News & Politics

Watch: Teacher Infiltrates ALEC Education Meeting, Confronts Members

Education activist Sabrina Joy Stevens, a former teacher in the Denver school system, tells right-wing, would-be policymakers how their agenda is destructive to education.


At the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., on Friday, December 1, members of the Education Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council got an earful when education activist Sabrina Joy Stevens infiltrated their closed-door meeting to confront the ALEC members on their own turf.

This two-minute video is well worth watching, especially for the part where one of the task force members mansplains to Stevens that she doesn't understand how ALEC really works. Why, the task force doesn't set policy, he says, implying that Stevens had chosen the wrong target.

In reality, ALEC's task forces draft policy recommendations that are taken up by the national body.

Stevens wrote on her YouTube posting:

On November 30, 2012, I had the rare and deeply disturbing experience of witnessing part of the American Legislative Exchange Council's Education Task Force meeting: a closed-door policy-shaping session open only to the state legislators who help to pass them, the corporate lobbyists who pay big money to shape and sponsor them-- and scrappy activists like me, who are no longer willing to cede our policy-making processes to unaccountable, undemocratic organizations who hide from the people their decisions ultimately affect. Here's me speaking from my heart as a teacher driven from the classroom into activism by destructive policies like theirs. 

Stevens formerly worked as a teacher in Denver, Colo., and in another capacity with students in Philidelphia, Penn. She took her ALEC mission on as a "rogue operation" she says, wholly on her own. She is currently employed by the American Federation of Teachers.

You can follow her on Twitter: @TeacherSabrina


Adele M. Stan is a columnist at The American Prospect, and editor of Clarion, the newspaper of Professional Staff Congress-CUNY, a New York City labor union. The views expressed here are her own.