FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The AEA Goes To War With Eastasia
“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist.” – Halder Camara
The Alabama Education Association (AEA) is violently at war with Eastasia. They always have been. Rumors of their prior conflicts with Eurasia need to be expunged through proper doublethink. At least that’s what I’m left to believe after listening to the recent AEA advertising campaign on the radio during my daily commute.
They wax predictably indignant over the prospect of the Alabama Legislature allowing the formation of Charter Schools within the state. The manner in which they phrase their complaints on the issue would make Robert Gibbs take pride in the level of awesome mendacity. Their website (No Charter Schools Alabama) repeats the refrain from the ubiquitous advertising.
Washington bureaucrats are telling us how to run our local schools, demanding that we implement a Chicago-style charter school system. And if we do not, they are threatening to deny Alabama the funds our students need to be successful.
The AEA then fulminates about their levels of funding and compensation. It almost makes it seem like the people and government of the Great State of Alabama have nothing to do with how much budget they dedicate to educating children.
Alabama’s public schools are among the lowest funded in the nation. But charter schools would require new facilities and add operational and administrative costs, all of which would be taken directly from our already underfunded public schools.
And then, the AEA has the audacity to argue against one of the most compelling positives that a charter school offers in comparison to the current state-run educational monopoly.
Charter schools don’t require all their teachers to be certified professionals, putting our children into the hands of uncertified, potentially unqualified teachers. And more than 600 of the 5,000 charter schools in the nation have already closed because of corruption, abuse, or failure.
This, I solemnly believe, argues strongly in favor of charter schools for two key reasons. 600 of the charter schools actually face consequences when they screw up. Having the bottom 12% of them fail is a good thing. I wish their was a viable alternative to the bottom 12% of the public schools that spew forth illiterate graduates to Alabama’s unemployment rolls. The AEA does favor the teaching of Darwinism, doesn’t it?
More importantly, charter schools are not bound by tenure and certification. They also probably aren’t established as NEA union shops. This may let some idiots into the classroom, but it also makes it a whole lot easier for a charter school to escort them right back out as well.
What the AEA argues against here is the idea that education should become in any way beholden to the iron laws of market discipline. When you throw lots of money at education, they call you a saint. When you demand that schools do something useful with this funding, they accuse you of aiding and abetting The Dreaded Chicago Way. Depending upon your opinion of our current Chief Executive Officer, they may well have implied that you are a Communist.
This is where their shameless lack of irony reaches a Goebbels Pinnacle. If you blindly through money at a state-run oligopoly that is held totally unaccountable for failure, you believe in down-home, small-government, Alabama values. If you respect the right for parents and entrepreneurs to intervene and attempt innovative fixes to the crushing poverty and ignorance that has held Alabama back at least since The Reconstruction, you practice the vile and iniquitous Chicago Way.
Thus, the apostates who inveigh on behalf of these bastardized charter schools get lumped in the same equivalence class as crazed radicals hell-bent of nationalizing the health care industry. This missive of repugnant lies from the AEA totally twists the reality staring these Educrats dead in the face. Nobody in DC, Chicago, IL or Montgomery, AL wants charter schools to exist. Nobody wants them except the desperate parents who worry about their children being shot dead in the halls of violent, undisciplined prison-like environments in DC, Chicago and Madison, AL.
Like all monopolies, the AEA is despised by its customers held captive. Parents like sending their kids to many of Alabama’s miserable public schools about as much as the US likes buying 25% of its petroleum from OPEC. It happens in the absence of any other viable alternative. The AEA fights using money from its dues to keep it that way.
Thus, the wise and innovative citizens of Huntsville send their children to private schools religious and secular. My own child attends a Montessori Academy and will remain outside the public school system for as long as I can find and afford any intelligent alternative. This propaganda war waged by the AEA only strengthens my resolve. </p.
I owe it to my country, my community and most importantly to my son to keep him out of the cozening clutches of the AEA. He will not be conscripted into their ongoing war against Eurasia.