Every state and local official should be paying more attention to the
global trade talks at the World Trade Organization, since local power
to regulate services such as health care, mass transit and a range of
other public services are on the chopping block.
A good place to start in researching your local corporate-backed policy outfits is the State Policy Network;
pick your state on the linked map and you'll be able to see a list of
"free market" think tanks in your local area. While there is a lot of
overlap, you can also check out the map of state groups listed by Americans for Tax Reform.
While these facts are unlikely to change the minds of rightwing
legislators looking to hand out slices of the education spending pie to
their corporate sponsors, progressive legislators can use them to stand
up against the privatization agenda and push for the education reforms
that really help children learn:
Better early education, including guaranteeing free pre-K for all
More equitable funding for poorer districts in states
Smaller class sizes for all students
Professional development and better retention of teachers, especially in poorer districts
Accountability that is more than a mandate to "teach to the test"
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently issued its 2006 version of its "Report Card on American Education",
the organization's annual propaganda that public schools are failing
and that more resources for poorer schools won't make a difference.
It's no secret that one of the top priorities for the rightwing
movement has been privatization of public education through vouchers
and tax credits. But the raw fact is that the public has consistently
rejected their initiatives when they've come to a vote-- every time the
voters have faced ballot initiatives on the issue, they have
overwhelmingly rejected them by a cumulative 68% to 32% margin in the 12 ballot initiatives from 1970 to 2000.