What ALEC has in store for children, educators, and American workers

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by Brian Washington

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Politicians looking to trade their votes for lavish gifts recently engaged in three days of backroom dealing in Washington, D.C. that will eventually result in legislation in your state designed to help corporations make a profit at the expense of the environment and off the backs of children, educators, and working Americans.

Those politicians attending the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) policy summit earlier this month in Washington, DC, will be getting cozy with some of the richest corporations in the country. The sole purpose of the secret gathering is to come up with bills lawmakers can use as templates in their own states to move the agenda of the nation’s richest 1-percent.

It’s already happening in Wisconsin, where an ALEC politician has just introduced legislation designed to silence workers’ voices by undermining their unions. And in Missouri, politicians there have introduced a similar bill that takes its wording directly from the ALEC playbook.

However, there is some good news. Noticeably absent from this year’s summit were representatives from Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook as well as several other tech giants. These groups broke ties with ALEC over its policies attacking global warming and renewable energy.

Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place,” said Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt when asked on a national radio program what made Google dump ALEC. “And so we should not be aligned with such people — they (ALEC) are just, they’re just literally lying.

Almost 100 companies have dropped their ALEC memberships since the deadly 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida. ALEC was the primary backer of the “Stand Your Ground” law that has become inextricably linked to the teen’s death.

But don’t count ALEC out just yet—especially after the November elections which saw conservatives take control of 68 of the 98 state legislative bodies nationwide. This means you can expect to see more attacks on public education budgets in state governments across the country in the form of vouchers, which use public dollars to pay for private school tuition costs, and huge cuts to public school funding.

According to ALEC’s executive director, last month’s elections were “a historic victory for limited government, free markets and federalism”—which, with ALEC involved, spells trouble for children, educators, and public schools.

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Meanwhile, ALEC has spawned a new group to attack children, American workers, and public education. It’s called the American City County Exchange or (ACCE). ACCE will zero-in on those politicians connected to city and county governments as well as local school boards who are willing to accept ALEC’s lavish gifts in exchange for helping to move the group’s conservative, right-wing agenda.

According to newspaper reports, ACCE is already making plans to block employees from having a voice in the workplace and prevent workers from taking advantage of minimum wage increases voters overwhelmingly approved in several states including Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Click here to get the latest information about actions you can take to bolster public education in your community.

Reader Comments

  1. I do not shop at Walmart or Sam’s Club. Both stores are owned by the Walton Family of Bentonville, AR. This family and its Foundation use their economic power, gained on the backs of their employees and a ill-informed public which patronizes their business, to destroy public education and promote private schools, on line schooling supported by public money and for-profit charter schools which receive public money. This has the affect of starving the public education budget while lining their pockets. Much to my regret, my state is one which gives the K-12 online school program the per pupil allocation for every student involved their program. That’s MY tax money going to a business that wants to Kill public education. I don’t pay taxes to have the money used to kill public education by private for-profit companies. So, I use my small economic “power” to deny Walmart and Sam’s the profit. There is nothing I need so badly as to make me shop in these stores.

    1. I wish more people would understand and not shop at these places. We have all the same problems in Indiana that you have. Gov. Pence and his GOP supermajority is attacking middle class, construction workers and teachers every chance they get, I pray neither Scott Walker nor Mike Pence be elected as our president.

  2. Is WalMart part of ALEC? It has been published that since WalMart pays so little and most employees are part-time those shopping at WalMart not only subsidize their profits but also their employees through taxpayer-paid programs to help low-income wage earners.

    1. I shop at Walmart as little as possible because of their poor treatment of their employees…low wages, refusal to give them enough hours to obtain health insurance benefits, etc. These actions put more money in corporate pockets and profits. Walmart is riding on the backs of the taxpayers because their employees do have to use food stamps and government subsidies to stay alive. These employees are trying to work rather than rely on welfare. It is not their fault. I do believe we need to boycott these corporations that are getting richer and richer not only by mistreating employees but also by using taxpayers to pay for their employees health insurance benefits and food and minimal basic living conditions. The minimum wage rate in Tennessee is ridiculously low, and all of us should push our legislators to do what is right.

  3. There is a saying “fight fire with fire!” NEA and its affiliates need to start a nation wide boycott of ALEC Program corporations. Since they are using their excess profits to fund the ALEC politicians and legislatures, we need to hit these Corporations where it hurts them the most in their ‘profit-books’. Pick the biggest of them and start a nationwide boycott of all their sub corporations and product lines. Make it a big and nationally sustained boycott of all their product lines until they withdraw their support and sponsorship from ALEC and quit interfering with education in the U.S. The only true way to get through to these corporate ruffians is to hit them where it hurts. That’s in their pocket books. Stock holders will force them to back off only if their dividends and profits are endangered. Cesar Chavez taught that lesson to the California grape growers some years ago. What are we waiting for NEA let’s get to it. Start right away by publishing a list of products and stocks owned or provided by the Koch Brothers, Eli Broad, and the Walton family to begin with and go from there. John Farrington CTA/NEA Lifetime Retired

    1. If agree completely with you John Farrington. I am a retired public school teacher in Tennessee and member of TRTA and NEA Retired. I would like to see a list published by NEA of all businesses/corporations supporting ALEC so we can boycott them. We need as much information as we can get. NEA is very responsive to its members, and I appreciate all the information we get now. I rely on it to keep me informed.

  4. So sad that people are buying into this propaganda. Why help the very rich get richer at the expense of everyone else. Education has taken a BIG hit with charters. Where I live, there is school choice in every town. You can choose another school and take $5,000 from your sending school and go to a different school. Howevwr, if you go to a Charter school you rob $15,000 from the sending school to take with you when you go. It should be $5000 all around…fair NOT 3 times that amount to go to a charter.
    Private companies are interested in their profit bottom line NOT kids. Look at the terrible job Halliburton did when they got a private contact to feed an protect out troops. Many very unnecessary deaths due to shoddy equipment. That is how it goes and private and subcontracted serves are not held to the same accountability. Wake up!

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