State leaders need to work for us and not against us


I believe that education is the great equalizer. If you give children a quality education, then with hard work they can make their dreams come true. That is why it is so disheartening to see millions of dollars taken from their education every year so that a handful of (mostly wealthy) donors can get yet another tax break.

It seems the politicians in Montgomery have forgotten the simple truth that education leads to prosperity. Instead, they operate by a different truth – whatever big businesses and special interest groups want, they get. And all too often, that means cutting our schools and hard working families short.

Millions of dollars our school systems desperately need will be taken from them every single year from now on, all so a small group of rich political donors can receive yet another tax break. This mind-boggling law was sold as a good thing for working families, when the reality is it’s all about protecting the super rich and well connected.

How is that fair?

Now, my parents taught me the same thing yours did – life sometimes isn’t fair. And I know that it isn’t. I’m teaching my kids the exact same thing; sometimes you don’t always get what you want. But in this instance, Alabama should be fair.

Working families need to be given a fair chance at a quality education. Instead, it seems, the super rich are getting more, while the middle class gets less. A quality education isn’t some new video game, or asking to stay out an hour past curfew. A quality education is our children’s right.

We need to start making education policies based on what is best for our children and working families, not the super rich who are just looking for yet another tax break.

Even if the benefactors of these tax breaks were to give out 1,000 scholarships this year, hundreds of thousands of children would still be left behind. These students would be trapped in failing schools, or schools that have had their budget cut significantly, all for the tax breaks of a select few.

Legislative leaders told Alabamians that this program gives children a choice of where to go to school. Unfortunately, most children find themselves with fewer choices now than they did before. This law directly hurts working families ability to give their children a quality education.

What the supporters of this law seem to forget is that working families are hurting. With the unemployment rate near a record high, the leadership in Montgomery needs to be focusing on protecting our schools, and the interests of the middle class. By protecting our schools, we are equipping the next generation of Alabamians to become prosperous.

But instead of protecting our schools, this past week Gov. Bentley actually proposed taking more money out of our schools to pay for – you guessed it – more tax breaks for a select few, specifically out-of-state corporations.

Instead of trying to raid the education budget even more, the governor and the legislative leaders need to look at alternative solutions instead of balancing the state budgets on the backs of working families and at the expense of our children’s education. We need to focus on small, Alabama-based businesses and growing our economy in a way that works for everyone, not just an elite few.

We need leadership in Montgomery that is interested in helping the working families of our state, not hurting them, which is exactly what this crazy law does.

We need to elect people who care about our schools and understand the value of a quality education for all of Alabama’s children. Improving our schools, rather than abandoning them, is the key to prosperity for us all!

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