A rebuttal to Cam Ward column

Published 4:36 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dear Editor,

I am an Alabama educator, and I am writing in response to Cam Ward’s column, “The real story behind educational changes.” The real story from Cam Ward is that this article is a campaign letter to the general public for re-election. What Cam Ward is promoting is himself with a banner saying, “Hey look, parents, I have your child’s best interest at heart.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

This “students first” bill is a designed plan with a wonderful name that puts rich families who have children already enrolled in a private school first. Politicians’ children and their rich friends’ children are already enrolled on private education campuses. So, it is basically another tax credit for wealthy individuals.

Cam Ward wrote, “It gives families with students in a failing school the opportunity to receive an income tax credit to offset the cost of transferring the student to a non-failing public school or private school.”

Instead of spending the necessary funds to fix failing public schools, they propose to take money from these schools, which will further impoverish these schools.

Another point to remember as taxpayers is that there are a very limited number of private schools and often entrance exams to be passed as a prerequisite to enrollment. Also, non-failing schools can only take a certain number of students without being stressed.

This is not something that politicians, like Mr. Ward, will be concerned with because they care nothing about the true effect other than their tax break.

Also, Mr. Ward says: “And it provides tax credits to individuals or businesses who donate to a nonprofit scholarship program so low-income families can send their children to a non-failing school.” Who do you think owns these businesses? Just another tax break for wealthy individuals!

Mr. Ward also wrote, “During my time in the Alabama Legislature, I have been staunchly pro-public education and pro-teacher, voting to send money to classrooms and for every teacher pay raise.”

Mr. Ward voted to increase your child’s classroom size, which can greatly interfere with learning. With friends like this for education, who needs enemies?

So what it comes down to is this — who are you going to believe, parents and tax-payers? A teacher that earns very little pay and puts “students first” every day, or greedy politicians that hardly show up for work most of the time? Well, unless it is a piece of legislation that actively benefits them. Then, they are very much on time, happy, and motivated to look after their own interest at the expense of middle class and poor families that have no voice.

Laura Rucker