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ALGOP chair submits rule change to ban AEA donations in school board races

The rule change comes as tensions rise between the Republican Party and the AEA.

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The Alabama Republican Party has strongly discouraged candidates from accepting campaign donations from the Alabama Education Association for years. 

But come Saturday, some candidates may formally be prohibited from accepting such funds, as tensions between Republicans and the association rise.

“The Alabama Republican Party is strongly committed to protecting our children from indoctrination in the classroom by left wing groups like the NEA and its affiliated organizations,” ALGOP Chairman John Wahl said in a statement. “Parents should decide what their children learn about divisive concepts, not education unions that have lost touch with the values of the American people.”

The party has grown exceedingly in contention with the AEA as the association has opposed school voucher proposals and even raised concerns about reducing the tax on groceries.

Wahl tied the association to the National Education Association and insinuated that the association is pushing “woke ideology.”

“Transgender ideology and other woke policies have no place in our schools, period. So many of our parents and local teachers want to see change in our education system, but how can we expect our superintendents and school board members to stand up against teaching these woke concepts if they are afraid of the money and financial power coming from liberal unions responsible for pushing this type of curriculum,” Wahl said. “It’s a blatant conflict of interest, and something that needs to be addressed. Our elected school representatives must be responsible to Alabama parents, not special interest groups. My proposal would stop this conflict of interest, and is no different than the state’s prohibition on members of the Alabama Public Service Commission accepting donations from the utilities they regulate. The bottom line is it’s time to get woke agendas out of our curriculum and out of our classrooms.”

The rule would keep AEA money from going to state and county school board races and would not affect legislative races.

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AEA Executive Director Amy Marlowe told ALDailyNews that Wahl’s comments mischaracterized the association.

“The ‘A’ in AEA stands for Alabama – and we take pride in Alabama’s values,” Marlowe said in a statement. “Our voluntary membership comprises almost 90,000 Alabamians, with 72 percent identifying as conservative Republican voters. AEA prioritizes all education employees working to teach children in Alabama’s local schools. Our focus is on education with no partisan perspective or fringe ideologies.”

Despite the strong admonishment from the party, the AEA was the leading donor to Republican candidates in the 2022 election cycle.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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