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?
Walker and Barrett Clash: Dead Child, John Doe and New Jobs Numbers Dominate Debate
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his recall challenger Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett met in Milwaukee last night for their second and final debate. The structure of this debate, moderated by one of Wisconsin's leading newsmen, WISN's Mike Gousha, allowed for more back and forth between the candidates and led to heated moments as underdog Tom Barrett went on the offense. Barrett slammed Walker for cutting a campaign ad that features a dead child in an attempt to criticize Barrett for the Milwaukee Police Department's under-reporting of crime. There is no evidence that Barrett knew about the under reporting or the tragic death of the child. Barrett defended his police department: "Milwaukee police arrested that man and put him in jail, but did not use the right code when reporting the crime... you should be ashamed of that commercial, Scott Walker," Barrett charged. Walker did not apologize.
Walker's Record on Veterans Under Fire
On Memorial Day, Wisconsinites are honoring those men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. This year, Memorial Day is taking place in the context of a historic recall election that is just eight days away, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is facing criticism from veterans and others over his handling of veterans affairs. An editorial in the Capital Times, reminds us that two of Walker's associates from his days as Milwaukee County Executive have been charged with embezzling money from the "Operation Freedom" charity for families of fallen soldiers. Tim Russell, a former Walker top aide, and Kevin Kavanaugh, a Walker appointee, were charged earlier in the year with embezzling over $62,000 from the veterans fund. Russell used the money to take expensive cruises and vacations with his boyfriend, Brian Pierick, who was also charged with child enticement. All three men are awaiting trial. The charity had been run by a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Milwaukee County, with no complaints. But Walker took control of the "Operation Freedom" charity away from the VFW and handed it over to his aide Russell, a decision still deserving of an explanation says the Capital Times.
With Fox personalities defending the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Wall Street Journal publishing editorials criticizing its detractors (including the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), by name), some have wondered whether or not Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and many broadcast licenses, is an ALEC member.
Yes, News Corp. is an ALEC member. It has funded ALEC operations.
Scantron Corporation, a $200 million for-profit educational testing and online tutoring company that makes, among other things, those ubiquitous scan forms for standardized tests (please make sure you fill in the bubble completely and clearly with a #2 pencil, etc.), joined the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) late in 2010, but a company spokesperson told CMD that it is no longer a member. Scantron's departure makes it the 15th corporation to cut ties with ALEC.
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."
Even before a recall election prompted by some 1 million Wisconsin residents has been scheduled, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has given himself a new job. In an email to constituents on March 2, he changed his title from Governor to "Governer."
The error was discovered by Madison disc jockey Nick Nice, who wrote in a Facebook message: "Actual screen shot from Walker's latest email. I don't even think Bush would have misspelled 'President.' Wow."
Earlier in the year, a Walker press release misspelled his hometown of Delavan, Wisconsin. It is unlikely that Wisconsin teachers, who lost the right to bargain for such matters as health insurance, working conditions and pensions under Walker, will provide the remedial spelling classes needed.
After months of talking about "reforming" Wisconsin's public schools, Republican state legislators are starting to move on a number of proposals. The greatly anticipated bills bear the marks of having been poured through the filter of the American Legislative Exchange Council's agenda for school reform before they were exposed to the light of day.
This week, for instance, there is a hearing on a voucher bill for special needs children that appears to be modeled on the ALEC Special Needs Scholarship Program Act. Other measures are in the works to hold teachers "accountable" for the performance of their students, but not at voucher schools of the type supported by ALEC.
With two rallies on Valentine's Day, students and teachers commemorated the first anniversary of Wisconsin's historic struggle against Governor Scott Walker's attack on the state's 50-year tradition of peaceful collective bargaining.
Walker introduced his proposal to end collective bargaining for most state workers on Feb. 11, 2011. On Feb. 14, 2011 the Teacher's Assistants Association, the graduate student union at UW-Madison, organized a march from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to the Wisconsin State Capitol to deliver thousands of Valentine's to Walker to protest the measure and planned cuts to the UW system.