Remember Schoolhouse Rock from Saturday morning cartoons? Well, it seems the democratic process has been changed without any democratic process. Walking the fine line between ethics and legality are our "friends" at ALEC. Watch this 2 minute updated version of the Schoolhouse Rock video on how a bill becomes a law TODAY... So wrong.
This NBC news report about the shady influence ALEC has on our laws is a MUST SEE. Our tax dollars are being stolen by politicians who are not even earning their pay. They are literally submitting ALEC's fill in the blank bills. Teachers call that plagiarism. A lot of politicians see it as fair play.
Is your school district pushing online and blended learning? Do well-intended and probably unaware school leaders and teachers have you convinced that these are good ideas? Well, click here to read ALEC's model bill pushing them both. Does your district have competency based report cards? Push back. In the same model bill, ALEC states, "Students progress based on demonstrated competency."
If your school district is claiming to have innovative and 21st century ideas, it is as easy as searching the ALEC website to know where these ideas are coming from. Push back against one-size-fits-all policies at the district level and demand teacher autonomy. If we allow teachers to select the teaching approaches they find most effective with the group of students they have each year, we will not get cookie cutter ideas churned out by lobbyists hoping to destroy our schools.
Remember, the children of the folks writing and pushing these ideas are in private schools. Their "21st century" ideas for "innovation" are for other people's children. Our children.
We must spread the word and make sure our local school boards and school administrators avoid any and all ideas promoted by ALEC. Even more importantly, we must make sure our state politicians hear from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents that we are all aware of ALEC and do not approve.
The Center for Media and Democracy has a website called ALEC Exposed that tracks the undemocratic influence that is overtaking democracy in our country. Diane Ravitch reported on ALEC again today. She states, "ALEC has model legislation for charters and vouchers, for online learning, and for anything that breaks public education and removes teacher professionalism."
As always, we can not trust the name of a bill. If it sounds good, we must do our due diligence. For example, ALEC has an education model bill titled, "The School Board Freedom to Contract Act". But surprise, it is about outsourcing to cut costs so districts can upgrade technology. No doubt this will lead to more online learning and less teachers teaching. This is all about making money from public school tax dollars with FLASE narratives about what is the best way for our kids to learn. ALEC and its allies often site that "research" shows something, but often that "research" is funded by a foundation tied to ALEC or its members.
It states, "Today, 17 states offer 33 programs that allow parents to use taxpayer money to send their children to private schools. This includes traditional vouchers as well as tax-credit scholarship programs that give individuals or corporations tax reductions if they donate to scholarship funds. My home state of Arizona adopted this tactic.
Vouchers are only one side of ALEC's education agenda. If they can't get public funds for private schools, they try to privatize the public schools."
And continues, "This is already happening in more ways and in more places than you might think. For-profit companies are managing many charter schools, including online schools where students rarely see a teacher. Although a new study raises serious concerns about virtual schools, they can deliver profits for investors."
Read more here.