So here comes the Alabama Policy Institute with an effort to promote the Alabama Accountability Act that is simply woeful, amateurish and sloppy. Go here to see what I mean. Instead of facts to support their claims, they just blow smoke. Fake news at its finest.
It’s not that numbers are not available, many of them on the Alabama Revenue Department website, devoted to the accountability act, but when numbers do not support your propaganda, why use them?
There are so many incorrect statements in this API piece it is difficult to know where to begin taking them to task.
Let’s begin with this statement: “The AAA also rights one of Alabama’s historic wrongs–specifically the segregation of schools–as it broadly offers educational choice that was historically limited to the majority population”
Wrong. As we pointed out in this article from Nov. 13, 2015, on average private schools getting AAA scholarships tend to be very segregated, either very black or very white.
Or what about this one: “The AAA has proven successful in taking students out of some of the most dangerous and underperforming schools in the nation and putting them in environments that are not only academically challenging, but safe.”
Wrong again. At the end of this past September there were 3,668 students on scholarships statewide. Of these, only 1,226 (33.4%) were “zoned” for failing schools. Remember, “zoned” does not mean they were attending a failing school, just in that school zone. So the actual number of kids leaving these schools is actually much, much less.
API says we currently have 4,000+ Alabama students currently using AAA scholarships.
Wrong again. State records show that five scholarship granting organizations now in operation have given out 3,668 scholarships through the end of September 2018. How hard is it just to get numbers right?
But the biggest travesty of what API espouses is that AAA should be ignored because it involves such a small amount of the Education Trust Fund. I don’t know if they are referring to the annual tax diversion of $30 million allowed by AAA from the Education Trust Fund or the $146.6 million that has been diverted since 2013, but it really doesn’t matter.
Because this argument is an INSULT to every public school educator in the state. Having just been on the Montgomery County school board, I know first hand how desperate schools and teachers are for proper funding. And to blow off either $30 million or $146.6 million as trivial shows how out of touch API is.
Erin Reed teaches first grade at Peter Crump elementary in Montgomery. She has 16 boys and six girls in her class. A few days ago I gave her $236 to purchase something for her classroom. To date, AAA has diverted $201 per student from every child in Alabama public schools. That is $4,422 from Erin’s class.
API says she should not be concerned? That she should not pay attention to a few million here and a few million there. How insulting.
API claims they are a CONSERVATIVE group. That’s a joke. Conservatives do not cavalierly dismiss millions of dollars as if they are meaningless.
More and more education and community leaders alike realize that the Alabama Accountability Act was a promise that was not kept and question its value. And propaganda like this from API helps them see how right they are.