A taxpayer responds to teachers

Published 11:43 am Monday, May 9, 2011

A taxpayer’s comments on recent letters by Mr. Whitlow and Mr. Laliberte of Charles Henderson High School.

First a comment about Mr. Whitlow’s first paragraph. As a veteran myself it would never occur to me to use the fact of my military service for political purposes. But Mr. Whitlow seems to think that his service moves him to the front of the line when it’s time to talk about political issues that affect all the taxpayers of Alabama. Military service is not something to brag about when you want people to listen to your political views; it’s a privilege of citizenship.

Mr. Whitlow and Mr. Laliberte seem to have an outsized sense of entitlement to the ill-gotten gains of the AEA and other state employees over the last several decades. Most privately employed taxpayers in Alabama have watched in horror and disgust as the AEA bought and paid for the votes of the democratic legislators year after year. The result has been that teachers and other state employees now earn pay and benefits two to three times those of comparably educated and qualified employees in private industry and that education spending in Alabama now amounts to two thirds of total state spending. And, they are allowed to retire and start another career after 25 years. I know a lot of private industry employees who would like a shot at that scenario.

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Mr. Whitlow and Mr. Laliberte and their fellow teachers and administrators did not earn those increased earnings and benefits because they competed with and demonstrated they were better at what they do than someone else. The AEA did not wield its influence because it was better that some other educational organization. They and it received them because they constituted a state monopoly who garnered the blessings of the democratic members of the Legislature for decades.

As to Mr. Whitlow’s calls that “WE MUST BE HEARD” and his “demands that must be met” I would remind him that the taxpayers of Alabama were heard at the ballot box last fall.

And as to Mr. Laliberte’s observations about teachers and their families voting I would remind him that many teachers were highly embarrassed by the conduct of the AEA during the last election. I suspect a lot of those teachers are not going to be renewing their memberships now that they have a choice of paying or not paying their union dues. If Mr. Whitlow and Mr. Lalibete took a 2.5 percent pay cut for every dishonest advertisement paid for by their union during the 2010 campaign they would be paying the taxpayers pretty soon. I would like to see Mr. Whitlow and Mr. Laliberte stand in front of their students and explain how the AEA’s influence in the Legislature’s votes over the last several decades, and particularly during the 2010 campaign, were honest, ethical, moral and in the best interests of Alabama’s school children.

Many people are now wondering about why the gambling bosses are being prosecuted for bribing legislators when the AEA has been accused of doing the same thing for 30 or 40 years. If the FBI had been taping the phones of the AEAs bosses along with the gambling bosses there might be a lot more than nine people standing before the bar of justice.

David Price