Exposing ALEC’s agenda

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been hard at work for decades. Its members are organized, well-funded and connected–too bad they aren’t using their powers to do what’s right for students and schools.

Instead, they use all their resources to push an agenda to open up the public school system to vouchers and privatization, lobbying legislators to restrict everything from voting rights to workers’ rights to help pave the path to their success.

Learn all you can about how ALEC operates, so you’ll be prepared to protect your students and neighborhood schools. A good place to start is by watching the 30-minute documentary The United States of ALEC, featuring Bill Moyers.

Why No Rights At Work Is Wrong

Borrowed totally from OEA.


Our out-of-touch opponents are trying to deceive voters again like they did last year. This is worse than SB 5. It doesn’t have to be this way. The so-called, trick-titled “right to work" is WRONG because it is an unsafe and unfair attack on workers' rights, good jobs, families and the middle class. We call it No Rights at Work is Wrong and we don’t need it.


If you work hard and play the rules, you should be treated fairly You should be able to earn a fair wage for a hard day’s work RTW is unfair because it degrades the value of hard work and the worker


RTW strips workers of their collective bargaining rights Voters have spoken on this issue: they support collective bargaining rights Workers should be able to speak up for themselves, their coworkers and their community on the job


RTW means lower wages and fewer benefits for you, me, all of us We need good paying jobs for working and middle-class Ohioans Communities thrive and grow when Ohioans have good paying jobs


It makes it harder to collectively bargain for life-saving equipment, staffing and other safety issues for the brave men and women that protect us, like police officers and firefighters It takes away the professional voices of those we trust to take care of our children and families, such as teachers and nurses It is wrong because it means less money, lower wages and fewer benefits for you, me and all of us in the middle class. Communities thrive and grow when Ohioans have good paying jobs. Let's stand up together and stick together for a decent standard of living.

We Deserve It.

Delivering lower costs, higher quality

Innovation Ohio recently published a study that showed that states, like Ohio, that had collective bargaining for educators produced lower costs and higher quality than states that had weaker collective bargaining laws.

In fact, research shows that eliminating or effectively crippling the state’s collective bargaining system will be as likely to add to state and local budget woes as cure the
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Ohio’s kindergarten, elementary, middle school and high school teachers saw their salaries, on average, drop 3.8% between 2008 and 2009, the latest year BLS’s Occupational Employment Statistics are available. The national average was a 2% increase.
Even though states that limit teachers’ rights to collectively bargain make up less than one-third of all the states, they make up half of the top 10 salary increases in the contiguous 48 states, with reduced teachers’ rights states taking the top three spots (Wyoming at 11.2%, Texas at 7% and Louisiana at 5.9%).
In Education Week’s annual K-12 Student Achievement rankings, NO reduced teachers’ rights states scored in the top 10 states. In fact, the top 13 K-12 Achievement states were all states that require collective bargaining for its teachers. Meanwhile, Ohio scored better than 75% of the reduced teachers’ rights states on the K-12 Achievement measure.

While none of the top 10 achieving states were reduced teachers’ rights states, they did make up 7 of the bottom 10 K-12 Achievement states. That means that almost half of all reduced teachers’ rights states ranked in the bottom 10 states on their students’ achievement.

The results revealed by this report should come as no surprise to anyone who has been involved in, or observed, the collective bargaining process across Ohio's school districts. Teachers and education support professionals have consistently demonstrasted a commitment not only to delivering a quality education to their students, but to the communities they serve. Eliminating this important voice eliminates the ability to deliver these results.

It's too late Rheeby

Now that Michele Rhee's corporate reform agenda has been exposed for the partisan effort it always was, she's looking to rehabilitate her tarnished image by hiring yet more lobbyists.

Democratic National Committee national spokesman Hari Sevugan will move to a top post at the former Washington, D.C., school chief Michelle Rhee's new advocacy group, Students First, a move aimed at strengthening its hand in the complex and high-stakes politics of education policy.

The move is intended to bring "the reputation of the group back to a non-partisan place after being seen, undeservedly, as overly friendly with Republicans," the source said. "Students First has strong relationships with many Democratic establishment hands including [former White House Communications Director] Anita Dunn.. and has worked with Democratic and Republican officials on a number of issues. But because some of the more prominent work has been with Republican governors including scoring some stunning successes in unlikely states like Nevada, that partisan reputation has been thrust upon it," the source said.

It's also, a more skeptical Democrat said, a sign of the damage that's been done to her image since she left her post in Washington after last year's mayoral election.

Folks are right to be skeptical, as the Washington Post lists Rhee's recent partisan anti-teacher activities


She is an unpaid adviser to the anti-union Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has never met a voucher or a charter school he doesn't like. If Scott had his way, he would proceed with a program that would provide vouchers to every public school family in the state and allow them to use it at whatever school they wished. Such a scheme would decimate the public school system. (No, I'm not arguing that public education doesn't need big changes, so please don't tell me I am.)

Rhee is also allied with former Republican governor Jeb Bush, who has been a leader in corporate-driven education reform in Florida and the nation.


She played a role in persuading lawmakers in Tennessee (where her ex-husband, Kevin Huffman, is the new commissioner of education) to pass an anti-union bill that, among other things, eliminates collective bargaining for teachers. She co-authored an April op-ed in the Tennessean supporting the legislation with former Republican Sen. Bill Frist. Gov. Bill Haslam (R) recently signed the bill into law.


Republican Gov. Scott Walker, you will remember, pushed a budget that cut state worker pay, eliminated collective bargaining rights for public employees, and contained other measures to weaken unions. Massive protests followed. Rhee went on Fox News to support the plan to limit bargaining rights for teachers. Take a look at the video here.

And here's another video of Rhee, on a local news channel, talking about why it is important that teachers not have some collective bargaining rights.


Republican Gov. John Kasich pushed through SB 5 -- a bill expected to face a ballot referendum -; that severely limits collective bargaining rights for public employees, including teachers, and StudentsFirst was there to lobby on behalf of the bill.


Republican Gov. Chris Christie made overtures to Rhee about serving as the state education commissioner, but she didn't want to be constrained by a job that kept her in just one state. She has, though, expressed support for his budget-cutting policies.


Rhee joined forces with Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, who pushed through the most extensive school voucher bill in the country. The law will provide public money for low- and middle-income families to help pay tuition at any private school. Here you can see Rhee attending a rally in support of the legislation.

Is it just me, or does it strike you as odd that a former public school chancellor supposedly dedicated to public education wants to use public money for private education?


Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval recently met with Rhee and said she supports his education policies, including a teacher quality bill that among other things supports vouchers for private schools and would eliminate teacher tenure.

Meanwhile, Rhee was nominated for the Public's Servant award by the Sam Adams Alliance. The other two nominees were Wisconsin's Walker and super conservative Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Alas, she didn't win. Cuccinelli did, for "challenging the constitutionality of the federal health-care law."

And the strongly conservative American Federation for Children -- which focuses on promoting school vouchers -- hosted a policy summit in Washington in March, where they gave awards to Michelle Rhee, Scott Walker and Republican Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania.

Well, you can say this for Rhee: She's been mighty busy.


By James J. Brudney, the Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law, Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law

Ohio’s new law on collective bargaining, (Senate Bill 5) eviscerates rights for teachers, police, firefighters, and other public employees, rights that have been in place since 1983. In order to understand how this has happened, it makes sense to start with the question why should we care? Does access to collective bargaining really matter to us as Americans, beyond those workers who are represented by unions?

The short answer is an emphatic Yes. Collective bargaining is important to us as a nation for several reasons. First, there is our economic welfare. The growth of collective bargaining promotes a fairer distribution of resources and enhances mass purchasing power. For teachers, police, firefighters, health care workers, and others, it helps create and maintain a robust middle class. A sizable middle class enables these millions of Americans to contribute to economic well-being for the rest of us, by purchasing consumer goods, investing in higher education for their children, buying homes, taking family vacations, etc.

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I’m Sorry I’m a Teacher

Alan Haskvitz is a member of the National Teachers Hall of Fame and has been recognized many times as one of the nation’s most successful and innovative teachers. Accounts of his students’ accomplishments have been featured in books, periodicals, and on national radio and television. He is a classroom teacher with experience at every grade level and every major subject area.

For over 45 years I have enjoyed making a living teaching. It hasn’t been easy or lucrative, but it had its rewards, one of which was a secure retirement plan.

Now, after reading the recent California Little Hoover Commission Report that recommends that public school retirements be reduced, even for those who are already retired, and the actions of the Wisconsin Republican Party in accusing teachers and their pensions and bargaining rights as mainly responsible for that state’s financial situation, I am sorry I became I teacher. I honestly didn’t mean to place so many states in danger of going bankrupt.

I also realize now that I am sorry to have chosen education as a career for other reasons. I am sorry that my wife may have to work until she is well past 70 and endure the rigors of 12 hour shifts as a nurse. I am sorry that I may become a burden to my children because my retirement income won’t cover the costs of extended care. I am sorry for those students I encouraged to become teachers, telling them to ignore the glow of the better paying professions.

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