As promised, I offered an amendment in committee this morning addressing several concerns identified to me by a wide range of people, to include educators across the state. The amendment specifically protects tenure for current and future employees as well as the pay scale for future and current employees.
Note my name is at the top of the page with today's date, this amendment was supported in a 9 – 0 vote by all committee members. This amendment accomplished several things most notably addressed a perceived pay discrepancy in the original bill language between current and future employees after a flexibility plan is approved, and - today’s hot topic, ensured tenure was protected for current and future employees - to include naming the Student’s First Act that reformed tenure in 2011, in the bill (page 1, line 25 and page 2, line 3 of my amendment linked above).
I will post a link to the version of the bill incorporating the amendments when one becomes available in the next day or two.
Now the controversy part...a second “surprise” amendment was offered – sponsored by the AEA. This amendment had not been previously coordinated with me as the bill sponsor. As we were not sure of the impact the amendment might have on the bill, I moved to table that amendment.
For those that doubt the facts presented here; the screenshot at right (click to enlarge) shows that even as I’m writing this blog tonight, my amendment was the only one ready when the committee met this morning. I’m still left wondering why they didn’t coordinate the AEA amendment with me in advance.
This is my third legislative session and I well know it is customary to coordinate “friendly amendments” with bill sponsors prior to offering them in committee. Remember, SB54 was introduced several weeks ago. We held a public hearing regarding the legislation the first week of session (reported in the blog) and scheduled today’s committee vote yesterday, well in advance of today’s meeting. There was ample time to coordinate and negotiate amendments.
Apparently the AEA has sent out an email stating that I’ve gone against my word to amend SB54, protecting tenure. I tend to avoid addressing the AEA email counterattacks, choosing instead to simply present the facts at hand and allow readers to compare fact to fiction. And that is what I’ve done this evening.
As a closing note I fully realize that readers of my blog represent a wide range of interest – some in support of the AEA and others opposing the AEA....and some with no real position one way or the other; hence my desire to simply stick with the facts.
I want to thank those that have contacted me regarding the most recent AEA “spin” email and allowing me to provide you with the facts. My focus will continue to be providing Alabama’s public school systems with the freedom to address their respective issues at the local level, enabling local systems to think outside of the box, seek innovate and flexible ways to improve education, improve student outcomes, and maximize use of available resources. The parents and teachers closest to the students know what is best for the students.
Semper Fi – Bill