Who Wants To Educate T-Town’s Kids?

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In the 2013 municipal election an “Educate Tuscaloosa” PAC attempted to take over the Tuscaloosa School Board. A record breaking amount of money was poured into the race through the PAC that used a “Save Tuscaloosa Schools” website.

Supporters of “Save Tuscaloosa Schools” always claimed that they were not advocates for “charter schools.” Some speculation on what the attempt to unseat every incumbent was all about involved a land deal.

In any event the voters may have resented the huge amount of money that was spent defeating incumbents. All were re-elected, except for Board Member Kelly Horwitz who lost due to the machination of The Machine at the University of Alabama.

Recently The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) made a presentation at a Tuscaloosa City Council meeting. The BAEO is a front group for the Corporate Education Reform Industry. The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) is an organization dedicated to the eradication of public schools. It received much of its funding from the Walton Family.

According to Media Transparency, BAEO is “actually a project of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning headed by Howard Fuller, at Marquette University.”

The Corporate Education Reform Industry has ties to primarily Republican politicians and their supporters. Both the Walton Family and the Koch Brothers are supporters of Jeb Bush.

The Washington Post’s reported on December 31, 2014: “Bush’s reputation as an school reformer stems from his work on K-12 education as governor and as the head of his Foundation for Excellence in Education. He has been an advocate for online learning as a tool to expand opportunities for students.

“While Bush’s association with the company began several years after he left office, Best contacted him about a possible business partnership before his departure from Tallahassee. The Texas businessman had connections to the Bush family, having raised money for the successful presidential campaigns of Bush’s older brother, George W. Bush.

“After the two men met, Best sent Bush an e-mail in April 2005 touting a ‘huge global business opportunity’ that could come from a “post-secondary initiative” he said they had previously discussed. He said he hoped Bush found the idea ‘intriguing.’

“’If you are interested, let’s continue our discussions as you begin to think about returning to the private sector after you leave office,’ Best wrote in the e-mail, which was obtained by The Post as part of a public-records request.”

The supporters of the Educate Tuscaloosa PAC were mostly Republicans. Some had contributed generously to GOP candidates. They would be very comfortable in the “reform” crowd. The PACs that are run by Mike Echols give to conservative “business” candidates. Some of the money that has come from out-of-state to his PACs is untraceable. It could easily have come from some of the supporters of The Corporate Education Reform Industry.

The people behind The Black Alliance for Educational Options may have nothing to do with those who tried to take over the local school board, but they are likely in the same boat. It may well be that the Educate Tuscaloosa PAC supporters have no connections to charter schools.

But just because the attack on the incumbents in the local school system largely failed, that does not mean that there are no forces working to change the way public schools are run outside of the election process.

The presentation by representatives of The Black Alliance for Educational Options ( the graphic used above was from their website ) to the Tuscaloosa City Council was accompanied by emails to Council members. Hopefully the Council will not be taken in by this “astro-turf” group. Its representatives were paid well to spread its gospel in T-Town.

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