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Make Sure Your Legislators Vote “No” on HB84 and SB54 – the so-called “flex” bills

Two bills introduced would ensure that our public education system would be dismantled by the decisions of a very few. The bills would give school boards the ability to dismantle the current education system without any public input. These bills would, open the door for private charter schools, open the door for virtual charter schools, allow for vouchers, strip teachers of their tenure, and could allow schools to stop teaching state-mandated classes like physical education. Join SOAR in the fight to save public education.


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People of Alabama Get Hoodwinked

Legislators pulled a bait and switch last night to open up Alabama to charter schools. But, they did much more than that. They passed a bill that will take your tax dollars and give them to a private school that your child may not be allowed to attend. It is such a bad piece of legislation, education groups who don’t always agree, agree that it should never have seen the light of day.

From The Birmingham News:

The bill would also give failing schools the ability to offer incentives or alternate employment tracks to teachers who waive tenure protections.

Bombshell and unprecedented were words used among lawmakers to describe the night’s action.

State Superintendent Tommy Bice and the Alabama Association of School Boards withdrew their support from the legislation after the change.

“NONE of the added language to the Flex Bill has been vetted with us at the State Department/State Board of Education. There are SIGNIFICANT negative financial implications for all of Alabama’s public schools. THIS IS NO LONGER THE BILL I GAVE MY SUPPORT TO!” said a statement by Bice that was distributed to lawmakers.

School Board Association Director Sally Howell said, “We are greatly disappointed.”

Republicans in bombshell move push through bill giving tax credits for kids at ‘failing’ schools to go to private schools (updated with video and audio) | al.com

Failed Charter School Principal Receives 500K Payout

Florida lawmakers outraged that a failed Orlando charter school paid its outgoing principal more than $500,000 last year are moving to tighten the state’s charter laws so taxpayer money doesn’t go to “unreasonable compensation” or to schools “failing our students.”

The Florida Legislature will consider several bills to prevent a repeat of what happened at NorthStar High School, which closed in June in lieu of being shut down by the Orange County school district for poor performance.

northstar charter school reform: Florida lawmakers launch charter school reform effort in wake of NorthStar High School payout to principal. – Orlando Sentinel

Michelle Rhee In Alabama To Push “Flex” Bill

Despite denials by proponents of the “flex” bill (including Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard) that it will not open up Alabama to charter schools or any of the “reforms” that have led to the dismantling of public schools in other states, WSFA is reporting that Michelle Rhee, the controversial lightning rod who has crusaded against public schools and religiously pushed charter schools, is registered as a lobbyist in Alabama to push the “flex” bill.

“Flex” Bill Proponents Evade Questions

Yesterday, the Alabama Education Association held a news conference concerning the “flexibility” bills in the Legislature. What was interesting, though, is the proponents of the bill offered no rebuttal about what’s is actually in the bill. Instead they resorted to name-calling without answering any of the questions, like “what does this bill really do?” At least the AEA offered an explanation of the bill does:

Alabama Education Association Executive Secretary Henry Mabry said school “flexibility” proposals being pushed by GOP legislators were charter school bills in disguise.

“It’s a way to back door charter schools,” Mabry said in a morning press conference.

Republican lawmakers last year tried to pass charter school legislation, but the measure, which had been a GOP priority, was defeated.

AEA chief calls school flex bills a way to ‘back door’ charter schools | al.com