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Kaplan, a for-profit education, tutoring, and testing empire that is the largest division of the $4 billion Washington Post Company, recently told the Republic Report (RR) that Kaplan's for-profit college division "was a member of ALEC for a one year period, which ended in August 2011." Kaplan's membership in ALEC's Education Task Force is documented in task force agendas and materials obtained by Common Cause and publicly released yesterday.

Kaplan Education Center

The Education Task Force is currently co-chaired by Connections Academy, a for-profit education company, owned by Pearson (a British-based company that publishes Prentice Hall and Addison-Wesley textbooks as well as the Financial Times and Penguin Group imprints), that contracts with charter schools, school districts, or governmental entities to provide "online" lessons to students.

As the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has reported, ALEC's education agenda encompasses a 20 year effort to privatize public education through an ever-expanding network of school voucher systems, which divert taxpayer dollars away from public schools to private schools. ALEC bills also divert public funds into private charter schools or for-profit internet schools. ALEC bills also allow schools to loosen standards for teachers and administrators, exclude students with physical disabilities and special educational needs, escape the requirements of collective bargaining agreements and experiment with other pet causes like merit pay, single-sex education, school uniforms, and political and religious indoctrination of students. Learn more about ALEC's education agenda in The Nation.

As RR reports and Common Cause documents attest, the following for-profit education companies were also members of ALEC's Education Task Force in 2011:

Kaplan, Bridgepoint and Corinthian are all under investigation by multiple state Attorneys General for waste, fraud, and abuse. APSCU works on behalf of the industry to mitigate these investigations and keep federal funding flowing.

Kaplan is the 14th corporation to announce publicly that it has declined to renew its ALEC membership, joining Procter & Gamble, YUM! Brands, Blue Cross Blue Shield, American Traffice Solutions, Reed Elsevier, Arizona Public Service, Mars, Wendy's, McDonald's, Intuit, Kraft Foods, Pepsi and Coca-Cola. 28 legislators have also publicly cut ties with ALEC in recent weeks.

CMD, Color of Change, Common Cause and others are now asking Amazon, State Farm, AT&T and Johnson & Johnson to cut ties with ALEC.

This article was originally published by the Center for Media and Democracy at CMD also released the project in 2011, exposing the "model" legislation created behind closed doors by corporations working with state legislators in the American Legislative Exchange Council. This project has received the Sidney Award and the Izzy Award.

Rebekah Wilce has a degree in writing from the University of Arizona. She is the lead writer for CMD's Food Rights Network, with expertise in food and agriculture issues.

Originally posted to Food Rights Network on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 10:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Connections no longer owned by Apollo (4+ / 0-)
    September 15, 2011. Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, is announcing today the acquisition of Connections Education from an investor group led by Apollo Management, L.P.

    Apollo does still have University of Phoenix, and multiple other for-profit educational interests,however.

    The company owns and operates four higher-learning institutions: the University of Phoenix, Western International University, Axia College, the College for Financial Planning, the Institute for Professional Development. It also owns Insight Schools (Online Public High Schools for Washington, Wisconsin, and other locations), and Olympus High School.

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 11:58:31 AM PDT

  •  I have come across Bridgepoint Education in ALEC (0+ / 0-)

    research previously and discovered that one of their key corporate members, Sheryl Wright, Vice President of Government Affairs was formerly with ALEC. She previously served as a task force member of ALEC.

    APSCU reported: "ALEC Approves Resolution in Support of PSCU"  though the date of this notice is not given. Melissa Garrett, of Bridgepoint also worked with ALEC alongside Paul DeGuisti, a representative from Corinthian Colleges on the ALEC resolution as reported by Lee Fang for Think Progress last year:

    A main policy initiative of ALEC right now is privatization of all public education - including college level. They see the vast amount of public funding expended annually on education and have their sights set on carving out a substantial portion for their corporate enablers.

    "Inmates should be reformed - not recycled"

    by Bob Sloan on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 08:57:05 PM PDT

    •  You're right, thanks Bob (0+ / 0-)

      There are multiple links and connections for Bridgepoint. I couldn't delve into all of them in this brief article. Thanks for the follow-up.

      Out of curiosity, what would your response be to comments like this one I got on FDL?

      "There are a few things that are worthwhile in the list you give of alec objectives: school uniforms, single sex education, and online classes. The school uniforms would certainly help to reduce the load of teachers having to be clothing police. A school must have certain standards in what to wear, otherwise a free-for-all approach can lead to results that the school doesn’t want. Single sex education can be useful in that the girls don’t have to be intimidated by the boys and the boys can be a little more settled without having to show off for the girls. This is just a small point on that. The online education can be extremely useful to a school district. In most districts homebound students must have access to full instruction, which can result in several tutors being required to handle the students. There may be too many students requiring homebound instruction or teachers may be reluctant to go into the home for one reason or another. Online instruction may solve the problem."

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