March 10, 2014 |
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ALEC Private Schools
Corporate Education Reformers Plot Next Steps at Secretive Meeting
ALEC Education "Academy" Launches on Island Resort
by Dustin Beilke
Today, hundreds of state legislators from across the nation will head out to an "island" resort on the coast of Florida to a unique "education academy" sponsored by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). There will be no students or teachers. Instead, legislators, representatives from right-wing think tanks and for-profit education corporations will meet behind closed doors to channel their inner Milton Friedman and promote the radical transformation of the American education system into a private, for-profit enterprise.
What is ALEC Scoring on Its Education "Report Card?"
Little is known about the agenda of the ALEC education meeting that took place at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island. The meeting is not open to the public and recently even the press has been kicked out of meetings and barred from attendance. So to understand the ALEC agenda with regard to education, it is important to examine ALEC's education "scorecard."
ALEC's education bills encompass more than 20 years of effort to privatize public education through an ever-expanding....
PAA In Florida
Walton Money Against Public Education
This breed posing as republicans are against unions in general. For thirty years have been painting unions as evil monsters. I think I know who the evil monsters are. Unions represent a better quality of life for the blue and white collar working class. The working class make too much money which Sam Brownback and associates want to fix that..... reduce wages across the board.
For the moment it's the teachers. Tomorrow it is the entire working class.
Think long term impact.
It isn't only union wages that go down. It's most wages. If all unions get busted and those millions upon millions are receiving less that translates into most all other workers making less money because workers across America will quit spending money.
When workers quit spending money what happens for the long term?
People go out of business thus more job losses.
Carpenters,plumbers and electricians go out of business because workers cannot afford more houses.
Property values sink because there is no money and foreclosures continue to rise.
New auto sales will slump AGAIN.
MORE retirement plans will go up in smoke because Wall Street will take a dive because spending which drives investors is no where to be found.
Millions more will not be able to pay for medical insurance.
Sales taxes will increase because all other tax sources have gone up in smoke.
Infrastructure will go longer without maintenance and/or replacement.
This is but a short list.
In the end privatization and vouchers will bring pink slips to thousands of school teachers such that took place in Milwaukee. Think about this.
This entire matter needs voter approval. Let the stakeholders decide aka the taxpayers who cherish a good quality of life backed by a fine education system.
Good letter, well thought, succinctly presented.
Precisely why it will never be read in Topeka. I am very sorry for you, and each and every one of us who value freedom.
In a very short time, unless the voters of Kansas awaken to the reality of the corporate government, there will be no personal freedom in Kansas.
Think I'm over-emoting? Read the letter again; it's all true. Now, think about how the actions of the cabal in power in Kansas have affected the place you work and the way you live. Things better for you? Or for your boss, the owner? See what I mean?
We live in a "brave new Kansas" and I, for one, am afraid of it.
I am very sorry for you, and each and every one of us who value freedom. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I feel very sorry too, especially for us who value freedom from the stranglehold of the public sector unions.
Depends on how you define "freedom"
Kindly provide evidence — more than "I think it's true" — that public sector unions have a "stranglehold" on anything.
If you can't, why would make that claim?
Sound public policy, fostering and maintaining the public good, is not well-served by believing things which have no basis in fact.
If they have such a "stranglehold", why aren't public employees getting anything for it? Why are teachers having to spend more out of their pockets to pay for essentials like dry-erase markers? Why have most state employees not had a raise in over 6 years? Why has KPERS not given a COLA in over 12 years?
These are not private unions, like the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, etc. Since public employees can't strike, many of the "unions" have little clout already. And maybe you should check facts before you post.
It is clear Gov. Sam Brownback, a licensed attorney in the state of Kansas, does not understand the doctrine of separation of powers.
School choice, free market, parental choice with government subsidies, tax credits, and grants for a child's education exists from birth to kindergarten and begins again after 12th grade. Why shouldn't free market MIlton Friedmanistic choices be given to parents during their children's K-12 years? Check the LJW headlines from a couple of years ago- Gary Lewis, former principal of Lawrence's Virtual School (government funded), when he said, "Competition is good for everyone." I agree.
Agree with a lot of this letter but not about the Moocs.
I think you will find that this is a situation where all boats will rise together.
Elections matter. Sometimes you win, sometimes not so much.
David, this is one of the better letters I have read. Thanks for your input. I hope enough Kansans have enough spine to talk to their legislators about what they are trying to do to subvert the constitution. In Douglas County we don't have to worry. We elect moderate democrats and republicans. We have always had pride in our public school system.in Kansas. This Brownback regime in just two years has caused havoc to our schools, the arts,the disabled, and now this blatant grab for power.
While I share the concern with the reduction is available resources I also have a concern with the hyperinflation in this letter. Resources for education must be balanced along with everything else. To date their have been only modest cuts consistent with the experiences of most of our citizens.
AS far as the courts are concerned, I remain unalterable opposed to an unelected body of "elites" establishing the level and priority of my taxes. The Kansas Constitution, IMHO, assigns that task to elected officials. I believe that assignment goes back to unelected royalty making the choices for us.
Your comment reveals the bias of conservatives.
The legislature is tasked with providing "suitable" funding for education by the state constitution. They conducted several studies to determine what would constitute "suitable" funding, and then failed to fund the educational system at that level.
The KS SC did exactly what it's supposed to do under our system, and told the legislature they weren't fulfilling their constitutional obligations.
I know that JAFS and I totally reject it. Here is why. The constitution charges the national legislature to provide for the common defense. Each year the MILDEPS do studies -similar to the ones done here for education- and establish the level of funding to meet the requirements levied by the Congress. That much is never appropriated. Under your notion I can file a lawsuit claiming I am not being adequately protected because the study levels are not met.
What you wish for education can be extended to almost anything - not all things desired by the progressives. If courts can determine levels of funding then watch your wallet.
By the by, I can not think of anything that the government does at any level that is funded to the extent that studies indicate it should be funded. Suitable comes back to politically manageable - whichever party runs that part of the government determines the balance between needs and taxes.. Courts have no business in adjudication of resources - that function belongs to the legislature.
By the way, your argument fails in the second paragraph, when you say courts define levels of educational funding. This is where the whole "conservative" argument falls apart, because the Court did not set the level of funding suitable to educate Kansas kids; that was done by the legislature's own research council, recommended to the legislature, and voted into existence as a specific dollar amount per pupil.
What the problem with Kansas is, is that those who are the leaders of the state deny their own responsibility in upholding their own legislation, then attempt to pull a George Orwellian stunt by telling the voters that the funding they themselves approved is too high and that we should be happy that they are taking care of us by giving large amounts of that money to businesses and companies who really deserve it.
This is the type of thing for which Brownback was famous in Washington, and why he never achieved any significant level leadership there.
Why do the voters of Kansas believe in a man who lies, prevaricates, and cheats the very voters who supported him in the first place?
The courts chose the study as the level of funding therefore the courts set the funding. There are many srudies done by our LRS that are not acted upon by the legislature - they are bound by nothing to do so.
What's the wording of the common defense section?
If our state constitution simply said to provide for education without the "suitable" modifier, it would be a very different situation, and they could provide whatever level they liked.
Since that's there, some determination has to be made about what qualifies as suitable. And, they made their own such determination.
Your view, like that of many conservatives, seeks to replace our 3 branch system of checks and balances, with the judicial branch performing the important function of making sure legislatures don't violate the constitution, with one in which the only thing that matters is the "will of the people" as expressed in elections.
A quick search shows that the federal constitution says that "Congress shall have the power....to provide for the common defense".
That's different from the affirmative obligation in the KS state constitution that the state "shall provide suitable funding for education".
And, of course, there's no level specified in the federal constitution.
So, you're comparing apples and oranges, it seems to me.
I don't think so. Providing for the common defense to rational people means just that - sufficient funding to meet the defense nees of the nation - which of course is a debatable amount. Suitable is a term without specific meaning in that what is suitable to you is not to me. It too is debatable. No difference.
Ignoring the difference between granting Congress the power to do something and imposing an affirmative obligation on them to do so.
And, the fact that the legislature arrived at a "suitable" level of funding by commissioning studies to determine that amount.
Love how our language hangs us up. Our constitution (national) is primairly about granting power (authrotity to the Congress and reserving that not granted to the rest of us. Once granted there is IMHO a presumnption of exercising that authority in the public interest.
As I said, what is suitable to you is not suitable to me. That said I expect the legislature (like the Congress) to exercise the authority granted in the common interest. Of course defining that interest is a political process at both levels. Apparently the SC and you read far more into that word than I do hence we disagree and will continue to disagree untill hell freezes over.
Keep the courts out of the business of levying taxes.
Granting power is not the same thing as mandating a certain use of it.
The state constitution mandates "suitable funding" is provided for education - that's a much stronger and more affirmative obligation than just granting them the right to do it.
In fact, if our state constitution had simply granted them the authority to do it, without mandating it, there wouldn't be a constitutional issue here at all. Or if the word suitable had been omitted, and the legislature merely required to "fund education".
Why do you continue to ignore the fact that the legislature commissioned several studies to determine what level of funding would be "suitable"? That made it rather easy for the SC to decide they weren't fulfilling that obligation, since their own studies arrived at numbers they weren't providing.
The SC isn't in the business of levying taxes, and hasn't been by this decision - they're simply fulfilling their correct role, and ensuring that the legislature doesn't violate the state constitution.
What if the legislature said that $1/yr. per student was suitable funding for education? Of course, there's interpretation and subjectivity involved, but some sort of determination has to be made, and our courts are part of that process, by design.
I want systems to work as designed, so I'm glad that our courts are exercising their proper oversight of the legislature.
Your version is simply an inaccurate portrayal of events, that the courts determined the level of suitable funding, or levied taxes, etc. when they did nothing of the sort.
Frankly, I think that the legislature should perhaps be held in contempt of court, if that's an option, for failing to heed the SC's ruling, until they do so. If they want to change the constitution, fine, but until it's been changed, they're obligated to abide by the ruling.
And, they're re-litigating the same issue over and over again - it's already been decided at the KS SC level, so it's rather a waste of time/energy/resources to keep fighting the lost battle.
Way to long to waste many cycles upon.
It scares me to think that the result of this stupidity may well be a constitutional amendment to clarify “suitable” and or a change in the way judges are selected - a change that may not be for the better. Worse we may move to a more diffused process for funding schools - one that puts our school districts at a disadvantage.
The determination has to be made somehow - the legislature's own studies to determine it were used by the SC.
If it's totally subjective, then $1/yr per student should suffice, right?
Co-equal doesn't mean what you think it means, if it's accurate - different branches have different functions. The courts shouldn't make laws, but they're tasked with interpreting and applying them, and at the SC level, with ensuring constitutionality of them.
Studies commissioned by the legislature itself for the purpose of determining suitable levels of funding are excellent ways to determine that level, I'd say - what's your alternative?
If the legislature simply ignores the SC, then we have a crisis - our system isn't functioning the way it should. When it comes to issues of constitutionality, the SC (at both state and federal levels) is the final arbiter of that. Unless the legislatures pass constitutional amendments to overturn those decisions. But it's a bizarre idea that they can just ignore SC rulings.
I don't have a "position" on school funding - I don't know how much is necessary. My position on this is that the courts are exercising their correct function, and I oppose efforts by conservatives to block that process.
So, wait, I get it now - you're afraid they'll do worse things, so you don't want to upset them? Sounds like they're bullies, and we're victims of them. I thought the legislature was representing the will of the people?
If that's what the legislature does, then it would be the will of the people, right? So what's the problem with that?
I prefer the system to work as it should, with the checks and balances that were intended.
The stupidity is all on the legislature here, in their failure to abide by their own determinations of suitable funding, and by ignoring the previous SC ruling, and re-litigating solved issues.
JAFS, JAFS, JAFS
You're wrong - I never said the courts had the power to levy taxes.
They do, on the other hand, have the power to tell the legislature that they're violating the state constitution, and to order them to follow it.
What's your suggestion for determining a "suitable" level of funding, since you dismiss the results of the studies conducted by the legislature? I say that a suitable level is $1/student per year - what's your argument against that if it's all subjective and depends on circumstances?
Yes, once the legislature has determined a certain level of funding is "suitable", that's the suitable level.
It's not an option, it's an act which shows complete disregard for our system, and how it works.
You continue to misrepresent the situation - after a while that gets tiresome. Firstly, judges aren't supposed to be elected. Secondly, they didn't set your tax rates. I'm not going to keep wasting time explaining that to you.
Why on earth would it be ok for courts to "reallocate" funds given your general take on the subject? Allocation of funds, like appropriation of them, is up to the legislature, right?
Let's take a quick other example - at the federal level, we have a constitution, a judicial branch and a legislature. In the federal constitution, it says that people are protected from "unreasonable" searches and seizures. In my world, the judicial branch, and particularly the SC, is the arbiter of whether particular searches are reasonable or unreasonable, not the legislature. Your suggestion would be akin to suggesting that the legislature can decide without court involvement what constitutes an "unreasonable" search. It essentially "castrates" the courts, and removes one of their important contributions to our system.
I think that's a very bad idea, both locally and nationally. There's a process in place for amending constitutions, and if legislators in KS want to change the state constitution, let them go through that process. If they can get the word "suitable" removed, then they will no longer need to have any courts involved in education funding, unless of course they stop funding it entirely.
Until then, the courts, especially the KS SC, have a vital role to play in this issue.
I need to amend my answer.
Even if the legislature decides a certain level of funding is suitable, the courts, and SC still have a role to play. In this case, it was easy since they had done the studies, and determined the amount, for the SC to simply agree with them about it.
However, they have a right to be involved in the interpretation of suitable, just as the federal SC has the right to be involved in interpreting "unreasonable".
Now you are getting grumpy
Now I understand the frustration when there is no clean way to determine a “right” or “suitable” answer. Some people want to use studies done by elites as the basis for avoiding the messy democratic process. They are entitled to their opinion. Personally, I have found that many so called expert studies are badly flawed and have had considerable experience watching and participating in the allocation process where everybody and their pet dog has an expert study.
Since I perceive that we disagree on a number of points in this discussion and since we are not really adding anything new to the discussion – perhaps it is time to save the LJW some cycles.
Especially since you continue to misrepresent the situation, and fail to answer my simple questions.
Generally I must commend you, though, on a calm and reasonable discussion, with the right wing talk radio hysteria at a minimum, although the "unelected elites" thing goes in that direction.
When it comes to constitutional issues, I think compromise isn't the correct approach, but rather fealty to the constitution.
It is odd to me that many conservatives, who claim to be great fans and defenders of the constitution instead seek to subvert it.
This will be my last post here - talk to you another time.
Think of it as a massive catch 22. All the branches of government are co-equal. So how can the courts be more equal and be able to demand a specific solution from the legislature. As I noted with Mr. Lincoln above, finding something unconstitutional and directing a specific remedial action does not trump the other branches.
Now you complain when i paint you a prticular color (liberal, communist, progressive, socialist, etc.) But you think it just fine to appoint me a conservative or right wing. Another catch 22?
the first problem we have with the constitution is intrepreting it. We all do not agree. Whether the issue is the word "suitable" or 1st Amendment rights a la "Citizens United". Hence the first catch 22 above. Yes, the Supreme Court is given the role of intrepretation but not the role of defining specific remedial action - that belongs to the legislature. But we don't even agree on that.
That is probably why we split 51 to 49 on the last election for President.
On to the next topic
I too agree that teacher to pupil instruction is the best method to teach. I also agree that schools should be properly funded. As educational standards have regressed the liberals in control screamed, "Spend more money! Higher taxes is the answer. We must throw more money at the problem!"
The school districts and the Federal Department of Education are bloated with waste. Fiscal responsibility is difficult but "more money" doesn't fix poor teaching and poor administration. Jimmy Carter started the Department of Education and we all know what a success he was as President.
OK, rtwngr, time to put up or shut up: What sspecific examples of "waste" can you cite in Lawrence public education that is funded by the State of Kansas?
Your argument would be more convincing if you refrained from hyperbole in your presentation of your opponents' stance. No one serious maintains "Spend more money! Higher taxes is the answer. We must throw more money at the problem!" You should try to more accurately summarize their stance, in a manner that assumes they are just as interested in sound policy as you yourself are.
Second, it is not wholly accurate to claim that "Jimmy Carter started the Department of Education." Your stance is weakened by your inability to accurately describe the history of the Dept. of Education. Here's a more factually based history:
"A previous Department of Education was created in 1867 but was soon demoted to an Office in 1868. As an agency not represented in the president's cabinet, it quickly became a relatively minor bureau in the Department of the Interior. In 1939, the bureau was transferred to the Federal Security Agency, where it was renamed the Office of Education. In 1953, the Federal Security Agency was upgraded to cabinet-level status as the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
"In 1979, President Carter advocated for creating a cabinet-level Department of Education."
rtwngr is stuck in the 70's. Jimmy Carter is not president, any more. The waste and fraud have been rung out. The reason education costs so much is that students have to learn more and have to buy more technology do it. Remember that there has been 5 presidents since Carter and a multitude of initatives (W's No Child Left Behind, O's race to the top), etc. Kansas is down 20% from what 2007? or something. There is no waste anymore.
The old expression is as true today as ever, "you get what you pay for".
Wage and benefit levels are not safely locked in anymore. Jobs are not safe. Not as long as these Rt Wing Libertarian Neocon Fundamentalist Tea Party for Economic Terrorism folks are running Kansas state government.
Are any of the anti union voices ready to work for less money? Raise your hands. It's okay for everybody else but YOU.
Less government my butt!
Sam Brownback and associates ( Koch,Waltons,etc etc etc) represent BIG BIG BIG government and do not take kindly to those who question their type of BIG BIG BIG government. These BIG BIG BIG government thinkers will keep as many jobless as possible for they believe many will become desperate enough to work for $5.00 per hour thus the corporate bottom line grows and so do the Cayman Island Accounts.
If Brownback cannot acquire enough votes to meet his demands he will merely invoke his executive privilege. Neither democrats nor republicans mean squat to him.
It's all about his personal agenda that he forgot to disclose while campaigning.
Privatization is money laundering
Privatization funnels YOUR TAX DOLLARS and MINE into the corporate bank accounts. THIS IS A CORPORATE ENTITLEMENT. Billions and trillions of tax dollars caught the eye of corporate America = easy and guaranteed profits guided by fascist politicians.
Now the corporation becomes dependent on government in addition to skimming tax dollars off the top which get laundered into :
CEO pay packages
GOP special interest campaign cookie jars
Yes our tax dollars are now getting spent recklessly instead of efficiently.
"But as growing evidence indicates, only human adults actively teach and only human children know how to learn from being taught. The face-to-face teacher-pupil relationship is deep, human, biologically innate and the ultimate source of all human culture. "
This is such an inaccurate statement.
While I agree with most of the letter, Katara is absolutely right. "Growing evidence" indicates exactly the opposite.
Why are republicans obsessed with busting unions? This isn't about how union dues are paid. This group of people are lying to Kansas and the USA. They want to cut wages and throw tax dollars at corporate private schools. This is how public schools and Unions became the targets
of that word evil.
ALEC and corporate USA are convinced that the working class make too much money. Of course these crooks are not going to come out and say that. Hell no that would get them nowhere. Painting Unions as evil suddenly would be the approach to cutting wages. Why does anyone want to work for less money? White collar executives don't and they can afford a wage cut.
For 33 years these radicals have been painting Unions as evil no matter that Unions came to the rescue of the USA working class. People who are not union do little research therefore they decide that misinformed politicians are telling the truth..... talk about earth shattering.
The objective is to cut wages and lay off thousands of teachers. Then bring on vouchers to support the corporate private school industry. Koch money and Wal-Mart money are ready and waiting for they see a ton of easy profit coming to them by way of your tax dollars.
Privatization is money laundering !!
Privatization funnels YOUR TAX DOLLARS and MINE into the corporate bank accounts. THIS IS A CORPORATE ENTITLEMENT. Billions and trillions of tax dollars caught the eye of corporate America = easy and guaranteed profits guided by fascist politicians.
Wow - it's a tinfoil jungle around here!
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