We recently had a post referring to progress being made by the Alabama Education Association to restock their political action committee’s coffers.  We borrowed liberally from an article written for AL.com by Republican Cameron Smith in which he mentioned that the state GOP once warned GOP legislators about taking campaign contributions from AEA.

John Wahl is chair of the state Republican party.  He spoke to Yellowhammer News about AEA a few days ago.  A couple of his comments are very revealing.

“[I]t’s funny you bring that up because at one point in the past, there was actually a resolution passed by the state party, I believe, that was saying Republican candidates should not take money from the AEA because of their influence and the concern they would have over direct policy,” he stated. “So, of course, that’s a concern.”

There you go.  The GOP is concerned that educators might have influence when it comes to setting education policy.  What a novel idea.  Does that apply to legislation dealing with hospitals for instance.  Does the GOP think that hospital administrators should not have input in to policy concerning hospitals?  Or realtors when las impacting real estate are proposed?

I’m guessing they do not apply such standards to other professional groups.

“[T]here were jokes about how the AEA controlled the state and had a vast amount of control over policy and what would happen with the Governor’s office, the state legislature,” he (Wahl) explained. “So much of that has gotten better since Republicans have taken control.” 

Things have gotten better for public schools since the GOP took over the legislature in 2010?  Wow, why can’t I find an educator who agrees with this?

Under this GOP control, we now have the Alabama Accountability Act that has diverted $148 million from the Education Trust Fund so we can give scholarships to kids to go to private schools–even though three studies by the University of Alabama have shown the scholarship students perform no better than their public school counterparts.  We now have the A-F school report cards that no one pays attention to–except a handful of politicians who use the grades to beat up on public schools.

We now have legislation allowing charter schools.  Some of which have done well, while the charter for one in Washington County was revoked by the state after tremendous opposition from the local community.

And we have the Alabama Literacy Act which says that third graders can be retained in that grade if they don’t reach certain reading proficiencies–even though exhaustive research on this topic tells us retention does not work.  (And I have not yet found just one Alabama educator who agrees with this legislation, while I have found many who say it will require teachers to complete a great deal of additional paperwork.).

I do not know John Wahl.  But I feel confident in saying that he knows as much about what is good for public schools as the legislators he thinks should not listen to professional educators.