The Alabama Education Association (AEA) supports the efforts of all parents everywhere seeking the best possible education for their children, be it in public, private, religious, or home schools. However, AEA must stand against those that seek to divert scarce public education resources into ideas that have been shown not to improve student achievement and, instead, foster fraud and waste of taxpayer funds.
Funds for traditional public school may be scarce, but you have to understand that your traditional public schools have not shown the success students need and changes are necessary. Standing in the way of reform is supporting the status quo – which from this last post, indicates that African American boys are graduating at a rate of 54%. How can the AEA support such a low graduation rate? “Foster fraud and waste taxpayer money”? That sounds like fear mongering – and the only one wasting taxpayer dollars are the schools who are not providing quality education to all students.
AEA Associate Executive Secretary Dr. Greg Graves said, “Just as with the oral argument before the Alabama Supreme Court on AAA, while public school educators and students went about the tasks of teaching and learning, children were taken out of the classroom to be used as pawns and set decoration by those who seek to dismantle and destroy public education. The numbers from AAA show that it is predominantly being used to subsidize parents who already send their children to private school and those in school systems without a ‘failing school.’ Studies have shown conclusively that students in charter schools perform no better, and often worse, than students in public schools and that charter schools are rife with fraud and abuse of taxpayer funds. Instead of investing in strategies that we know improve teaching and learning, such as smaller class sizes, better training and professional development of teachers, and additional resources for students with challenges, we are only looking at ideas that divert money from public schools into private hands. ”
Ah Dr. Graves – how long have AL public schools been on the current path? They haven’t gotten it right yet and you are asking for more money to continue on the same inadequate path? There are just as many studies that show smaller class sizes at a certain number don’t impact learning. Better training and Professional development of teachers? I think part of that is the role of your Schools of Education to prepare adequate teachers…and how long has it been since a majority of your teachers attended a school of education? I hope that to determine the professional development needs of your teachers you are administering an effective teacher evaluation to pinpoint their exact areas needed of improvement. Diverting money from public schools to private hands…you what really strikes me about that? Parents who send their kids to a non public school are still paying their fare share of the taxes to support public schools their kids are not attending. That’s like saying, “Oh, I gave you a defective car? Oh I’m sorry, but you need to finish paying for that car and buy a new one, there is just nothing else I can do if you want to have a car to drive.” While not all charter schools are successful, plenty of them are. Parents clearly want choices. But remember, Dr. Graves exclusively represents teachers – not parents, not students, not the community. His only job is to look out for teachers.
Graves added, “Despite the rhetoric from those who are looking to divert public school funding, parents have always had a choice between public schools, private schools, and home schooling. For the last decade under No Child Left Behind, most parents in what are now called “failing schools” also had the choice to transfer to other public schools in the same district. What is being presented as “choice” is nothing but a way to starve public education and make charter and private school operators rich.”
Yes, parents have had the choice between sending their child to the failing school their tax dollars pay for, or shelling out the own extra money to pay for private school. Great options! Oh, so I don’t have to send my child to my failing school, but I am responsible for transportation to and from another school in the district that I choose that is not failing? Why can’t parents have a choice of school, choice of public schools within their own attendance zone? The only people getting rich are union staffers – nearly 600 staffers at the NEA and AFT are raking in six-figure salaries, and of course, Randi Weingarten makes $557,875.