Judging by the breakneck speed at which Ohio’s school takeover law, HB 70, passed last summer, it’s clear that the corporate education reform movement is alive and well in Ohio. http://www.ohio.com/news/break-news/ohio-lawmakers-scrap-elected-school-boards-and-union-contracts-usher-in-private-control-after-barring-opposition-testimony-1.603233
In an excerpt from her book, “Reign of Error,” Diane Ravitch reveals that the corporate reform movement has a well- honed message: We are the reformers. We have solutions. The public schools are failing. The public schools are in decline. The public schools don’t work. The public schools are obsolete and broken.
She goes on to say that corporate reformers want education decisions in the hands of a powerful executive who is immune to public opinion. They like the idea of a governor who appoints a commission to override the decisions of local school boards that resist charter schools.
Ravitch writes that in states with a Republican governor and a Republican super-majority in the legislature, the measures to privatize education advanced rapidly. Much of the legislation for the education reform movement in states with conservative governors or legislatures comes from a shadowy group called ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council.) http://billmoyers.com/2014/03/28/public-education-who-are-the-corporate-reformers/
So… how does this SMART ALEC drive the corporate education reform movement?
Shapes educational policy in states where Republicans control the Statehouse
Mandates pro-business ideology focused on privatization of public education
Advocates legislation with anti-public education directives
Retains a non-profit status, though lobbyists serve for-profit education companies
Tests children, grades schools, promotes vouchers and public funding of charter schools
Advertises failed charter schools as “free and flexible choices to public schools”
Legalizes misuse of high-stakes tests having adverse consequences for children
Effects change with misleading words like “education reform,” “accountability,” and “school choice”
Controls public perception using corporate-backed think-tanks and fake research from “ALEC Scholars”
The SMART ALEC, known as the American Legislative Exchange Council, is an organization of conservative legislators, corporations, and pro-business lobbyists. ALEC’s Education Task Force creates model legislation to benefit for-profit education companies and then presents it to lawmakers to sponsor and pass into laws. Learn how its model bills are designed to privatize public education: http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/Privatizing_Public_Education,_Higher_Ed_Policy,_and_Teachers
It’s unfortunate for Ohio’s school children that ALEC controls the legislature in the Buckeye State. http://dianeravitch.net/2013/08/18/alec-owns-the-ohio-legislature/ It was no surprise when one of Ohio’s most loyal ALEC members, a guy who regards public education as socialism, was recently appointed as chair of the House Education Committee. http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/national_world/2015/10/22/andrew-brenner-education-chair.html
Maybe that was his reward for hijacking HB 70 and sponsoring its 64-page school takeover amendment.
What is one supposed to do? Support the traditional system of public schools by joining a public education advocacy group and working against ALEC and its privatizing agenda. A list of Ohio groups can be found here:
Together- we can and we must outsmart this SMART ALEC!
We are many. There is power in our numbers. Together we will save PUBLIC EDUCATION.