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Using ALEC Playbook, Bobby Jindal Radically Reshapes Public Education

Bobby Jindal has transformed public education in Louisiana and education advocates have deep concerns about who's going to benefit.

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“It’s a catch-22 for parents,” said Morgan. “Parents are desperate for change. But as a parent myself, I know that the more money we take away from public education systems to go to private entities, the less control I have over what public education looks like.”

Hijacking Obama’s Agenda

These days, the push to deregulate public education is a popular, bipartisan issue. Many of the states that have passed school reform overhauls in recent years did so to become eligible for the Obama administration’s $4.3 billion competitive grants program Race to the Top.

“Republican governors, shrewdly, jumped all over it and packed on their version of choice,” Perry said. “That’s how you see what we have now, where many different political bedfellows are coming together in a strange way.”

Indeed, Jindal spoke the language of the Obama administration last Wednesday when he touted his reform package as a way to help Louisiana children better compete in the global economy.

“[Louisiana children] are going to be competing with kids not only from Texas, Georgia, and other states, but they’re going to be competing for jobs with kids in China and other countries around the world,” Jindal said. “That is why it is so important we give every child in Louisiana a great education.” It could have been a line out of one of President Obama’s own education speeches.

This is one of the reasons why Perry says the presence of ALEC in the school reform policy arena isn’t reason enough for an outcry. Not only is ALEC not the only conservative group pushing for a free market approach to public education, but “there are pillars of each party that push the agenda.”

“The question is more about: what is so compelling about their arguments that is helping advance their agendas? Again, Jindal has been able to usher this through partly because the traditionally based system has failed in many ways. And that’s just the reality.”

This article has been updated since publication.

 

Julianne Hing is a reporter and blogger for ColorLines.com covering immigration, education, criminal justice, and occasionally fashion and pop culture.