Several days ago we blogged about a letter endorsing Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education that was signed by Lt. Governor Kay Ivey, Secretary of State John Merrill and Senate President Pro Tem.
I emailed all three and voiced my concern. Got no response from Ivey or Marsh. However, I did receive a phone call from John Merrill and posted this piece in which I credited him for calling. He also called a number of others who sent him emails. Like me, they appreciated his effort, but still wondered how you can claim long and loud to support Alabama public schools while you are also endorsing the most anti-public education nominee ever to head the U.S. Department of Education.
It’s like someone claiming their love for the University of Alabama and then being seen in public in an Auburn golf shirt. It leaves you scratching your head wondering what to believe.
To top if off, the Secretary of State responded to the email of a retired teacher with a call. She told me that while she was thankful he went to such effort, he lost her when he said that decisions made in Washington have little impact in Alabama. She reminded him of No Child Left Behind, the federal law passed under the second President Bush that eventually caused havoc for schools across the county–and certainly in Alabama.
And then there was Senator Del Marsh proclaiming last weekend that he wanted to hear from teachers in his district that includes Clay, Talladega and Calhoun counties. Considering that Marsh has a track record of ignoring education voices while working on legislation about education (Can you say Alabama Accountability Act) this was welcome news.
Hey, maybe a leaf is being turned? Is there about to be light at the end of the tunnel? Has the good senator finally realized the professional educators REALLY do understand what happens in schools?
But then on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 1, Senator Marsh tweeted his support for Betsy DeVos. Which obviously means he did not talk to any educators before doing so.
And once again we are left looking at one step forward and two steps back.
Two days ago we mentioned a GoFundMe campaign started by someone in Pennsylvania to raise about $60,000 to give to U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, a Republican pledged to DeVos. The idea was if they could give him more money than DeVos gave to his last campaign, perhaps they could switch his vote. In other words, they want to out bid DeVos.
Their effort has been quite successful. When I last checked 3,993 contributors had given $66,591–an average of $16.67 each. A true grassroots effort.
Will they switch Toomey? I say there is no way in Hell since this battle is not about doing what is best for children, it is only about in-your-face politics.
But it certainly indicates that concerned citizens across the country are becoming energized.