MAY 15, 2012 / BY FANNA GAMAL Taxpayer-funded education group drops ALEC

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) announced Monday that it will not renew its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the right-wing lobbying group responsible for ghostwriting discriminatory voter ID laws and a host of other controversial legislation. 

NACSA and more than a dozen major corporations have announced that they've dropped ALEC since ColorOfChange members began demanding that companies stop funding voter suppression. The education group's statement reads:

Our work with ALEC has been focused entirely on promoting excellent charter schools. As part of our annual review processes, however, we determined that alternative strategies would be more effective in achieving these policy objectives. Thus we will not be renewing our membership in ALEC when it expires next month.

But NACSA's membership in ALEC is especially problematic because it's funded in part by taxpayers, according to one report:

NACSA is financed in part by school districts and state departments of education. Here are just a few of NACSA's members that fall into this category: Denver Public Schools, Baltimore City Public Schools, Arkansas Department of Education, California Department of Education, and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

ALEC charges groups and companies to join its organization and task forces, and there's no indication that NACSA joined for free. What that means is that school districts and state departments of education are sending their tax dollars to NACSA, and NACSA is then sending some of those dollars to ALEC. NACSA staff time, paid for in part by taxpayers, is also devoted to ALEC task force work.

Public school funds have been used to support a group that many view as a champion of privatization. The presence of ALEC in the school reform policy agenda already has some wondering what the effects will be on under-resourced districts and students.

If you haven't already joined our campaign calling companies to stop funding ALEC, please join us here.