Recent scandals in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. that revealed coordinated efforts by teachers and administrators to manipulate student test scores are shining an even brighter spotlight on the failure of standardized test-centric policies in the states. A backlash is brewing in many states as more and more parents and legislators alike start asking questions about corporate education "reform":
As the middle class remains under sustained attack in state legislatures, media attention is increasingly turning to the corporate interests orchestrating a national spread of industry-written bills seeking to weaken state economies, strip workers of their rights, suppress voter turnout, and capitalize on the politics of division and fear – all in pursuit of private profit. In a spate of recent reports, specific scrutiny is being focused on the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in allowing corporations access to influence state laws that benefit their bottom lines at the expense of the economic security of families.
In a blow to states’ leadership over clean energy, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that states cannot sue power plant operators that generate pollution. The Justice Department alleges that: (1) the Environmental Protection Agency has already started to regulate greenhouse emissions; and (2) states lack standing to assert a federal nuisance claim.
Tennesseans favor bringing Arizona’s controversial immigration
measure to the state by a 4-to-1 margin, a poll conducted by The
Tennessean and other media outlets found.
Seventy-two percent of voters in the state say they would support
enacting a law that would require people stopped by police to prove they
are in the country legally. Such legislation would be modeled after an
Arizona immigration statute scheduled to go into effect Thursday that
lets police charge people who cannot prove their citizenship status
under the state’s criminal trespassing laws.
Tennessee’s much-publicized educational reforms overshadowed the
fact that the state’s policy decisions during the 2010 legislative
session took a sharp rightward turn. Immigration and abortion were big
targets, but public health and safety were also negatively affected by
legislation that defied common sense.
NASHVILLE — Gov. Phil Bredesen said Tuesday he signed a bill
requiring local jailers to try and determine the immigration status of
prisoners in part to keep the issue from “throwing gasoline on the fire”
in this year’s political campaigns.
But the governor, a Democrat who is barred by law from seeking a
third term, also said that while he doesn’t like how the bill is being
used “symbolically,” he views its requirements as not unreasonable in
light of similar local-federal partnerships already under way in the
state’s four biggest counties.