ALEC, KPI and Education “Reform”
ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Commission, an ultra-conservative group that brings together corporate leaders and legislators and churns out model legislation they bring back to their states. ALEC has an active education component that calls for first attacking the academic achievements in schools and then proposing free market solutions. Game On is opposed to their “behind closed doors” tactics and for the direct interplay between legislators and for-profit corporations peddling privatization options that will benefit them. There are many Kansas legislators with ALEC ties. In fact, in 2014 the legislative session ended early as they would normally still be in session during the weekend of the ALEC spring conference in Oklahoma May 2-3. Lucky coincidence!
KPI (Kansas Policy Institute) is a free market based “think tank” that devotes a great deal of effort to undermining confidence in the Kansas education system and claiming it is overfunded. It appears to be closely related to Americans for Prosperity and is part of ALEC’s State Policy Network. KPI’s president, Dave Trabert, is on the ALEC tax policy task force and is a frequent speaker in the legislature. Though they don’t often say what they’d like to see in Kansas, they have recommended our legislature adopt multiple forms of “scholarships”, tax credits, charter schools, home schooling, online learning, A-F grading of schools, alternative teaching certification, social promotion ban (ala third grade retention) and incentives for success. Many of these reforms are also part of the misguided “reform” efforts we’ve seen fail in multiple states with a heavy ALEC presence. If you look at the list, you see much of their great solution for schools is to reduce funding for our public schools and take kids out of them.