The AEA today took aim at Gov. Bentley’s proposed budget. New AEA Executive Secretary Henry Mabry sent-out the following email to their members:
Subject: Stop education funds from being diverted – contact Governor Bentley today!
Education funds should be used for education!
Tell Governor Bentley not to divert education funds from students!
Dear Teachers, Education Support Professionals, and Education Retirees:
AEA needs your help. Gov. Robert Bentley was supported by AEA in the 2010 elections, but now he is considering taking money from schools to bailout the state General Fund. We need relief for educators, public schools, and our students – not more bailouts. Governor Bentley already proposed cutting your pay by $500 to $1,200. Please tell him NO MORE.
Governor Bentley needs to hear from YOU. It is YOU who put him where he is, and it is YOU who needs to tell him to quit hurting you and start helping. Tell him NOW that you want no more cuts to education and that you want your $500 or $1,200 pay cut BACK in his next budget. Do not take no for an answer.
We can forgive him if he does right, but he is going to have to change.
Help AEA help you! Write an email. Call the Governor. Write a letter. Please do it NOW.
Henry C. Mabry
Alabama Education Association
It’s interesting that this email was sent out on the same day the Mobile Press-Register’s Editorial board published a piece entitled, “Will AEA leadership change usher in a new direction?”
Here are a couple of my favorite nuggets from the Press-Register op-ed that provide some context for the AEA email:
“The AEA is perceived today — with good reason — as a union concerned solely with getting everything it can for teachers and other public school employees, not as a force for better education.”
“They can begin by promoting what’s best for public education, which is not always what’s best for individual teachers.”
“The AEA must also learn to deal with financial reality, rather than trying to bully the Legislature into spending money the state doesn’t have.”
That pretty much sums it up but I’ll top it off with my personal favorite quote with regards to the teacher’s unions: legendary union boss Albert Shanker said, “When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren.”
I’ve spoken to a few people who were optimistic about change coming to the AEA. They were actually surprised by today’s email. Surprised? Really? I’ll tell you what would be a surprise: the AEA actually coming up with a creative solution to a problem rather than hammering on the same played-out political tactics.
A quick political side-note: Is Governor Bentley picking a fight with the AEA in an attempt to build his GOP streed-cred?
Finally, for those interested in the process story behind all of this…
Let’s keep in mind, the Governor basically gets to propose whatever budget he wants and can make it look great — but it has to be passed by the legislature. A lot of Republicans may not be committed to Bentley’s idea — not because they have any allegiance to the AEA — but because they will have to deal with the practicality of it.