senator Paul Wellstone, March 31, 2000

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This article is written by Diane Ravitch and is posted at her blog at http://dianeravitch.net/2013/02/26/how-kasichs-budget-for-ohio-hurts-all-schools-but-especially-poorest/

Diane Ravitch's Blog

How Are Corporations Undermining K-12 Public Education Through These ALEC Bills? – ALECExposed

Courtesy of CMD’s ALECExposed, here is a great 2 page flyer about ALEC’s position on Education.  Perfect for handouts at teach-ins, rallies, protests, etc. More →

A New Tragedy of the Commons — Tea Party Attack on America’s Civic Dignity

                       DIAGNOSIS:  MASS HYSTERIA AT THE TEA PARTY

There was a story earlier this year about 18 high school cheerleaders who, one by one, developed mysterious tics, spasms and vocalizations which were eventually diagnosed as conversion disorder, a condition causing Tourette-like symptoms, but with no underlying neurologic cause.   The more it was publicized (and it was), the worse the outbreak became. It was not until the media started reporting it as mass psychogenic illness (mass hysteria) that the girls started to magically get well. Oddly, their families were still desperately seeking a more sinister cause, and seemed genuinely disappointed that it was in fact a self-induced condition.

A similar, but much larger outbreak of hysteria is taking place across the nation, infecting millions of Americans. They have developed an irrational phobia about the commons — that which is the public realm — publicly held tangible assets, resources, services, and shared culture in general — all have become the source of utter terror to many susceptible minds. It’s much more than just old-timey rugged American individualism run-amok here, this is true clinical hysteria on the grandest and most awful scale. It is a mass delusion — a mental wasting disease spreading its necrotic stench from shore to shore.

Many are familiar with the 1969 seminal work The Tragedy of the Commons, by Garrett Hardin — a breakthrough insight that laid the groundwork of the accepted premise behind the modern environmental movement. Hardin eloquently defined the nature of the problem as the over use and abuse of limited common resources. — land, water, air…

Now we see the new tragedy of the commons moving beyond the lakes, forests and skies — invading all of the shared human experience. It is an attack on the very notion of community — an all-out assault on the great American tradition of civic life. More →

National Corporate Attack on Public Education

Why is a Kindergarten teacher in Nevada so interested in what is going on in Chicago?

Thousands of mile away – teachers are under attack by the same groups using the same legislative language.  I hear a very familiar argument – and it’s coming from Chicago!  I feel your pain – sisters and brothers in another city.  #Solidarity

Does this sound familiar Chicago?  In Nevada trusted government officials gave away my pay and benefits by implementing Student First/ALEC legislation, they busted my contract as Koch Brother Think Tanks told them to, they destroyed my working conditions while I watched billionaires cart off the Nevada gold, they replaced classroom instruction with testing provided by some very wealthy test-makers, and the unemployed tell me to be happy I have a job because theirs was taken by a crisis created by billionaires who were under-regulated.  Teachers are experiencing the same or similar – all over the nation.

It is a slap in the face to teachers in every city.  So you see Chicago – your issues are my issues.   #Solidarity

Privatizing schools is the new rage.  Teachers are an easy target – compliant, rule-oriented, and orderly.  As a good friend once told me – teachers are the low-lying fruit – easy to pick off.  Both sides seem to be participating in the tirades.  Both sides are involved in privatizing scams and creating hybrids to replace real public schools to make stockholders and/or themselves money.  It is necessary to fail our public schools, to get at the money.  The bullies are succeeding because teachers haven’t fought back on a national level- YET.

Big money looks at the education portion of the general funds in every state and just itches to get their greedy, little fingers into that pie.  CHARTERS!  VOUCHERS!  CORPORATE HYBRIDS!  Business knows how to run schools better than a teacher – and they promise to make extra money to boot!  Really?  Does that make sense?  Do you go to the dentist to buy groceries?  Why would you go to a corporation to teach kids to read?  And you are going to MAKE money teaching kids to read?  Really?

Vegas has its share of touted charters of supposed high scores and fame.  More costly and with little or no real improvement.  Charters cost.  Without the regulations and rules, these charters often go in directions that are scary to watch.  Yep, charters are costly with usually little to show for it.  They are a FAD.

How to do it?  How to convince the general public to actually pay MORE to privatize schools?  How to win hearts and influence people to give their own school buildings away and fund someone’s private school ideas?

ATTACK THE TEACHERS

1.  Publish teacher’s salaries.  Skew the data.  Make the average salary appear to be twice as large as most teachers make.  Include money that teachers will never see in hand – pump up the numbers.  Make it seem like the educators are on the government dole – taking money for nothing.  If public school teachers are lousy – no one will want to fund their schools. Win the public relations campaign by smearing costly educators.

2.  Starve the resources.  Repeat after me – the answer is NOT money.  Keep saying this over and over and over until you believe it.  Even though it’s a lie.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Common sense tells us that.  Teachers make head way with even limited supplies. Imagine what teachers would do if adequately supplied and funded.  The goal is to plead poverty.  It’s an elaborate shell game.  Hide, hoard, and stash the resources.

3.  Publish scores and declare failure.  Standardized testing is a snapshot in time – not an accurate reflection of the whole person.  Standardized testing is racially and culturally biased.  Research has shown that it is NOT a true reflection or authentic when used as a sole measure.  BUT, multi-choice tests are easy to grade.  AND, we have some test making corporations standing by to sell tests by the dozens to districts.  The real winner in the testing frenzy is the test maker – it has never been the failing students or the teachers who are trying to teach to the test.  Failing schools are easy to “take-over”.  If not failing – just make the test more difficult.  Everyone fails at some point.  Corporations are great at inventing numbers and data to reflect information that supports their own argument – an argument that leads to improvement in their own bottom line, which is not really the same as improving a student’s life, right?  Test to fail, not to improve.

4.  Blame.  Place the blame on teachers.  Nothing else could be affecting students of poverty or in need of additional support – it must be the teachers who are holding students back?  Really?  Teachers are the ones who have sole control over each student’s learning, right?  If you want to blame a teacher and you really believe that line – I have a bridge to sell you and I’m sure you will buy that too.  Pass the buck, distract from the real class and poverty issues in the fabric of America.

Chicago!  The whole world is watching.  I feel your pain.  Brothers and sisters, let’s fight for our schools and our students.  This battle is fierce.  This war is necessary.  Let’s right the wrongs.  Enough is enough.

The corporations have lied.  The bankers have cheated.  The politicians have sold us for 30 pieces of silver.  Our cause is just.  The billionaires cannot win.

Let’s do it not for ourselves – but for our students.  We are American.  We are all better than this.  #Solidarity

 

School vouchers + unethical lobbying = bad policy for N.C.

A bill was modeled by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate interest group that makes no bones about its intent to starve public schools while moving public funds into the private sector. Subsidizing private education for a handful of children at the expense of public schools throughout the state will never lead to fairness for all. A strong, comprehensive public education system for all children is guaranteed by the state constitution.

Fact: Vouchers don’t work. Research shows no positive impact on student achievement. The National Coalition for Public Education, representing 50 national organizations, wrote a letter last week to Congress opposing federal funding for a similar program in Washington, D.C., because “the program has not been found to be effective in improving educational outcomes for participating students.” Sound policy must be based on fact, not anecdotal claims…

To read the entire op-ed about the impact of school vouchers on the students of North Carolina (and by extension, elsewhere), please click here

ALECexposed at Netroots

Advocates and researchers converged this week in Rhode Island to talk about work exposing the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The group, including the Center for Media and Democracy‘s Executive Director Lisa Graves, was gathered for a panel at Netroots Nation, a conference which brings together bloggers, social justice advocates, labor and organizational leaders, grassroots organizers, and others. Each in their own way, the panelists talked about how through ALEC corporations are unduly influencing and corrupting American democracy. CMD launched ALECexposed last July after a whistleblower gave Graves “model” bills that had been voted on by ALEC corporations and legislators behind closed doors on ALEC task forces.

…Another ALEC objective discussed is the effort to privatize public pensions. ALEC’s plan for this is to transfer the management of pension funds from the public sector to for-profit Wall Street firms through 401(k) programs. The argument that this is financially beneficial to taxpayers is not true, Carey said. “ALEC preys on legislators who don’t have knowledge on the issue and ALEC spreads misleading information.”

To read all of Sara Jerving’s article at PR Watch, please click here

For-Profit Education Firm Kaplan is 14th Company to Dump ALEC

by Rebekah Wilce — April 27, 2012

Kaplan, a for-profit education, tutoring, and testing empire that is the largest division of the $4 billion Washington Post Company, recently told the Republic Report (RR) that Kaplan’s for-profit college division “was a member of ALEC for a one year period, which ended in August 2011.”

For the entire PR Watch article, please click here

THE GOALS OF VOUCHER SYSTEMS IS TO PUT PUBLIC EDUCATION INTO A DEATH SPIRAL

Written by VLTP’s OhioDem1   Here are two excerpts:

1.  “The goal of Voucher systems is to put public education on a death spiral, because each year it is intended to take marginal revenue from the public school systems…Each year the cycle is renewed, forcing the local school boards to seek greater local property tax support, which is defeated frequently, which causes more parents to remove their children from the public schools, which leads to more belt-tightening, lower numbers for students for extra curricular activities, special classes, and a further reduction of state aid per student, which accelerates the cycle.”

2.  “Couple the financial death spiral, with lowered standards or no standards for charter or other privatized educational models, and you have the stage set for a nation of young adults woefully unprepared for the jobs that the economy is generating now, except for the children of elites who are able to gain access to “the best schools and education”.  Non elites, not so much.”

To read OhioDem1’s complete post, please click here.