Is the Opt Out Message Being Hijacked by Corp Reformers?
In August 2015 the National Association of State Boards of Educators (NASBE) created a handy dandy chart entitled “Opt Out Guidance” for all fifty states. How wonderful of them. Their chart was highlighted in a recent Washington Post article and seems to be gaining traction. Sounds great….right? Um. Nope. Why?
The NASBE chart itself is problematic. It gives little useful information. For example under Florida it simply states “opt outs are not permitted” and explains why. That’s it?
Meanwhile three years ago United Opt Out created 50 state opt out guides, that provide, in DETAIL, current information for each state, written by opt out leaders in those states, and updated annually. Our guides say, “This is what your state legislation says,” and, “this is what you need to do.” Of course, the long and the short of it is this: REFUSE THE TESTS. REFUSE IT ALL. THIS IS AN ACT OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE. In the end it doesn’t matter what your state legislation “permits.” But parents want to be informed. And so the guides try to provide as much information as possible.
So is the information that NASBE publishing (or promoting) actually USEFUL? Not really. It might serve to deter many parents in most of these states, to just give after reading “No opt out permitted” in their state.
The second and more important reason promoting the NASBE guide is problematic (and is probably tied to why it’s basically useless) is WHO NASBE is. Before steering opt out parents to their site folks might do well to know more about NASBE. The partners who fund them include:
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
And many, many more…..
Why is Another Corporate-Driven Non-profit Trying to Appear “Opt Out Friendly”?
Again, the opt out narrative is being hijacked. And it’s not the first time. Education Commission of the States (ECS) also created an “opt out guide” and attempted to steer traffic to their website under the guise of appearing supporting of testing refusal. And yet… Closely examine the funders and partners of ECS. The list includes General Electric, State Farm, Amplify, Pearson, Verizon, Corinthean, Meta Metrics, Renaissance Learning, Lumina, and Walton. Each of these corporations are members of ALEC and serve ALEC’s agenda. In fact, the vast majority of their partners are members of ALEC or have politicians or CEO’s with direct ties to ALEC. There are 17 corporate partners for ECS. Out of the 17, 11 are directly tied to ALEC. The remaining six are either indirectly connected by related partnerships (funding other organizations that are in ALEC) or that support and profit from ALEC model legislation.
Of all the 2013 ECS Grants and Contracts, ALL of the contracts are with members of ALEC who are actively involved with the reform initiatives including charters, testing, and Common Core:
State Farm Companies, GE Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation College and Lumina Foundation (aka The Dirty Five)
Visit ALECexposed.org and see just how many of the corporate sponsors of ECS are members of ALEC.
What Should We Learn From This?
So how can you know if the movement is being co-opted by “ideological camouflage”? There are 3 steps for answering this question: Examine 1) MESSAGE, 2) MONEY AND 3) MOTIVE. Education Commission of the States and NASBE are prime examples of groups that appears as one thing but in truth is something else entirely. And it serves their interests to detract the opt out movement by creating mis- information and steering activists away from organizations that part of the real movement. They are the fake Prada handbag being sold on the sreets.
Before promoting an organizations efforts to “support” the opt out movement by getting folks to go visit their site, or giving them legitimacy by republishing their work, we might do well to do some research and avoid being blind-sided by a corporate reform movement that knows all too well how to manipulate public sentiment and engage in camouflage.
The oneness is on us to know who, and what, we are dealing with.