Iowa Featured In Report
Read the report: http://bit.ly/ALECvKids
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2013
Contact: Matt Sinovic, (515) 423-0530
Iowa featured in new national report detailing ALEC’s assault on public schools
Report exposes the impact right-wing corporate front group ALEC is having on public education policy across the country
DES MOINES – Today, Progress Iowa released a new report detailing the damaging influence the corporate front group ALEC has on public education policy. The report, ALEC v Kids, demonstrates the growing influence ALEC holds in Iowa and across the country, including its secretive access to elected officials and the drafting of ‘model’ education policy designed to benefit ALEC’s corporate funders which compliant lawmakers pass off as their own then push into law.
Iowa State Representative Greg Forristall is the chair of ALEC’s education “task force,” playing a key role in the policies they promote nationwide. Forristall has refused Progress Iowa’s requests to release information about the organization to the public, denying Iowans the ability to fully participate in the democratic process.
“Iowans deserve to know the close relationship between ALEC legislators and the for-profit education industrial complex,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “We continue to call on Representative Greg Forristall, national chair of the ALEC education task force, to release information about their secretive meetings where corporate lobbyists are given an equal vote with our legislators. If Forristall and other ALEC members refuse to engage their constituents in the democratic process, we will continue to educate Iowans about the assault on schoolchildren being promoted here and across the country.”
Among the key findings in ALEC v Kids:
Iowa enacted ALEC’s indirect voucher policy in 2006, a tax giveaway to defund public education and instead provide tax breaks for attending private schools
ALEC is attempting to expand charter schools across the country, including in Iowa. Governor Vilsack signed legislation in 2002 establishing a pilot program of charter schools, and although this year’s legislation did not pass, ALEC and its ally Students First appear to be gearing up for renewed legislative efforts in our state.
Bridgepoint Education, a corporate member of ALEC’s education task force, operates one of their two online universities in Iowa (Ashford University in Clinton). Bridgepoint has an abysmal track record, one of the worst of any of their competitors (84.4% of students seeking an associates degree withdraw from school).
ALEC v. Kids focuses on nine states, and analyzes the disastrous effect of ALEC’s education policy. The report details examples at the state level, specifically the negative effects of ALEC policies and the coordination between ALEC and its allies. By examining the real world effects of ALEC policies and coordination across a single issue, this report examines ALEC from a unique perspective.
Despite claims to the contrary, ALEC’s agenda is not based upon ideology, but rather upon financial rewards for its corporate funders. The resulting ALEC “model bills” that have been adopted by ALEC “task forces” have been introduced in Iowa by ALEC representatives and have amended Iowa statutes for the worse, harming everyday citizens in the process.