Dark money nonprofits spent hundreds of millions in the 2012 elections, but reported only a fraction of that thanks to an "issue advocacy" loophole that requires only limited disclosure for ads that don't explicitly urge viewers to vote for or against a candidate. Federal and state elections officials have rarely probed whether a group's so-called "issue ads" are really intended to influence elections -- but in Wisconsin, a politically-active nonprofit exposed its issue ad charade on its own.
On March 1, 2013, Milwaukee Country prosecutors shut down the long running "John Doe" probe into corruption in Scott Walker's office during the time he served as Milwaukee County Executive. Six people were charged and convicted, including three former Walker staff, but no charges were brought against Walker. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm issued a brief, telling statement: "After a review of the John Doe evidence, I am satisfied that all charges that are supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt have now been brought and concluded."
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who became nationally known for severely limiting the union rights of teachers and other public employees, has indicated support for arming those same school officials who apparently cannot be trusted to collectively bargain.
A press release from a conservative think tank criticizing the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) provides crucial insight into how the organization works -- and helps illustrate that while ALEC says its purpose is to facilitate an exchange of "practical, state-level public policy issues," it instead sells policy to the highest bidders. The release documents how the "exchange" that happens at ALEC is more like a stock exchange than a free marketplace of ideas.
This week in Washington, DC, Jeb Bush's "Foundation for Excellence in Education" (FEE) is meeting just five blocks away from the post-election conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the controversial corporate bill mill working on profitizing public education among other legislative changes, but the ties between the two groups are even closer.
An unsettling trend appears to be underway in Arizona: the use of private prison employees in law enforcement operations.
The state has graced national headlines in recent years as the result of its cozy relationship with the for-profit prison industry. Such controversies have included the role of private prison corporations in SB 1070 and similar anti-immigrant legislation disseminated in other states; a 2010 private prison escape that resulted in two murders and a nationwide manhunt; and a failed bid to privatize nearly the entire Arizona prison system.
-- by Mary Bottari and Sara Jerving
Well-funded advocates of privatizing the nation's education system are employing a new strategy this fall to enlist support for the cause. The emotionally engaging Hollywood film "Won't Back Down" -- set for release September 28 -- portrays so-called "Parent Trigger" laws as an effective mechanism for transforming underperforming public schools. But the film's distortion of the facts prompts a closer examination of its funders and backers and a closer look at those promoting Parent Trigger as a cure for what ails the American education system.
Negotiations between the Chicago Teacher's Union (CTU) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) failed to result in a contract before Sunday, September 9, 2012 at midnight, sparking the first teacher's strike in Chicago in 25 years. The strike is now in its second day.
Did you know that genetic engineering (GE) "is helping to improve the health of the Earth and the people who call it home"? A trade group funded by Monsanto wants your kids to believe it.
By Will Dooling and Brendan Fischer
Democrats at the U.S. Conference of Mayors have recently backed "parent trigger" laws that allow parents to seize control of their public schools and fire the teachers and principal, or privatize the schools -- a policy also supported by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heartland Institute.
Is the "Parent Trigger" a successful plan for empowering parents and promoting school reform, or is it a vehicle for the private takeover of public schools?