Education reform is rivaled only by entitlement reform when it comes to the level of demagoguery that defenders of the status quo are willing to engage in. Any hint of reform is met with fierce opposition. When U.S. House Republicans suggest the federal government live within its means, there’s always a left wing group willing to make a video of Paul Ryan rolling grandma off a cliff. And when Alabama Republicans propose common sense education reforms that will introduce accountability and competition into the education system, AEA boss Henry Mabry is there to play his role as the left wing demagogue on the state level.
And now it appears Mabry has found a new ally to join him in his campaign to maintain the status quo: Christian Coalition of Alabama Chairman Randy Brinson. Brinson sent out an email blast last week (which you can read below) that is strikingly similar to the disingenuous, anonymous ads that started popping up on Facebook over a month ago. He takes personal shots at Gov. Bentley’s education policy advisor Emily Schultz (all in Christian love, I’m sure), and even suggests that charter schools will open the door for Muslims to infiltrate our schools with sharia law. Of course, anybody with a brain realizes that would be illegal and unfeasible under the charter schools bill.
To the uninitiated, the Christian Coalition’s involvement may seem strange and misguided. But for those who have been around Alabama politics for some time, it comes as no surprise. Alabama politicos will likely remember Brinson as the Christian leader who supported passage of gambling legislation during the last legislative quadrennium. Evidence produced later showed that a company owned by Brinson received $300,000 from gambling boss Milton McGregor.
I started receiving emails from insiders last week noting that Mabry and Brinson were spending a lot of time together at the State House. Casual conversation between friends? Maybe so. Purely coincidence that Brinson sent out a sensationalized email in opposition to the charter schools bill shortly thereafter? Could be.
What we know for sure is that conservative Christians like Chuck Colson and conservative organizations like the Heritage Foundation are just two of the countless examples we could point to of conservatives leading the charge for school choice. What we don’t know is if there is more than what meets the eye to the Christian Coalition’s sudden opposition to education reform.