ALEC Education Agenda

Introduction

In July and August of 2011, the Center for Media and Democracy and The Nation exposed efforts by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to privatize education through charters, vouchers, watering down teacher certification, breaking teacher unions, increasing testing, discrediting public schools, and eroding local control.  In September, they were awarded the Sidney Award for Investigative Journalism.

ALEC is a national group that brings together state legislators and corporations to draft model bills that can then be introduced at the state level. Corporations can veto proposals and ideas that aren’t to their liking—and can propose measures then written into model bills. Those model bills are introduced in multiple places creating consistent messages across the country. One state strategy is to introduce a lot of bills so education proponents can’t do away with all of them at one time.

“All of those pieces of legislation and those resolutions really err toward a goal, and that goal is the advancement of an agenda that seems to be dictated at almost every turn by multinational corporations.”
—John Nichols, The Nation (Listen to the NPR interview; article text)

ALEC Exposed is the primary site to check for current information about ALEC.

 From the Brookings Institution, December 2013: Interactive Map – ALEC’s Influence in Your State

 

Minnesota Legislators with ALEC Ties

ALL THREE 2011-2012 Minnesota Education Chairs – Rep. Pat Garofalo, Rep. Sondra Erickson and Sen. Gen Olson – ARE MEMBERS of the ALEC Education Task Force; Check here for a full list of elected officials who are ALEC members.

Minnesota House of Representatives
Rep. Bruce D. Anderson (R-19A),
ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member
Rep. Paul Anderson (R-13A),
ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member
Rep. King Banaian (R-15B), ALEC Member
Rep. Michael L. Beard (R-35A),
ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Member
Rep. Matt Dean (R-52B),
ALEC International Relations Task Force Member
Rep. Connie Doepke (R-33B),
ALEC Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force Member
Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-28B),
ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Member
Rep. Sondra L. Erickson (R),
ALEC Education Task Force Member
Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-36B),
ALEC Education Task Force Member

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-16B),
State Chairman, International Relations Task Force Member
Rep. Carol McFarlane (R-53B),
ALEC Education Task Force Alternate
Rep. Pam Myhra (R-40A),
ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member
Rep. Linda Runbeck (R-52A),
ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Member
Rep. Ron Shimanski (R-18A),
ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member
Minnesota State Senate
Sen. Roger C. Chamberlain (R-53),
ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member
Sen. Ted Daley (R-38),
ALEC Public Safety and Elections Task Force Member
Sen. Chris Gerlach (R-37),
ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force
Sen. Gretchen Hoffman (R-10),
ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member
Sen. Gen Olson (R-33),
ALEC Education Task Force Member, former State Chair

Sen. Mike Parry (R-26),
ALEC Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force MemberAdditional Minnesota ALEC Legislators confirmed by the Minnesota Independent (8/6/2011)
Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-32A)
Rep. Mike Benson (R-30B)
House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-32B)
Sen. John Howe (R-28)

 

Additional Resources

Parents United collection catalogs influence of secretive ALEC – Over the weekend, the content curators over at Parents United knocked one out of the park. They put together an exhaustive collection of articles, documents and multimedia items that catalog the influence of the secretive, powerful American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, MinnPost, August 8, 2011.

The grassroots education advocacy group Parents United, whose website you really should have bookmarked, has curated the most authoritative local roundup of ALEC readings…
—Beth Hawkins, MinnPost

ALEC Exposed: Starving Public Schools – Public schools,” ALEC wrote in its 1985 Education Source Book, “meet all of the needs of all of the people without pleasing anyone.” A better system, the organization argued, would “foster educational freedom and quality” through various forms of privatization: vouchers, tax incentives for sending children to private schools and unregulated private charter schools. Today ALEC calls this “choice”—and vouchers “scholarships”—but it amounts to an ideological mission to defund and redesign public schools, The Nation, August 1-8, 2011.

ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection – Hundreds of ALEC’s model bills and resolutions bear traces of Koch DNA: raw ideas that were once at the fringes but that have been carved into “mainstream” policy through the wealth and will of Charles and David Koch. Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding, the Nation, August 1-8, 2011.

Order a copy of the August 1-8, 2011 edition of The Nation; join the conversation on Facebook.

Letter to the IRS Questioning ALEC’s 501(c)(3) status – Harmon, Curran, Spielberg + ERisenberg LLP on behalf of Common Cause, July 14, 2011.

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Legislating Under the Influence: How corporations write state laws in Minnesota – Next week, the Minnesota legislature will return to work for the beginning of the legislative session. What many people do not know, however, is that the real work of the legislative session began months ago, when corporate lobbyists and legislators gathered in San Diego, New Orleans, and Saint Paul for meetings hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Common Cause Minnesota, January 18, 2012 (Blog post).

U.S. lawmakers and corporations join in unholy alliance - ALEC creates the venue for cheek-by-jowl preparation of model legislation to address public-policy solutions through collusion between corporate representatives and legislators. Following the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, ALEC now also provides invisibility for U.S. and international funding sources that support conservative causes and candidates. Athens NEWS, September 5, 2011.

Koch/ALEC…attacks upon public education. Looking deep into the Rabbit Hole - State by state [the Koch brothers] have placed school boards under attack by infiltrating good, local communities with their well funded campaigns supporting a “segregationist” agenda of reintroducing segregation into our schools – community by community.  Obviously their agenda is to completely tear down public education – on their way to accessing the billions in tax dollars earmarked for education programs.  They want that money spent with “private” commercial corporations set up to provide education.  The School Voucher Acts and other similar legislation put forth by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) over the past decade and more is written to assist the Koch’s in this endeavor, Daily Kos, August 23, 2011.

Minnesota Independent on ALEC

“When big money has a role in shaping public policy behind the scenes, our democracy is at risk. Let’s hold our elected leaders accountable.”
—Sherri Knuth, Minnesota League of Women Voters

  • Shaping State Laws With Little Scrutiny - When you walk into the offices of the American Legislative Exchange Council, it’s hard to imagine it is the birthplace of a thousand pieces of legislation introduced in statehouses across the county, National Public Radio, October 29, 2010.

ALEC Videos - Watch these videos to see how ALEC brings model bills to the state level.

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