Something Else To Consider In The NC State Superintendent’s Race – Public Vs. Privatization

If you are familiar with ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), then this might be of interest to you.

As a refresher from SourceWatch:

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) describes itself as the largest “membership association of state legislators,” but over 98% of its revenue comes from sources other than legislative dues, primarily from corporations and corporate foundations.[1] After the 2010 congressional midterm elections, ALEC boasted that “among those who won their elections, three of the four former state legislators newly-elected to the U.S. Senate are ALEC Alumni and 27 of the 42 former state legislators newly-elected to the U.S. House are ALEC Alumni.” (A full list of the Congressional freshmen who are ALEC alums can be found here.) [2]

ALEC’s agenda extends into almost all areas of law. Its bills undermine environmental regulations and deny climate changesupport school privatizationundercut health care reformdefund unions and limit their political influencerestrain legislatures’ abilities to raise revenue through taxesmandate strict election laws that disenfranchise votersincrease incarceration to benefit the private prison industryamong many other issues[3]

ALEC is an “associate” member of the State Policy Network, a web of right-wing “think tanks” in every state across the country.[4]

What ALEC is in quick and dirty terms is an ultra-conservative “bill-mill.” And there are many connections ot North Carolina.

The State Policy Network is kind of a sister organization to ALEC that serves as an “umbrella” for ALEC aligned think tanks and institutions.

Again from SourceWatch:

The State Policy Network (SPN) is a web of right-wing “think tanks” and tax-exempt organizations in 50 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and the United Kingdom. As of October 2019, SPN’s membership totals 162. Today’s SPN is the tip of the spear of far-right, nationally funded policy agenda in the states that undergirds extremists in the Republican Party.

SPN describes itself as a network and service organization for the “state-based free market think tank movement,” and its stated mission is “to provide strategic assistance to independent research organizations devoted to discovering and developing market-oriented solutions to state and local public policy issues.”[1] It was founded in November 1991[2] and incorporated in March of 1992.[3]

SPN groups operate as the policy, communications, and litigation arm of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), giving the cookie-cutter ALEC agenda a sheen of academic legitimacy and state-based support.

Let’s pull that last part out.

SPN groups operate as the policy, communications, and litigation arm of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), giving the cookie-cutter ALEC agenda a sheen of academic legitimacy and state-based support.”

ALEC and SPN are arms of the Koch Brothers empire of influence.

The State Policy Network is rather big. It reaches into practically every state and links “individual” entities together. Oddly many of those entities are already linked.

Look at the directory and explore North Carolina for instance.

And you get this:

They all are linked to Art Pope, who need no introduction to North Carolinians.

The Civitas Institute, John Locke Foundation, and Martin Center all are massively funded by Pope. In fact Civitas used to be named the John William Pope Civitas Institute (father to Art), and the Maertin Center used to be named the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. Pope created the JLF and he was on the board of the Jesse Helms Center for a while.

School choice, school privatization, and other actions that have weakened public schools in North Carolina are usually championed by Pope and his organizations.

We are in a big election year – national, state, and local. No doubt that trying to exert influence through propaganda, slant media, and money will be on the agenda for the affiliates of the SPN here in NC. One such election is for the office of state superintendent.

Just take a look at this trail.

The State Policy Network will be holding its annual meeting toward the end of this month.

On that virtual announcement toward the bottom is a list of sponsoring entities.

For public school advocates in North Carolina, K12 and edChoice mighjt be familiar.

Take a look at that bottom row. There’s this sponsor:

Western Governors University.

Who is the top WGU official in NC for WGU and serves as its current chancellor?

She’s running for state super.

And simply look at her campaign twitter feed to see where she gets a platform for publicity.

Here’s an interview with the Civitas Institute:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s