Alabama passes school vouchers for students at failing schools, Dems erupt

posted at 12:01 pm on March 1, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Did they erupt in joy for the children who now have a real opportunity to choose success over failure?  Er, not exactly:

Republicans dropped a legislative bombshell tonight as they slammed through a dramatically revamped education bill that will give tax credits for families at “failing schools” to send their children to private school or another public school.

Lawmakers voted mid-day to send a school flexibility bill — that would let school systems seek waivers from some policies — to conference committee. The conference committee reported a dramatically different bill that included the flexibility measures plus what some lawmakers called school vouchers.

Republicans heralded it as a historic day for education and life-altering for children stuck in poorly performing schools. But tempers boiled over as Democrats called the maneuver “sleaziness” and a “bait and switch.”

Governor Robert Bentley insisted that this represented a step forward for children whose choices had been restricted to just the failing schools in the government education monopoly prior to the passage of the bill, which Bentley will sign next week:

The reaction on the state senate floor can be heard here, although it’s not easy to follow except to note the anger over the change in the bill.  “We’re going to help children in this state!” says one of the bill’s backers, over the repeated chant of “Point of order!” from one of its opponents.

Democrats in the legislature accused Republicans of “sleaziness” in pushing the school choice option for students in failing schools:

The move drew outrage from Democrats who said the plan was evidently in the works for some time.

“I’ve never seen such sleaziness,” Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville, said.

And consider the race card tossed:

Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham, as she was leaving the House chamber threw her hands over her head and shouted, “Welcome to the new confederacy where a bunch of white men are now going to take over black schools.”

Well, if the “black schools” are where students are failing, wouldn’t that set the black students free of that failure?  Isn’t that supposed to be a good thing?  Why wouldn’t we want to give those students the same chance at success as other children in the state, rather than leave them locked into failing state-run institutions?

Our tipster on this story noted that the teachers union managed to block a more limited school-choice bill last year in Alabama, which is probably why the state GOP held their cards closer to the vest this time.  If Alabama voters agree that this was a sleazy maneuver, and the argument can certainly be made, then Republicans will suffer the consequences in the next election.  If, however, the parents of those children locked into failing schools value the educational possibilities for their children over the needs of the teachers union and the Democrats, the state GOP will reap a harvest of new voters.  I suspect that the latter will be much more true than the former.


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“How dare you send those poor kids to private schools. That’s where MY kids go!”

Russ in OR on March 1, 2013 at 1:37 PM

EGG-zactly….if anyone can go to St. Francis of the Dump, then where’s the cachet? AND if your kid gets as good of an education as mine, how’s my kid gonna be able to exploit yours as effectively?

JFKY on March 1, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Do some reading on the Birmingham school system. It is a circus run by blacks who are trying their darnedest to drive it into ruination. Some of the school board meetings, which you can watch online, are unbelievable.

MustLoveBlogs on March 1, 2013 at 1:14 PM

Same for Richmond, Va city schools.

Oh, and the city council televised meetings are comedy gold.

BacaDog on March 1, 2013 at 1:46 PM

EGG-zactly….if anyone can go to St. Francis of the Dump, then where’s the cachet? AND if your kid gets as good of an education as mine, how’s my kid gonna be able to exploit yours as effectively?

JFKY on March 1, 2013 at 1:44 PM

“St. Francis of the Dump” – LOL! Nice. Democrats RELY on a stupid population, as witnessed by their record-setting percentage of HS dropouts voting for Obama.

Also, though liberal parents know but will almost never say that they don’t want their own children having to be around fatherless, self-propelled disciplinary problems for five days out of the week. They’re no different from conservative parents – except for being bald-faced liars.

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Oh, and the city council televised meetings are comedy gold.

BacaDog on March 1, 2013 at 1:46 PM

I think I remember watching one of those for a social-studies class, years ago. IIRC, that was so sad it was funny…or maybe so funny it was sad.

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Also, though liberal parents know but will almost never say that they don’t want their own children having to be around fatherless, self-propelled disciplinary problems for five days out of the week.

Yeah we all know about “Those people” don’t we Melon….

Actually given discipline, boundaries, love, and encouragement “those people” perform just as well as other children, in Catholic Schools….were a couple of studies in the 1990′s that demonstrated this. Refuted the argument that Catholic Schools work because they “cherry pick” the better under-privileged…in a number of urban settings, NYC and DC, IIRC, it was found that random placement of under-privileged children had little or no effect on performance…in short, your lily-white child and “Lemonghello” can actually learn at the same rate. Even though your child, Ernst Roehm Collie and Lemonghello may have dis-similar family situations.

JFKY on March 1, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Yeah we all know about “Those people” don’t we Melon….

JFKY on March 1, 2013 at 1:58 PM

More projection. Poor schools have poor students who have more discipline issues, skin color is irrelevant in this. As are you.

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 2:02 PM

MelonCollie – Any progress on the job front? Seriously – how’s it going?

dentarthurdent on March 1, 2013 at 2:11 PM

You’re the one talking about the parenting skills of timberwolves and shooting them to raise the colelctive IQ, not me honey….

I pointed ut that given:
1) Love;
2) Support;
3) Discipline; and
4) Hi Goals

The people you see as walking discipline problems can turn out no worse, statistically, than little your Ernst and Ernestine.

JFKY on March 1, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Sounds about right. Detroit is about to get its first taste of ‘White guys’ running the place after Libs drove it into a massive crater by voting for Obama failed policies and he left them for dead, holding nothing but an IOU that has already been sequestered the minute he wrote it.

HopeHeFails on March 1, 2013 at 2:15 PM

BacaDog on March 1, 2013 at 1:46 PM

You’re so right about the comedy gold. It’s amazing that most of these school board members aren’t in jail. The students are the very last thing about which they’re worried.

MustLoveBlogs on March 1, 2013 at 2:16 PM

You’re so right about the comedy gold. It’s amazing that most of these school board members aren’t in jail. The students are the very last thing about which they’re worried.

MustLoveBlogs on March 1, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Do kids vote, NO…do their parents, not so much…do unionized teachers…YES!

JFKY on March 1, 2013 at 2:18 PM

MelonCollie – Any progress on the job front? Seriously – how’s it going?

dentarthurdent on March 1, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Form-letters and broken promises. I’ve heard more excuses than a highschool English teacher.

I have half a mind to record the next promise for a response from an interview turned in and threaten an internet campaign against the Pinocchio who made it. But while I have no money to lose in a lawsuit, I’d be on the employee blacklists that get passed around for the rest of my life…

If you know anywhere that’s supposedly hiring anyone, I’m game if I can get there and back. Hell my dad taught me how to chop wood if it comes to that!

BTW – if you know a conservative small business owner who can’t hire anyone due to the ridiculous paperwork and new taxes…let’s just say I’m flexible. ;)

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 2:20 PM

BTW, dentarthurdent, I’m seriously trying to run a background check on myself to see if I haven’t been mixed up with a paroled serial murderer or by the same name.

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 2:21 PM

blockquote>The people you see as walking discipline problems can turn out no worse, statistically, than little your Ernst and Ernestine.

JFKY on March 1, 2013 at 2:12 PM
Absolutely true – and poverty is NOT the major factor. It’s the liberal parents who do not provide those things that I think melloncollie is talking about. When parents don’t provide the things you listed, the kids are very likely to turn out as uneducated discipline problems – and probably dependent on government handouts for life. Provide those things (even in poverty) and ideally put the kid is in a decent school with decent teachers and you have a future Ben Carson in the making.
I believe you’re both saying the same things in different ways.

dentarthurdent on March 1, 2013 at 2:22 PM

MustLoveBlogs on March 1, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Remember Councilman Chuck?

He was the Marion Barry of RIC.

The local FM station used to ridicule him mercilessly – they had a segment called “word of the day”

Example:

Councilman Chuck’s word of the day is “moustache”

Now, let’s have Councilman Chuck use it in a sentence: “When I see the blue lights behind me, I throw moustache out the window!”

Good times……….

BacaDog on March 1, 2013 at 2:25 PM

“I’ve never seen such sleaziness,” Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville, said, modestly excluding his party’s being completely beholden to teachers’ unions in spite of the interests of the children of the state…

morganfrost on March 1, 2013 at 2:25 PM

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Considering some of what you said awhile back, how would you rate your seaking skills – public speaking type? That’s an area that can bite you in an interview. Do you have a Toastmasters Club in your area? They’re all about training and practice in public speaking and communication skills. It might help.

dentarthurdent on March 1, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Form-letters and broken promises. I’ve heard more excuses than a highschool English teacher.

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 2:20 PM

That happens to everyone. I’ve had stretches where I applied for dozens of jobs and got the same thing. It can be depressing, but you can get through it. It’s just a matter of finding the right combination of job and people.

dentarthurdent on March 1, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Considering some of what you said awhile back, how would you rate your speaking skills – public speaking type? That’s an area that can bite you in an interview. Do you have a Toastmasters Club in your area? They’re all about training and practice in public speaking and communication skills. It might help.

dentarthurdent on March 1, 2013 at 2:25 PM
FIFM

dentarthurdent on March 1, 2013 at 2:29 PM

I believe you’re both saying the same things in different ways.

dentarthurdent on March 1, 2013 at 2:22 PM

All I’m trying to point out is that not only are Democrats Grade-A hypocrites, the people they use for photo ops are the same ones who have their lives and the lives of their children absolutely ruined by voting for their policies. Just for one frighteningly easy example, the majority of black children are now born and raised without fathers.

But liberals avoid the consequences of their actions in schooling as much as in anything else. Ask a Democrat mother if she’s for diversity and she’ll say “of course!” Ask her to send her child to a crowded public school in a poor section of town instead of his exclusive school and she’ll like to faint. She’d sooner smear gravy on Junior and dangle him over a pit of hungry lions.

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 2:29 PM

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Yes – fully agree.

dentarthurdent on March 1, 2013 at 2:33 PM

dentarthurdent on March 1, 2013 at 2:29 PM

The thing is it never even gets to the speaking stage beyond turning in an application at the store. I’d be ecstatic to even get an interview.

A LOT of places are going to online-only applications specifically so they can filter employees based on computerized criteria. The ~100-question personality quizzes are especially notorious for this; I’ve had one which stated I would be automatically disqualified if I (translated from legalese) answered too much like the good little employee they want in the first place.

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 2:33 PM

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 2:33 PM

I suggest if there’s any way possible, avoid the online applications unless it’s just a step in the process they require. Do you have family and friends working at any of the places you’d like to work? Start there. Getting a job is always easier if you have someone on the inside recommending you. And don’t view it as abusing your relationship with that person. many companies offer employees a referral bonus if they can bring in a new employee who works out well for the company. Most companies also will go straight to an interview for someone whose resume is handed to them by a currentemployee – far quicker and better odds than just being in a computer database. That was a key piece of advice ALL of us who worked the military employer panels gave to the soldiers getting out; and I’ve done tose panels over several years with representatives from lots of companies – including Walmart, Progressive Insurance, Colorado State Patrol, and many others across many different industries.

That’s also how my son got his initial interview with Costco – one of is roommates already worked there and recommended him. But a reference can only get you to the interview stage – at that point it’s all up to you – hence the question and recommendation on improving your speaking skills – IF that might be part of the problem.

dentarthurdent on March 1, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Better yet, why not de-fund those failing schools, or perhaps tie in those governm

ent checks to the failing parents…oops parent(?) to improvement in school grades?

Don L on March 1, 2013 at 12:18 PM

it’s not really necessary. school funding is always driven directly by the number of students enrolled. Take away some of the students, you automatically cut funding

tom on March 1, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Rep. Jackson can’t actually express his real problem: An angry teachers’ union, which purchased his election and whose grip on “education” is threatened by school choice in any form. So what’s left? Racism, of course.

Barnestormer on March 1, 2013 at 3:02 PM

BacaDog on March 1, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Sad to say, I don’t remember Chuck, but sounds like good times, indeed.

MustLoveBlogs on March 1, 2013 at 3:22 PM

The Liberals are always welcome to move to Blue states more in line with their beliefs.

Charlemagne on March 1, 2013 at 3:40 PM

“Welcome to the new confederacy where a bunch of white men are now going to take over black schools.”

I didn’t realize “Failing” was synonymous with “Black”.
There must be a big sign over the schoolhouse door that says “Property of Blacks” and “Blacks Only”. If you’re thinking of helping a school, you better not be some White Boy, because your skin color and gender determines if your ideas can be helpful or not.

I’m just disgusted how the WORST racists, like this tool, don’t have it THROWN BACK IN THEIR FACE. If I was in the state House, I’d take to the floor to berate her BY NAME as a disgusting bigot for my allotted time EVERY DAY until she apologized.

CapnObvious on March 1, 2013 at 4:01 PM

“How dare you send those poor kids to private schools. That’s where MY kids go!”

Russ in OR on March 1, 2013 at 1:37 PM

EGG-zactly….if anyone can go to St. Francis of the Dump, then where’s the cachet? AND if your kid gets as good of an education as mine, how’s my kid gonna be able to exploit yours as effectively?

JFKY on March 1, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Actually that is a significant part of the opposition to vouchers, coming from the limousine liberal set. They want to retain the exclusivity of their private schools, making sure that their little Precious doesn’t have to be exposed to you-know-what.

slickwillie2001 on March 1, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Democrats are racists. That is a fact and it doesn’t matter what color they are. The party of the KKK has never changed.

woodNfish on March 1, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Courtesy of the brilliant RWM

Schadenfreude on March 1, 2013 at 4:33 PM

“Welcome to the new confederacy where a bunch of white men are now going to take over black schools.”

Um, in the confederacy, it was illegal to educate black children.

Odysseus on March 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM

That “chimp” Boooush did that too?

Don L on March 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM

GOOD!!

TX-96 on March 1, 2013 at 4:46 PM

No, no. You’ve got it all wrong. See, black kids LIKE their kids to fail in school. For an example, see just about every Democrat stronghold in America.

hawksruleva on March 1, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Well of course Democrats are mad. Democrats could care less about the education of children when union dollars are at stake.

SoulGlo on March 1, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Actually that is a significant part of the opposition to vouchers, coming from the limousine liberal set. They want to retain the exclusivity of their private schools, making sure that their little Precious doesn’t have to be exposed to you-know-what.

slickwillie2001 on March 1, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Dingdingding.

Can’t have them seeing how their photo-op props behave when they aren’t being paraded in front of the big media cameras, now can they?

MelonCollie on March 1, 2013 at 6:44 PM

The public school system is a joke and only produces mediocrity which is exactly what the liberals want…

RedInMD on March 1, 2013 at 12:45 PM

John Dewey would be so proud.

PatriotGal2257 on March 1, 2013 at 7:37 PM

“Welcome to the new confederacy where a bunch of white men are now going to take over black schools.”

(State) Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham

.
Um, in the confederacy, it was illegal to educate black children.

Odysseus on March 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM

.
That’s one of the best responses to a TOTALLY STUPID emotional outburst, I’ve ever seen.

Kudos.

listens2glenn on March 1, 2013 at 7:56 PM

This is great news, coming at the same time as the Colorado Court of Appeals decision to allow a voucher program in Douglas County, CO :

ronco on March 1, 2013 at 8:25 PM

The Dems deny failure just about all the time because they blame some else.

mixplix on March 1, 2013 at 8:41 PM

My mother, single with a 40wk job… paid to send us 4 kids to catholic school in Camden NJ in the 60s. The pubic schools we avoided were horrible… and I wish I understood the gift mom was giving me at the time.
-

RalphyBoy on March 1, 2013 at 9:59 PM

If Alabama voters agree that this was a sleazy maneuver, and the argument can certainly be made, then Republicans will suffer the consequences in the next election.

HUh? That’s what conference committees do.. they take the bills brought to them, hammer them into an acceptable format for both sides of the legislature… and then ship them back out.

DaSaintFan on March 1, 2013 at 12:27 PM

First and foremost example: the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (Wikipedia):

Although the Convention was intended to revise the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset of many of its proponents, chief among them James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one.

Last and most egregious example: stripping an existing bill of its original content and substituting the text of the PPACA (Wikipedia, my emphasis).

In July 2009, a series of bills were approved by committees within the House of Representatives. Beginning June 17, 2009, and extending through September 14, 2009, three Democratic and three Republican Senate Finance Committee Members met for a series of 31 meetings to discuss the development of a health care reform bill. … Away from the televised meetings, the legislation became a “bonanza” for lobbyists,including secret deals that were initially denied but subsequently confirmed. … The Senate failed to take up debate on the House bill and instead took up H.R. 3590, a bill regarding housing tax breaks for service members. As the United States Constitution requires all revenue-related bills to originate in the House,the Senate took up this bill since it was first passed by the House as a revenue-related modification to the Internal Revenue Code. The bill was then used as the Senate’s vehicle for their health care reform proposal, completely revising the content of the bill. … The most viable option for the proponents of comprehensive reform was for the House to abandon its own health reform bill, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, and to instead pass the Senate’s bill, and then pass amendments to it with a different bill allowing the Senate to pass the amendments via the reconciliation process.

Sleazy is as sleazy does.

AesopFan on March 1, 2013 at 11:19 PM

Southern Democrats still standing in the shool doorway.
At one time to keep black children from entering; now to keep them from leaving.

patch on March 1, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Indeed.

AesopFan on March 1, 2013 at 11:20 PM

I thought Democrats were all pro-choice?

Huh.

Kill a child. Choice. Choice. Choice.

Educate a Child. No Choice.

98ZJUSMC on March 2, 2013 at 7:33 AM

Vouchers I really doubt will change much of anything in public education, really.
What have Federal Grants done for the college education system?
Dumbed it down & proliferated wide spread abuse in tuition hikes & hence many college degrees have become a wasteful joke.
I except the same thing to happen with these voucher systems.
Really, it is not the Federal Govt’s job to educate state citizens.
IT’s not an enumerated power & if you really want to make sure citizens are educated in the best way possible, make it a local concern, not this once size fits all Federal mandate like NCLB which is now gone to be replaced by the new education fad called Common Core.
As a HS teacher I can see the $$ abuse in the system & I’ll tell you that no voucher program will work.
Bcs education & the value of it starts at home with the children’s parents.
And we have seen how a large part of America looks a public education: a babysitting service.
Parents who care about their kids’ educations are going to make sure their kids learn whether they’re in a crappy or good public school.
LEt the states control their own education systems. Get the Fed out of the states’ business.
If the people of the states vote on how they’re educating their young, then they will have a vested interest that is stronger & better supported.
And yes, some states will excel in this area & some will truly suck.
Some people just get nothing out of going to school. And no amount of mandating is going to change that.

Badger40 on March 2, 2013 at 10:33 AM

and I wish I understood the gift mom was giving me at the time.
-

RalphyBoy on March 1, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Well you do now & that is all that matters.

Everyday, Students In America Are Vastly Outnumbered By Administrators And Non-Teaching Support Staff

Resist We Much on March 1, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Federal mandates is what does this.Along with our sue happy culture.
In one of the schools I teach in, the bullying problem became so bad 1 kid had to be sent to a special hospital for bulimia, & one kid, a child of a teacher’s, refused to come to school.
These are 8th graders.
The school counselor is a worthless joke of a human being & the HS principle, responsible for these kids, is just as big of a joke. Not only are they both grossly incompetent, but they met with the whole class & mocked the notion of bullying happening, refused to take responsibility for stopping it, & only made the bullied kids feel even more hopeless.
I smell a lawsuit on the horizon & I’ve been telling this to the community for years this would happen.
No one has done a damned thing & now it is literally imploding.
I tried my best to get people to help me stop it & got no support.
Let it burn I say.
The reason I mention this is bcs the Supertdt’s wife has been hired to follow the 8th grade class from class to class as a monitor.
She can’t evidently do anything if something happens. But she is there to witness.
She’s getting paid to do this.
And the job was never even advertised.
The Suptdt evidently just hired her himself.
And the Special Ed department, already used to death, is being used as standby babysitters when this woman cannot be present.
Public education is a massive failure & needs to be totally abandoned & taken up by individual communities.
Parents have been allowed to abdicate their responsibilities for far too long.

Badger40 on March 2, 2013 at 10:41 AM

The move drew outrage from Democrats who said the plan was evidently in the works for some time.

“I’ve never seen such sleaziness,” Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville, said.

You libtards gave us ObamaCare, we give you school vouchers.

Turnabout’s fair play.

Renee on March 3, 2013 at 8:51 AM

The Liberal is forever a sleazy hypocrite.

FlaMurph on March 3, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Finally.

NoPain on March 4, 2013 at 7:58 AM

I am of two minds on vouchers. I’m very happy for the children who will have better access to better schools. However, as a Catholic parent with one child still in parochial school (not in Alabama), I fear that this is opening the doors to government interference in the Catholic schools. Just as we are now seeing people argue that Catholic hospitals should have to abide by unjust immoral laws because they accept money ‘from the government’ in the way of medicare payments, etc…, I fear we will have the same arguments about the schools teaching anti-Catholic material since they are ‘accepting money from the government’ in the way of vouchers. Of course the government could go the way of Britain and force them to teach vice as virtue anyway, but I don’t think the American people are quite ready to fully abandon the First Amendment that way, without the rationalization of ‘well, they accept public tax funding so…”

pannw on March 4, 2013 at 12:41 PM

MellonCollie – I think I might have a lead for you, but I don’t know what part of the country you are in. Would you be able to move if the job was somewhere else?

I’m sure that you can list me as the refering person and I have over 5 years with the company.

Freed0m28 on March 4, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Freed0m28 on March 4, 203 at 12:47 PM

I’m going to gamble on you and break my own code on posting personal info on the web: I live in Omaha, Nebraska.

The biggest thing on moving is I have to be all but totally sure that I am hired, because otherwise I’m stranded with less than a thousand bucks to my name in a city of strangers with the OBamaconomy only getting worse.

I’d also have to talk to my GF; we are at the point where we really need to be seeing each other more often if we want to get married. And we do.

But, both those things said, I’m open to it.

MelonCollie on March 5, 2013 at 6:31 PM

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