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Opinion | JeffCo school board votes to repeal AAA. Will Alabama teachers finally take a stand?

Josh Moon

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The state’s largest school system is calling for an end to the state’s largest ongoing scam.

The Jefferson County Board of Education on Monday voted to pass a resolution calling for an end to the Alabama Accountability Act — the Republican-passed tax scam that funnels millions of dollars every year out of public school classrooms and into private pockets.

“First of all it was deceptively created,” Jefferson County superintendent, Dr. Craig Pouncey, said, according to a report on WRBL-TV. “It does not do what it – on the surface – says it does and it’s intended basically for a tax scheme that benefits strictly a small percentage of students in the state.”

Yep.

The Jefferson County board joined the school boards in Montgomery, Mobile, Baldwin and Tallapoosa counties and Russellville City to call for the repeal of the AAA.

Those districts serve nearly one-third of all Alabama school children.

And those districts also happen to feature some of the poorest, most underfunded schools in the nation — schools that are perpetually hammered by the scam that is the AAA.

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Because the AAA does not help schools.

It helps students from wealthier families avoid those schools.

And it allows private companies to pocket tax dollars under the guise of offering scholarships to needy students.

In the meantime, the AAA also ensures that there will ALWAYS be failing schools, by establishing that the bottom 6 percent of schools — according to criteria that is weighted to punish schools in poorer districts — will always be designated as “failing.”

No matter how hard the teachers work. No matter what insurmountable obstacles have stood in the way. No matter the social and economic challenges.

The schools in Lowndes County, where textbooks are often in short supply, are judged on the same criteria as schools in Mountain Brook, where local funding have provided students with classroom labs that would make colleges envious.

And just to make sure the schools with the poor families never get off the bottom, we also, for some odd reason, include attendance in the measurements. We do so, supposedly, because attendance is often an indicator of classroom success. But if you’re also judging classroom success, then what you’re actually doing is double-weighting a factor that adversely affects families with working parents and families that lack quality health insurance.

So the poor schools are losing points because of legit illnesses.  

Millions upon millions of dollars have been wasted on this scam — on a system that takes from the least of us and gives to the richest. It’s amazing that it took this long for Alabama’s public school employees to find their voice on this issue.

And speaking of which, what the hell is taking so long on Alabama teachers finding their voice on … everything?

You’re getting paid a crap wage. Your insurance coverage has been cut in recent years. Your schools are losing money left and right to scams like the AAA. And your elected leaders are steadily figuring out ways to funnel money away to charter schools.

Teachers in other states who get paid way more than you are marching through the streets. And their elected leaders are being forced to bow down to their collective voting power.

In some states, teachers have elected other teachers to put an end to this never-ending attack on public education.

But here we are still barely fighting back against a blatant scam that’s been running unimpeded for six years.

Maybe the stand by the state’s largest school district will start the ball rolling.

It’s long overdue.

 

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