American Legislative Exchange Council
Date: November 2011
Purpose: to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement
Term: 1 year and 10 months
Topic: Advocacy & Public Policy
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Web site: http://www.alec.org
There is great danger if too much capital and wealth is concentrated into the hands of a single individual or family. I've always fancied Bill Gate to be a relatively benign human being outside of the business realm but, if one is unethical in business or any aspect of one's life, such conduct must reach every other aspect of a person's life and influence. It is obvious that Gates has yielded to the temptation to use his enormous wealth in ways that appear to benefit the world at large, but are largely orchestrated to benefit the bottom line of Gates' business enterprises.
Interestingly, Lee Fang recently reported in The Nation on the various ways that the Gates Foundation and ALEC are working – independently – to promote for-profit distance learning. These programs typically undermine public schools while benefiting technology and software companies, including Microsoft. The educational value of such programs is also highly contested.
But the bigger issue here is that the Gates Foundation – a grant-making behemoth – is legitimizing ALEC and all of its egregious lobbying by directly supporting a portion of the group’s work. One can only hope that the Gates Foundation staff responsible for the grant were narrowly focused on education policy and unaware of ALEC’s broader agenda. Either way, the foundation seems headed into the middle of a controversy, which is remarkable for an organization that took pains to avoid “the controversy” in the reproductive health arena.