10/1/2007 - October 2007 SLI Newsletter
There are continuing news reports on the efforts of the new chancellor of the Alabama two year college system, Bradley Byrne, to stop the "double-dipping" of legislators as public college employees. Similar problems exist for legislators who are double-dipping in the Alabama elementary and secondary public school system. Chancellor Byrne recommended and the State Board of Education passed a policy to require legislators to decide before the next election in 2010 whether they will keep their jobs or choose to be legislators, but not both.
This action came under extreme criticism by the Alabama Education Association ("AEA"). Second in command, Joe Reed, called Byrne "Fuhrer," referring to Adolf Hitler. First in command, Paul Hubbert, was also offended saying that he believes that "these proposed policies are nothing more than a legislative power grab by Governor Riley." The AEA is the single most powerful force in Alabama politics and public policy. The truth is, the AEA has cultivated for years public school employees who are dependent on it as legislators. With the AEA pumping millions of dollars into their election campaigns and providing jobs, these legislators are significantly beholding to the AEA and, consequently, are likely to support its legislative initiatives. This policy would significantly reduce the power of the AEA in the Alabama Legislature.
The AEA is no friend to non-public education, that is, church, parochial, private and home schools. We do not disagree that the public schools are entitled to protection in the legislative process, but we do have a fundamental problem with this intricate, but powerful, web of control. We invite you to express your opinions to Alabama Board of Education members. You may find contact information at www.alsde.edu and follow the links from "Board of Ed." Their actions will have significant and long term effects on Alabama. The fight is far from over.
Speaking of home schools, last month's Educational Update dealt with the provision of assistance to children with special needs in church and home schools. Our concern was to be sure parents with a child in a church or home school would have available to them provision of assistance, if needed. Home schooling is an increasing trend which offers a valid alternative. Parents choose it for many reasons. Recent reports that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is using public schools in Venezuela to indoctrinate students in socialist ideology is the type of thing that motivates parents to choose nonpublic methods of education. Recent National Education Association (national affiliate of AEA) resolutions demonstrate the largest teachers' union in the United States is not too far from Chavez' thinking.
It has been quite a long time since we wrote on home schooling in Alabama. There are no uniform laws in the United States on home schooling, so the methods are unique from state-to-state. Last month's Educational Update brought a significant number of inquiries about the status of home schooling in Alabama and we are glad to provide an analysis this month.
We ask for your continuing financial support. As we go into the end of the year, we would like very much to replenish our reserves. It is a time of year when many consider making tax deductible gifts. We appreciate your adding us to your contribution list.
Yours very truly,
A. Eric Johnston
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