Monday, March 30, 2009
Why would black Memphis lawmakers oppose a better education for black children? Follow the money to teachers unions and corruption
The most sure way for a lawmaker to be re-elected is to be able to do favors for his or her friends and supporters. And of course, those favors are financed by you the taxpayer.
In Memphis, the most accessible funds are those tied to public education. Yet schools there are failing children most in need such as those in Nashville. And the children are poor and black and come from violent environments.
Besides state money, a lot of federal money comes with these impoverished children. But it doesn't go directly to help them. It goes to the education bureaucracy, to ensure the jobs of members of the state teachers union, the Tennessee Education Association, or as it should be called the Tennessee Entrenchment Association.
And lawmakers in Memphis use all that money to curry favor from the TEA to get campaign contributions and votes. And the best way to get those contributions and votes is to protect the jobs of TEA members in failing schools -- of which Memphis has the most in Tennessee -- and to hand out school patronage jobs to constituents and union members.
So lawmakers and the Tennessee Entrenchment Association do not want anybody getting in the way of their neat money deal. And they sure don't want competition for this money, even when it means poor black children getting a better education to get out of the violent environments of Memphis.
If they break out, then the TEA and the lawmakers won't have control over as much money to ensure jobs and votes.
That's why these lawmakers and the TEA oppose legislation this session to allow more children to go to charter public schools.
Data already shows that these schools do a better job with these children. Data also shows that these schools spend more of the taxpayer money on the classroom and not the bureaucracy. There are no assistant principals and other overpaid support staff at charter public schools. The money is sent for the classroom and the teachers. And that's why children in these public schools score higher when than those in the traditional ones.
The TEA and their puppet lawmakers do not want taxpayers to see the truth that you're already paying more than enough money for the education of poor, black children. They want to keep using Tennessee's low per pupil funding ranking nationally as an excuse for their failure and to grab more from your pocketbooks.
Charter public schools cannot accept failure or they are put out of business by state law. Accountability is key. And it should be that way for traditional public schools.
This session's charter public school legislation begins in the Senate, where Republicans will approve it. The House subcommittee on education is where the trouble will come, not only for the children in need but you the taxpayer.
In the coming days, look for the names, phone numbers and addresses for the obstructionist lawmakers in the House to contact. If children and their parents of this state are to win with more school choice, then the Tennessee Entrenchment Association and these lawmakers must lose on charter public schools this session.