Educators Join Protests Against ALEC In Indianapolis

28 Jul Educators Join Protests Against ALEC In Indianapolis

  • Educators protesting the ALEC meeting in Indianapolis.

    Image 1 of 3

    Photo: Steve Burns

    Educators protesting the ALEC meeting in Indianapolis.

  • Educators protesting the ALEC meeting in Indianapolis.

    Image 2 of 3

    Photo: Steve Burns

    Educators protesting the ALEC meeting in Indianapolis.

  • Educators protesting the ALEC meeting in Indianapolis.

    Image 3 of 3

    Photo: Steve Burns

    Educators protesting the ALEC meeting in Indianapolis.

Protesters rallied Wednesday against the policies of the American Legislative Exchange Council in Downtown Indianapolis where the organization, known as ALEC, is holding its national conference.

Before protest groups took to the streets, dozens of teachers and traditional public school advocates gathered to decry ALEC on the lawn of the Indiana State Museum.

Protesters took a stand against the controversial conservative organization’s attempt on the expansion of voucher programs in Indiana.

They say Indiana’s private school voucher program and teacher evaluation system are just two laws that are the result of ALEC’s influence on state lawmakers.

“The legislation being cooked up inside these meetings doesn’t help students succeed.”

—George Sheridan, National Education Association

George Sheridan of the National Education Association says those laws have hurt public schools.

“The legislation being cooked up inside these meetings doesn’t help students succeed,” Sheridan says. “That’s why we must take back our schools.”

An ALEC spokesperson says legislation is not being written at the conference by its members or corporate lobbyists.

But education is a focus during the ALEC conference. Robert Enlow, president of the pro-school choice group The Friedman Foundation, is a keynote speaker Friday as is Republican Vice Presidential Nominee and Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

Funding for Indiana’s voucher program was the biggest concern for protesters. ALEC proposed expanding the program, which protestors took as an attack on public schools. They’re also concerned about the strong emphasis on standardized testing nationwide.

“It has really transformed schools,” says protestor Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer. “It’s narrowing curriculum, it’s making it more difficult for the kids to go deep. We know about test scores, but we don’t know about whether children love learning, and that’s what I want as a parent.”

Dorothy Nguyen contributed to this report.

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