UPDATE: On May 23, 2015, the following was posted on T.R.A.G.I.C.’s Facebook page regarding Georgia’s Teachers’ Pensions, Georgia’s Legislators and ALEC:
****ALEC in Savannah****
“I analyzed (Georgia’s Legislative) SB 152 (the TRS bill) to a model ALEC pension bill. There were parts of 152 that were lifted entirely from the ALEC ‘fill-in-the-blank’ draft.”
This is one reason why we must all become more aware of the political process, start conversations with our legislators, and above all, vote. No matter your political leanings, this is wrong..
I congratulate 11 Alive news for working to expose these corporate backed-deals with our legislators.”
On August 15, 2013, I posted the following comments on the “Atlanta Forward” blog of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The title of that thread was, “Atlanta’s Economic (Im)mobility.”
What irony in the words, above, of Rep. Brockway. On the one hand, he writes of the need for a “quality education” to improve the mobility of the poor. On the other hand, he mentions that he is “proud” to be a part of a legislature that wants to make “Georgia the best place in the nation to do business.”
Rep. Brockway is a member of the American Legislative Executive Council (ALEC). He is one of 42 legislators in Georgia’s Legislature who are members of ALEC. One of ALEC’s goals is to dismantle traditional public education. For the last dozen years, Georgia’s Republican Legislature has undercut public education resources to the tune of billions of dollars, and yet they say that they want better educational quality in Georgia. This is a joke – a sad joke – that needs the public’s awareness for what they are trying to pull over on the public.
The irony is that the way to insure more successful business opportunity in Georgia is, first, to improve Georgia’s schools. That does not mean letting ALEC members in Georgia’s Legislature have full rein to transform Georgia’s public education into a quasi-private model. In this model, Georgia’s students will be used for profit by business opportunists through transforming Georgia’s traditional public schools into public charter schools which will be managed by corporations for profit. What a travesty that is being pulled over on the people of Georgia. As a retired public school teacher, I see exactly what ALEC and Georgia’s Republican legislators are trying to do. And, what they are trying to do will hurt education in Georgia, and, therefore, will ultimately hurt business prospects in Georgia because of the continued underfunding of Georgia’s traditional public educational system which serves ALL of Georgia’s students. Forget upward mobility of the poor if ALEC succeeds in its stealthy goals.
NOTE: Practically all of the ALEC members in Georgia’s legislature are Republicans. Rep. Nan Orrock (D – Atlanta) had been a member of ALEC. In a statement to the citizens’ action group Better Georgia on April 17, 2012, Orrock denounced ALEC, calling it “radical,” “dangerous” and accused it of “impeding democracy.” “As a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council for several years, having joined ALEC with the primary goal of better understanding the corporate-dominated organization, I know first-hand that ALEC is not the innocuous organization it claims to be,” Orrock said.
Be aware of what is really going on in Georgia’s legislature, citizens. Vote these Republicans out of office, especially members of ALEC. Then, maybe you will see a legislature which is truly dedicated to improving public education – first, by funding it adequately, and, secondly, by not trying to dismantle it. When traditional education is improved by restoring its funding and resources, you will see businesses come to Georgia because Georgia will have, first, placed a genuine priority on improving public education. The power is in your hands through your vote. I have only tried to make you aware.
Another poster responded to my post, above, on the “Atlanta Forward” blog of the AJC. Below are his remarks and my response to his comments regarding this issue:
Other poster: “So, Mr. Brockway is a republican representing Gwinnett County whose school system routinely out performs other metro school systems like Atlanta, DeKalb and Clayton all of which are run by Democrats. So, the answer here is to vote out all the Republicans and elect more Democrats?”
My response to his comments: “Your biases, as well as your lack of understanding regarding educational matters, are showing through your comments, above, imho.
Here are the facts. According to the websites of each of the four school systems you named, Gwinnett County School System has 132 schools and 4 charter schools; DeKalb County School System has approximately 135 schools and 4 charter schools; Clayton County School System has approximately 54 schools and 2 charter schools; Atlanta Public School System has approximately 80 schools and 13 charter schools.
None of the websites of the four schools districts mentions Democrats or Republicans, nor should they. Lawmakers in Georgia’s Legislature do not run schools systems. Educators do that.
ALEC’s membership among Georgia’s legislators is the 3rd highest number (42 ALEC legislators) in the nation. Practically all of the ALEC members in Georgia’s Legislature are Republicans. Just as the Ultra-Rightwing of the Republican Party, nationally, is dominating the national Republican Party’s political agenda, so ALEC members in Georgia’s Republican-dominated Legislature are dominating policies and laws effecting education throughout the state of Georgia. Of the 136 schools in Gwinnett, 139 in DeKalb, 56 in Clayton, and 93 in the APS, when the state’s lawmakers cut educational funding to traditional school systems throughout Georgia, all four of those school systems you mentioned are adversely affected financially, regardless of whether the state legislators in those particular districts are Democrats or Republicans.
I repeat. In order to stop the bleeding of funding from public school systems throughout Georgia, and in order to insure that resources are provided to improve traditional school systems throughout Georgia, voters must elect Democrats instead of Republicans to Georgia’s General Assembly. Democrats are not under the influence of ALEC’s national educational agenda, and if Democrats are able to lead again in Georgia’s General Assembly, the state will return to improving our vast numbers of public schools in the state of Georgia.
Vote Democratic, not Republican, for your state representatives to Georgia’s Legislature in order to improve the vast numbers of Georgia’s traditional public schools. Democrats are not under the influence of ALEC.”
Posted on an AJC blog, May 23, 2015: