"We're close to a tipping point with public education, especially in big cities." That's the message that Diane Ravitch brought to Washington, D.C., last week in a series of meetings and public events with AFT President Randi Weingarten on reclaiming the promise of public education. Ravitch, a former education official in the George H.W. Bush administration, has become a staunch critic of education policies that began under former President George W. Bush and have continued under President Barack Obama.
In the latest installment of a regular Monday series, StandUpToALEC.org is highlighting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its agenda on education. ALEC pursues an extreme corporate agenda in state legislatures, directly attacking the rights of working families. In the recent decades the organization has been operating, they have had successes in rolling back the rights of America's workers on a variety of issues. In the past few years, though, broad efforts have been made to push back against the ALEC agenda and while there have been a lot of victories, more work needs to be done. Raising awareness about the organization is a big part of that, and Mondays with ALEC is an effort toward that goal.
While government in Washington, D.C., remains divided and marked by long-term gridlock, governments in the states are much less divided. Of the 50 states, 37 now feature state governments where the governor and majorities in both legislative houses are controlled by one party—24 of those are controlled by Republicans. Extreme, anti-working family Republicans have repeatedly assaulted the rights of people in recent years and, by all accounts, the trend looks to expand in 2013. Working families are mobilized and fought back in 2012 and will continue to fight in 2013. The response to the "right to work" for less push in Michigan was so strong, that governors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have since declared that they won't push for right to work in their states.