ALEC Sets Education Agenda for 2014

The Education Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) met in Washington, DC, last month, considering two new model state bills: the “Student Achievement Backpack Act” and the “Course Choice Act.”

The “Student Achievement Backpack Act” creates a data “backpack” for each K-12 student in the state that would include an electronic learning profile as well as information on the student’s prior teachers, including teachers’ years of experience and licensure information. The act would also authorize parents and K-12 district employees to access these backpacks, which would be transferable between schools and districts. The bill does include provisions to safeguard students’ privacy.

The “Course Choice Act” would allow high school students to take online, blended, and face-to-face courses not offered by the students’ regular school if it did not offer certain classes or if their school had been rated a C, D, or F by the state. A portion of the public funding allocated for the student would flow to the course provider.

ALEC also continues to push the “Student Data Accessibility, Transparency, and Accountability Act,” which was approved by ALEC members as a model bill last September. It would require state school boards to appoint a “chief privacy officer,” create a data-security plan, publish an inventory of all student-level data being collected by the state, make sure that contracts with some vendors include privacy and security provisions, and ensure compliance with federal privacy laws. You can read that model bill and other selected education bills on the ALEC web site.

To see ALEC’s influence in your state, check out this interactive map from the Brookings Institution, which shows ALEC bills that were introduced and enacted in each state and the percentage of the general assembly that belonged to ALEC during the 2011-2012 legislative session.

As you advocate for certain state policies on behalf of your institution, state chapter, or the profession, keep in mind the many tools and resources available to you through AACTE. Visit the AACTE State Legislative Tracker to view legislation related to educator preparation that has been introduced in your state, and use the AACTE Advocacy Toolkit to help you devise effective legislative campaigns. You might also review AACTE’s State Policy Priorities, which were developed by AACTE state chapter leaders, and our “What We Know” and “Where We Stand” position papers. For more assistance advocating in your state, feel free to contact me at spinsky@aacte.org.

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Sarah Pinsky

Manager for State and Federal Policy, AACTE

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