Posted by Rebekah Wilce on April 27, 2012

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 CenterThe 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 Traffic Solutions, Reed Elsevier, Arizona Public Service, Mars, Wendy's, McDonald's, Intuit, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, 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.

Rebekah Wilce

Rebekah Wilce is a reporter and researcher who directs CMD's Food Rights Network project.

Comments

I am not a fan of alec, I think that their basic objective is to end the last vestiges of democracy in America, but retain the trappings thereof. 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.

Kaplan left - that's great; but, what about Bridgepoint Ed., Corinthian Colleges, Assoc. of Private Sector Colleges & Univ, K12 & Insight Schools, National Heritage Academy, Int'l Assoc for K-12 Online Learning?

Is Kaplan ALEC's "token" drop out? When ALEC dropped their 2 task forces recently....what did ALEC do??? They shipped responsibility to National Center for Public Policy....they have their backup plans!!

In addition, what possible difference does it make once the ALEC "model" laws are already implemented? They got what they wanted...they'll rejoin next year.

Thanks for this article about Kaplan. I can hardly believe how deeply ALEC has penetrated into the education system. It is simply horrifying to read about the agenda they are trying to promote in our public schools and colleges.
I was just going to ask whether you guys are going to ask Amazon to leave ALEC. And what about JC Penney, which I just read is a member. Please ask them to leave, if they are members.