Republicans try to sell a ‘lemon’ actPublished 9:28pm Monday, May 6, 2013
What would you think if you purchased a new car, but in less than two months you were back in the dealership getting a tune up? You guessed right; you bought a lemon. Last week, the Legislature drove that same lemon, the Accountability Act that the Republicans keep trying to sell to the house floor to be amended. We finally thought we would have the opportunity to debate on the Accountability Act that we didn’t have when the Act was passed in February.
We thought we’d be able to ask all of the necessary questions, to discuss the financial impact these vouchers will have on funding our public schools. We could have had that debate, but they didn’t allow it. They drove away making the lemon even worse.
Once again, the Republican Supermajority in Montgomery used their power to shut off debate. They only allowed two Democrats to speak on the act, choosing two whom they knew did not have amendments prolonging debate and force Republicans to cast a vote on the Accountability Act. One of the reasons the Republicans did not want to allow Democrats to offer amendments is because they knew that Democrats had an amendment that would prohibit legislators and, such as the governor, from receiving the vouchers to send their children to private schools. The Republicans in the Alabama Legislature knew they could not justify voting against this amendment.
The President Pro Tem of the state senate, Sen. Del Marsh, (R-Anniston,) and his staff have stated publicly and on more than one occasion that they could not have driven this lemon, the Accountability Act, through the normal legislative process. The Republicans intentionally chose to deceive the public and embrace back-room deals and bait-and-switch tactics to pass this terrible new law. Some Republican Senators have changed their minds and are also saying we need to return this lemon to the dealership.
To make the lemon worse, the Republicans added an amendment making it more difficult for students in “failing schools” to transfer to a “non-failing” school. This bill would allow “non-failing schools” to deny admission to students from “failing schools.” The Accountability Act was sold to the public as giving students “trapped in failing schools, a way out.” The very first “fix” the Republican Supermajority passed is designed to make it harder for students to transfer. This just proves that the Accountability Act was never about helping kids in struggling schools. This was always about money:
Every child deserves to have access to a quality education. But does the Accountability Act really do that? No, it does not. It only abandons our schools and leaves our children stranded.