Somewhere along the way Todd Stacy also popped up. Like Blades, he once worked for both Riley and Hubbard and until the end of 2017 worked for Martha Roby in Washington.
He came back to Montgomery to begin the Alabama Daily News blog several months ago where he defends BCA zealously every chance he gets.
In a conversation with Pat Wilson, Fuller told her they had a “bombshell” coming and Todd Stacy would deliver it.
Sure enough, in mid-May Stacy ran an article Blades dug up from the Montgomery Advertiser from 1982 attempting to paint me as a racist. Blades used a service called Newspapers.com.
The story was wrong in 1982 and still is.
The other person in this race, Ted Lowry, had been noticeably quiet until May 21 when he blanketed the district with a negative phone call to voters. Here is the message a female voice delivered:
“But just months before he qualified to run as a Republican Larry Lee voted in the Democrat primary in the Senate Special Election. When real Republicans like us voted for our nominee, Larry Lee voted in the Democrat primary to choose his nominee. Larry Lee has run and lost four times as a Democrat, campaign manager for a Democrat congressional candidate, was a paid contractor for the same special interest group who are fighting reforms in the Montgomery schools. Don’t be fooled by Larry Lee.
His record tells us who he really is—a Democrat who will fight against the reforms Montgomery schools desperately need. We can do better. Vote against Larry Lee in the June 5th primary.
Paid for by Lowry for school board, 1532 Old Park Row, Montgomery, AL 36117”
Not a single solitary word about what Ted Lowry wanted to do to help MPS schools. Just 100 percent negative.
It is noteworthy that Lowry got a check from Billy Canary, CEO of BCA for his campaign.
Another entity to surface along the way was something called Expect More for Montgomery Public Schools, supposedly an effort by “young professionals” to beat all three incumbents running for re-election to the MPS board.
They formed MGM NXT PAC and filed their first financial report with the Secretary of State’s office on April 30.
Through June 1, they had raised $72,105 from 108 individuals and eight businesses and spent $77,269. I recognize many of the donors, used to bank with one, was in Montgomery Jaycees with some. Nice to know they were donating money to fill my mailbox with trash.
Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange gave $1,000, his right-hand man gave $2,500. People who work with the chamber and one with a group that claims to work on behalf of public education also wrote checks.
One of their mailers echoed the Lowry phone call by saying VOTE AGAINST LARRY LEE. Another said LARRY LEE IS A LACKEY FOR THE AEA.
Their over-riding message was to denigrate this school system. To paint everyone with the same broad brush. Which means that the mailbox of Zestlan Simmons, a teacher at Booker T. Washington magnet and the just-named Alabama Teacher of the Year who also lives in District Two, was being told constantly that she is a failure.
And this is someone’s version of helping our schools?
What a joke.
Something I missed in all of this was what happened to the PAC’s stated intention of defeating incumbents? I was not an incumbent, but I was targeted.
The only incumbent they went after was Melissa Snowden, a veteran of more than a decade on the board.
Besides being a former member of the MPS board, Charlotte Meadows was a lobbyist for StudentsFirst from 2013-15 and today is trying to open a charter school in Montgomery.
Just before election day she also sent out a letter. She spent three lines to endorse Ted Lowry and 18 lines to run me down. She even said, “Lee is NOT PRO-LIFE.”
Where in the heck did that come from and what does it have to do with a local school board election?
So, there you have it. The underbelly of education politics. The length that some will go to under the guise of “doing it all for the kids.”
My plan worked. The light was turned on and all the rats scurried for the dark.
But the question remains, WHY?
To open the door for charter schools seems to be the common denominator. BCA loves charters. Mayor Todd Strange likes them, as does StudentsFirst and the American Federation for Children. Ditto for Charlotte Meadows. The Montgomery Education Foundation wants to take over five MPS public schools to convert to charters.
And Ted Lowry likes charters. I heard him twice tout charter schools in Arizona run by a company called BASIS as examples we should consider
However, he never bothered to tell the full story about BASIS. For example, the dropout rate in these schools is more than 50 percent. They are woefully inadequate in reflecting Arizona public school populations.
While the statewide public school population is three percent Asia, 45 percent Latino and 39 percent white, student bodies in 18 BASIS schools are 32 percent Asian, ten percent Latino and 51 percent white.
In fact, there are NO English Language Learners in the BASIS schools.
Neither did he mention that parents of students at these schools are “requested” to contribute $1,500 a year per child and that BASIS schools spend an average of $2,291 per pupil on administration while public schools spend $638.
(My position on charter schools has always been that they should be carefully considered on a case by case basis. I am very supportive of an effort at the University of West Alabama to open a charter. But I do not support the charter conversion plan of the Montgomery Education Foundation.)
So here we are. With names and faces of those making false promises. People who prefer to operate in the shadows instead of doing positive things for our schools and our children.
Editor’s note: Make no mistake. I was trying hard to win. I spent a lot of soul, sweat and money to do so. I have total contempt for those who seem to delight in abusing educators and those who are utterly clueless about what goes on in our schools today.
I wanted to see just how low they would stoop to vilify a 75-year-old guy who has the nerve to speak truth to power. I got my answer. The agenda they are working so hard to achieve has nothing to do with our children. And writing a check to a PAC to throw stones at educators is not paying your debt to society.
But these forces will continue to prevail until the education community draws the line in the sand and defends itself. From my vantage point, I do not see a willingness to do so at this point in time.