By Ann Eubank
Director Alabama Legislative Watchdogs
Last week in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee it was business as usual, until SB153, the Senate version of Representative Terri Collins’ data intrusion bill (HB97) was removed from its legislative calendar. Totally unacceptable! There just has to be a new bureaucratic agency created; an agency that will drain another $1.5 million from our already strained Educational Trust Fund budget. So something had to be done to save this abomination.
Enter: Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh with not one but two lobbyists in tow. Sen. Marsh proceeds to shake his finger in Chairman Jimmy Holley’s face and demand that his “parental right replacement bill” (SB153) be put back on the calendar. And it was. As an added show of intimidation, he and his lobbyists sat down in the front row to await the vote. A voice vote of the committee members was taken and low and behold. There was not one who voted NO!
That is how things get done on Goat Hill. So why are Representative Collins and Senator Marsh pushing to control every aspect of education in this State? Follow the Money!
This new sub-agency has no rules, no policies, and no criteria for data security. Its sole purpose is to monitor your children from kindergarten until they retire.
You see, they want to create the agency before they make the rules. Remember: “We have to pass the bill to see what is in the bill?” But this time it is Big Brother on steroids. All of the data collected from a list of State agencies is to be transmitted to one repository. The Department of Labor. The data will ultimately be collected on every single person in the state from the Department of Revenue, DHR, Department of Education, and so on.
Not only is this just a rebranding of the State Longitudinal Data Bill required for receiving Federal dollars for Common Core, but data is big money. In both bills there is a section that gives “approved” third party entities the right to use the data. Who are they? Who approves them? What do they do with the data? Where does the money end up? Too many unanswered questions.
Understand. I am not against Capitalism, but Crony Capitalists gaming the system by controlling legislation is a problem. After all, what’s more important, a job or a quality education?
The end game here is to create as many workers as possible. If the supply of workers is artificially increased, then the cost for the big business cronies to buy said labor goes down. And thus their profits go up. And the icing on the cake is that they got the government and the taxpayers to pay for it.
Here is how they do it: They use Common Core to dumb down the curriculum. Then they use the public school system as their own personal workforce development program to create a large supply of whatever labor they project they will need. Then they use this data intrusion bill to track everything so they can make adjustments as needed. Factor in the Alabama Accountability Act which will pull much-needed funds from the public school system, and push students into charter schools while they continue to rewrite the requirements to whatever they want.
Here are two questions that remain unanswered:
1) Why is a bill that largely involves tracking student data without parental consent in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and not the Education Committee? The State Longitudinal Data System is one of the Race to the Top (Common Core) requirements.
2) Why did the members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee “cave” to the intimidation machine?
Every Republican member of the Governmental Affairs Committee, except Trip Pittman, took campaign money from the Business Council of Alabama (BCA). Is it any wonder the committee voted the way it did?
Tuesday, the Budget Isolation Resolution (BIR) failed and prevented SB153 from coming to the Senate floor for a vote. We thank those Senators who voted against the BIR. However, we know Senator Marsh and the “workforce development group” will not give up. It will be back!
Alabama Legislative Watchdogs have been opposed to the State Longitudinal Data System for five (5) years, and we will continue to oppose any effort to pass this overreaching governmental intrusion.
We did not elect Republicans and give them a supermajority to increase the size and power of government. The 2018 election cannot come soon enough!