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Corporate Education Reformers Plot Next Steps at Secretive Meeting

Hundreds of state legislators from across the nation went to an "island" resort on the coast of Florida to a unique "education academy" sponsored by ALEC.

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Fund Education Now co-founder Kathleen Oropeza says the "academy" is closed to the press and the public and Amelia Island itself is secluded from the outside world and heavily policed. The meeting's agenda is so secretive that Oropeza has been unable to track one down.

"The island is a challenge for protestors, and we think they chose it for that reason," Oropeza says.

However, a raft of ALEC legislative and corporate members are certain to be there. These include online school businesses such as K-12 Inc., Insight Schools, and  Connections Academy a division of Connections Education LLC. These for-profit schools will likely join with their allies from the  Heritage FoundationTexas Public Policy CenterThe Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the  Hoover Institution, the  Alliance for School Choice and more.

Thursday, the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida (DPCF) called on Florida legislators to boycott the island retreat. Caucus President Susan Smith stated, "The secretive process of allowing corporate lobbyists and billionaires to write legislation, which they then pass off to Florida legislators, is a betrayal of the intent of representative government. The closed-door gathering of legislators is not government in the sunshine."

 

Dustin Beilke is a freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles for publications such as Newsday, Salon.com, The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, Mother Jones, The Capital Times, Isthmus, The Shepherd-Express, Madison Magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, and The Onion.