Sunday, March 18, 2012

School Privatization - ALEC and Right Wing Foundations

Privatization of the public school system has been getting a lot of press lately – almost all of it tied to the “model legislation” of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  The destructive ALEC “model legislation” to privatize schools can be found at ALEC Exposed.

ALEC has been waiting for the perfect storm – the perfect moment, so to speak, when they had enough ALEC members in each legislature to start a horrendous attack on the United States and more so on our public schools. - the move to de-unionize, privatize, profitize and de-regulate everything and anything that ALEC members perceived as a detriment to the corporate profit of ALEC private sector / corporate enterprise members.

Recent news articles and reports tying ALEC Legislation to the push for privatization and profitization of our public schools systems abound. 

Just Google
"American legislative Exchange Council" "public schools" "vouchers" "scholarships" "privatization"
and you will get 7,400 hits in 0.16 seconds.

Here is a state state specific example:
New Jersey is becoming ground zero in the Republican campaign to turn public schools into corporate profit centers.  Governor Christie’s education plans include a new $825 million private school voucher program paid for by cutting $820 million out of the public education budget.  The program was designed by Christie and his Education Commissioner – Christopher Cerf - who just happened to previously be the President of the world’s largest for-profit school corporation – Edison Schools, Inc.

And now as Governor – Christie is giving the ultimate kickback to his former employers – the state’s entire public education system and over $800 million bucks.  Chris Christie - the best governor money can buy.

Then a little more background: 
EdisonLearning Inc., formerly known as Edison Schools Inc., is a for-profit education management organization for public schools in the United States and the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1992 as The Edison Project, largely the brainchild of Chris Whittle.

One of the earliest reporters on ALEC noted this entry in their writings:
ALEC welcomes New Private Sector Members [1999]
 [partial listing]
  American Healthcare Association
  American Medical Association
  Edison Project   
     [For-profit charter schools corporation -- partners include:
     Chester Finn of Manhattan Institute and Hudson Institute,
     John Chubb of the Brookings Institution,
     Benno C. Schmidt of the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies,
     and billionaire Paul Allen, formerly of Microsoft]
  National Association of Realtors
  VISA U.S.A. Inc.

In 1995 the Private Sector Chair of the ALEC Education Task Force was:
Dr. Lois Gerber, National Independent Private Schools Association.
When you have leadership like that – it kinda implies what your plans are for the next two decades.

It is important for people to know that this has been a long term goal of the pro-business agenda of ALEC to profitize and privatize public services to increase profits of corporations and for the benefit of the stockholders of private companies.

A 2007 Report: Strategic Grantmaking: Foundations and the School Privatization Movement by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP)  noted the major funders in the school privatization movement:
School vouchers and related strategies of school privatization are not dead, but are flourishing around the nation as a persistent alternative ready to be implemented when public school systems falter. Conservative foundations, large and small, deserve credit for deploying their philanthropic capital to build and sustain this political movement. This is strategic philanthropy at its best, following a thoughtful agenda of building diverse coalitions, conducting research and polling, and getting active at all levels of the political debate through 501(c)(3) and other tax exempt instruments.

And most of those conservative foundations "deploying capital to build and sustain this political movement" of school privatization are affiliated with ALEC.

Another excerpt from the report includes the following:
(with corporations with ties to ALEC bolded - my emphasis)
ExxonMobil  ranked seventh among all corporate grantmakers ranked by total giving in 2005, but other large corporate grantmakers also have been seen among the funders of school privatization advocates in recent years, including the foundations of  
Abbott Laboratories,
American Express,
Bank of America,
Bristol-Meyers Squibb,
CIGNA,  (CIGNA Foundation can be tied to ALEC)
Daimler Chrysler,
Eli Lilly,
Fannie Mae,
Ford Motor Company (distinct and entirely separate from the Ford Foundation),
General Mills,
General Motors,
Merrill Lynch,
Proctor & Gamble,
U.S. Bancorp,
Wells Fargo,
all on the top 50 corporate funders list with Exxon Mobil. It makes sense that corporations whose functions and productivity are premised, in their frameworks, on the operations of a relatively unfettered free market, would support organizations that promote privatization. Undoubtedly, these corporate funders did not direct their grantmaking toward school reform but, like Exxon Mobil, to the general operations of conservative think tanks whose advocacy agendas included support for school privatization. Their overall grantmaking agendas will include hefty commitments to public relations acceptable organizations, perhaps epitomized by the anti-environmental Exxon Mobil’s high profile “Save the Tiger” wildlife grants.

There is only one main way to stop this destruction of the US public school system and that is to get ALEC legislators - local, state and federal -  out of office so they can no longer plunder and burn our public school systems for the benefits of their "buddies", the ALEC  private sector / corporate enterprise members.

Privatization is not the answer for our students.
Privatization is not about excellence in education!
Privatization / profitization of our public school systems is about corporate greed.

Getting ALEC members out of our government is the way to preserve the public school system.

ALEC members and those affiliated with ALEC in any manner
MUST NOT BE RE-ELECTED or receive our support in any means or manner!

Without state and federal legislators ALEC will cease to exist and it will implode.

For more information on ALEC –
Please read this or this or this

This is what ALEC is About  - An Interview with Mark Pocan about the ALEC Annual Meeting.

A Minnesota specific report about ALEC by Common Cause.

And watch this news video  from North Carolina on how other ALEC "model legislation" is going to screw the citizens of North Carolina - legislation introduced by ALEC legislators.

Do your own "act of education".
Distribute these materials about ALEC to your friends and family.

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