University of Wisconsin Professors Explain ALEC's Expanding Role In Public Education
Julie Underwood, dean of UW’s School of Education, and Julie Mead, professor in the School of Education, studied education-related legislation developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a conservative group that develops “model legislation” to be implemented at the state level. After noticing that nearly identical bills were being presented in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio (states with Republican Governors and Republican-controlled state legislatures), the professors decided to look further into the influence the group has over legislation related to public education.
ALEC’s interest in education is ambitious and multifaceted, and includes promoting dozens of model acts to its legislative members (Ladner, LeFevre, & Lips, 2010). Proposed bills seek to influence teacher certification, teacher evaluation, collective bargaining, curriculum, funding, special education, student assessment, and numerous other education and education-related issues. Common throughout the bills are proposals to decrease local control of schools by democratically elected school boards while increasing access to all facets of education by private entities and corporations.