AEA has killed the Alabama Charter School Law

All hope of charter schools being allowed in Alabama this year is dead.

Take it away Montgomery Advisor:

Last week the House Education Appropriations Committee voted 13-2 to indefinitely postpone a bill that would allow state and local school systems to start charter schools. On Wednesday, the Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee voted 13-4 to kill a Senate version of the legislation. The two committee votes effectively kill any chance of charter schools being used soon in Alabama.

Now I know that the Alabama Education Association came out against charter schools in Alabama. And I know that most of the people in Alabama, including parents, journalists and people who advocate for students for a living, came out for charter schools.

So this result surprised me. I decided to follow a hunch. I looked up each of the 15 members of the House Education Appropriations Committee that voted to kill the bill. Then I looked up who their top campaign contributors were.

The AEA was a top-five campaign contributor for eight members of the 13 members for which I could find info. Coincidence? Hardly. Follow the money. The House Education Appropriations Committee sure did.

Thanks, AEA, for buying our representatives. And thanks, House Education Appropriations Committee, for screwing Alabama’s public school children in order to keep the campaign contributions flowing.

Here’s where you can find the names of the members of the House Education Appropriations Committee.

Here’s where you can search for each member’s name to get who their top five campaign contributors were.

I haven’t looked at the senate yet, but I’m guessing I’ll find the same thing.

Anyone know where I can find out how each member voted?

Let’s make it easy for kids to escape high school early

People are talking about shortening the number of years it takes students to complete high school.

Utah Senator Chris Buttars wants to make it easier for kids to skip 12th grade.

The New York Times reports a new plan that would give 10th graders a chance to take tests which, if passed, enable them to receive their diploma two years early and immediately enroll in community college. The initiative will be tried in dozens of public schools throughout 8 states and is based on successful initiatives in Europe.

Some in the education establishment don’t like plans that would let some students skip grades because not all students are academically prepared to skip grades.

The Educated Reporter writes:

I missed the part where we educated students so well that they couldn’t possibly benefit from a fourth year of high school. If senior year is a waste of time, wouldn’t the right answer be making it better, rather than trying to save money by canning it?

If a kid can get into community college or a trade, they’re educated enough to be done with high school. Isn’t the point of high school to prepare you for the next step? If you’ve gotten what you’re supposed to get out of high school, why continue to go? I don’t lollygag around Wal-Mart after I’m done shopping. I get in, get what I need, and go home to make dinner. High school students should have the option of going to high school, getting what they need to take the next step, and leaving to begin their productive lives when they have what they need.

And no, for the kids for whom senior year is a waste of time the answer is not to make it better. If the job is done, and the kid is ready for the next step, why try to make senior year “better?” If you accept the premise that the point of high school is to prepare kids for the next step — which I do — senior year for a kid ready for college after 11th grade is by definition a waste of time.

Of course we need to make all years of high school better for the kids who aren’t prepared to skip on to college after sophomore year. But that’s not what’s being debated. These proposals will help the kids who are ready to leave.

You don’t get better performance by punishing winners. You get the winners where they need to be to keep winning. And that’s college, trade school and careers. Making them rot in high school along with the dregs doesn’t help anyone.