The national certifying body for teachers in the United States, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), participated in the Education Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) until April 2012. In an official statement sent to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) today, NBPTS spokesperson Brian Lewis said, "Given recent events, the new NBPTS President and CEO decided to discontinue engagement with ALEC. As a result, NBPTS terminated its membership as an Education Task Force Member of ALEC effective April 18, 2012, and also withdrew from participating in the upcoming ALEC conference. ... The decision to participate in ALEC had been made by previous NBPTS leadership."
Although primarily a non-profit organization focusing on teacher certification, NBPTS also takes positions on pre-K through 12th grade education and higher education policy and tracks state legislation affecting certification policy.
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.
New members of ALEC's Education Task Force as of the upcoming Spring Task Force meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina this month are the James Madison Institute (JMI) of Florida and the Pioneer Institute of Massachusetts, both members of the Koch-funded State Policy Network of right wing state think tanks. JMI has partnered with the Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), another ALEC member whose chairman is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. In 2008, FEE and JMI co-hosted a "national summit on education reform" in Florida focused on increased testing, school privatization, and charter schools.
For more information on ALEC's education task force, its corporate members, and its long term support for school privatization, see CMD's previous reporting here.
Corporations that have publicly cut ties to ALEC in recent weeks include Kaplan Higher Education, 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. 29 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.