Power Players Behind the Corporate Takeover of Pennsylvania Schools
In 2007, Philly rolled out the red carpet for state legislators and lobbyists attending the annual “State and Nation” policy summit of the American Legislative Exchange Council. Pennsylvania legislators appropriated a whopping $50,000 of taxpayer money to help pay for the event, including $3,000 for cheesecake lollipops.
The event apparently had a lasting impact as the ALEC agenda has continued to roll though the hallways of the state capitol in Harrisburg in the years since. After Governor Corbett took office in 2010, ALEC bill after ALEC bill was introduced and signed into law. To accomplish this feat a well-orchestrated cast of characters -- including politicians, state “think tanks” and advocacy organizations -- are singing from the same hymnal, and being bankrolled by the same interests. Behind the scenes, we find charter school magnates, ideological interests and deep-pocketed investors pumping millions into campaign coffers while playing the education “market” like a game of poker.
With this report the Center for Media and Democracy puts a spotlight on some of the power players behind Corbett’s dramatic moves to reshape state education policy for the benefit of corporate interests. A surprising number of these groups are reportedly under investigation by federal officials or have been charged with wrongdoing.
Read the full report here.
More ALEC News
by Jessica Mason
The residents of Denton, Texas, had a remarkable victory over Big Oil in the midterm elections, becoming the first town in Texas to pass a ban on hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. But now state officials with ties to energy interests and to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the pay-to-play corporate bill mill, are threatening to undermine local democracy by refusing to follow the ban.
The chair of the Texas Railroad Commission, Christi Craddick, stated that she would not abide by the ban at an event held by the Texas Tribune on November 6. “It’s my job to give permits, not Denton’s. We’re going to continue permitting up there because that’s my job,” Craddick said.
Energy interests have made substantial contributions to Craddick, whose 2012 campaign received $15,000 from Atmos Energy, $5,000 each from Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, Exxon, Occidental Petroleum, and Koch Industries; and $25,000 from the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TOGA) . TOGA has also filed a lawsuit seeking to block enforcement of Denton's fracking ban.
Read the rest of this item here.