Education "reform" is constantly in the news. It seems there is a trend sweeping the nation, with state governments from Florida to Tennessee to New Mexico working feverishly to overhaul education policy. Trends in education are nothing new, but this trend is not coming from within education. It's coming from ALEC (and no, not Baldwin).
You may have heard ALEC mentioned at some point or another, most likely through media coverage of legislative activity. The American Legislative Exchange Council is an entity with vast membership, deep pockets and an agenda that's no longer in the shadows. Its membership consists of both corporations and politicians.
Many New Mexico lawmakers are supposedly affiliated, according to sourcewatch.org. ALEC essentially creates template legislation that ANY state can use, and basically fill in a few blanks to make it their own. Why does this group care so much about public education? It isn't out of concern for children...it's out of concern for dead Presidents: Franklin, Grant, Jackson...anyone worthy of their face on our currency.
Teacher evaluation tied heavily to standardized test scores? School A-F letter grades? The mysterious and virtually impossible-to-decipher Value Added Models of calculating teacher and school "effectiveness"? Yes, ALEC is the source of all of these. ALECexposed.org has information - including a one-page fact sheet that breaks it down really well.
ALEC's focus is not only public education--the organization's reach extends into almost every aspect of your everyday life! If you really want to get an inside look, check out the Bill Moyers documentary "The United States of ALEC".