03 May 2012
By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
One of the big ticket items on the GOP list of “must pass bills” was charter schools. What posted out of the senate last night resembled a charter school bill in much the same way a skunk resembles a cat. Both are furry but most people wouldn’t let a skunk sit in their lap.
As an adult--and not a politician--when you are wrong you should admit it.
I thought and wrote that the AEA would lose the charter school fight. I thought AEA head Henry Mabry could not pull off the coup de grâce of killing charter schools with a GOP super majority in control. I was wrong, Mr. Mabry, I apologize. You won, plain and simple.
I think charter schools would have been a worthy experiment. I thought that school choice may have been an alternative to some our failing public schools. But Mabry and the team at AEA beat the Republicans who vowed to bring “real” charter schools to Alabama
If there was any doubt that the AEA is still the most powerful political organization in Alabama last night’s vote in the Senate should remove all doubt.
Now, let me make this clear, I am not opposed to the AEA. I understand its purpose, I just wish it were a teacher’s union and not a labor union. I mean really, do we need to promise bus drivers tenure and a lifetime pension? I think not. Teachers are our best hope for a better tomorrow for Alabama’s children. I wish we could pay teacher 200k a year like we pay some government officials. If I were not a journalist I would be a teacher, in my later years I would like to teach “real journalism” something of a dying profession.
With this bill we can only pray that it will be a start toward pulling a few of our children out of failing schools. I have little hope. I really care about education. My teachers and professors helped shape the man I am today (some may think they didn’t do a very good job), but with all my failings I work hard to do my job to educate people about Alabama politics.
Republicans had a chance to offer the poor and neglected students of our state a potential way out of failing schools, they did not fully rise to the occasion.
I commend Senator Brewbaker for getting this bill through the Senate, you did the best you could under tremendous opposition and wavering from within your own party.
But the real winner last night was Henry Mabry. He fought with guts and conviction, working the floor and making the rounds.
Congratulations from a humble journalist.
I hope you will put that fighting spirit toward fixing our failing schools. God knows, we need someone with the guts to do the job.
The bill will now go to the House. I have to wonder if they will know the difference between a skunk and a cat.
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