This diary started out as a letter to some of my fellow anti-ALEC activists. I took another look at it, and decided that there was something there worth getting out in the open, and to help shine a light on an aspect of the radical right War on public education.
I have felt for a long time that it has become more and more difficult in America to obtain a decent public education because there are political forces at work in America to destroy public education, not by neglect or poor implementation of educational improvements, but BY POLICY.
Please take a look follow some of the links, listen to a few minutes of videos, and decide for yourself if you think that we have powerful political forces at work to break teacher unions, create a public school funding death spiral, brought about by the diversion of public educational funding to charter schools, online charter schools, publically funded parochial schools and a host of other financial and administrative actions.
Below the separator, I will first reproduce, with minor editing, my letter to my colleagues.
Update: H/T to ManfromMiddletown for this little gem, the Indiana school "reform" package from ALEC. From this you can see it is a very well planned and executed strategy, which also includes reducing teacher qualification standards, which is intended to weaken teacher's unions.
The letter is here:
Here is a story about a charter school fail in Ohio, how a charity becomes a "sponsor" of 45 different charter schools, takes a 3% skim from millions in state school funding, the charter essentially hired the charity to "sponsor" their for-profit school, and then had the charity hire a "management" firm OWNED BY THE SAME COMPANY to oversee the operations of the first charter. All or most of the management team from both companies were all family members, and they ran the company into bankruptcy, all the while taking $1.2 M of public money.You may ask where do I get the idea that ALEC may have a hand in enabling these grossly mismanaged and incompetent charter operators to ply their craft in Ohio and elsewhere. How about from ALEC's website. Every year they produce a document titled "Report Card on American Education". http://www.alec.org/... The link right here goes to the page which allows you to click on a pdf download of the entire document. Here is a link for the 18th Edition (pdf).
And, as the headline implies, the company had already had another failed charter school venture that sucked up public school funding.
Here's another charter school fail in Ohio.
And yet another:
Here are some future charter school fails:
And some more future charter e-school fails.
And you know, I have a theory about how all of this has come about. If we were to trace the legislative history of this mess, my opinion is that we would find ALEC fingerprints all over it, we certainly have ALEC member legislators and ALEC alum Governor John Kasich involved in the destruction, by policy, of Ohio's system of public education.
It makes me sick. It's time to run ALEC out of our government. And this is only by clicking on articles in one Ohio newspaper. Who knows what one would find if you perused the Toledo Blade, or the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton papers. One could build a case that the charter school system in Ohio is a complete waste of public educational dollars, and even worse, a complete waste of years of educational life for Ohio children, saddling them for life with a third-world or worse education.
If you read it, you will find that the state-by-state rankings, in grades that go from B+ to D+, there are no A's or F's, are ranked by how well the state's have implemented ALEC educational POLICY, not how well the schools or students perform. What are some of the policies? Union busting, partially by mass implementation of online studies to reduce the number of teachers needed in the classroom, and in the report, Pages 12-15. On page 14, Mr. Terry Moe articulates a strategy of "distance learning" as a union-breaking strategic option.
Here are two videos where Mr. Moe, addressing an ALEC educational session expounds on implementing distance learning, explicitly building a case that if it is implemented, it will drive teachers out of the classroom, even, putting a teacher of a large distance learning class "in India".
And here is how Moe really feels about unions:
Note that the video above is under the auspices of the Fordham Institute, a right wing educational "think tank".
The ALEC publication also supports public school alternatives including charter schools, digital learning, unburdening home schooling, and gives states better grades if they have enacted policies favoring these things.
If you were to read the articles from my letter to my friends, you would find that Ohio has implemented and is in process to legislatively implement more of these misguided policies, that put lipstick on the pig with rhetoric that the goal is to improve education, when, in my opinion, the result is exactly the opposite.
I am not an expert in education or educational policy, but I can see the result of years of radical republican policies and their impact on the state where I live. And I see no means of improvement until we elect a legislature and governor who are not under the very large thumb of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
I invite you to read and comment. Since I put a lot of links up, I want keep this short.