I am receiving numerous responses to the e-mail I sent out on Sunday the 9th of March concerning the problem with the AEA. You will find the responses I have received so far below. I have omitted all names. Some recipients received my e-mail through forwarding, and in that process my e-mail address was lost. But here it is again: firstname.lastname@example.org. It is agreeable with me if you wish to forward this message to anyone interested.
I have received a thoughtful response from the Party leadership, and have asked for permission to publish it, since obviously it is an important part of this discussion. As soon as I get permission I will forward it to you.
As the responses below show, our Party's relationship with the AEA is viewed as a serious matter by the rank and file, and deserves the close attention of us all. I hope that you will help stimulate the discussion.
Madison County, Place 1
State Executive committee
I concur with your thoughts here completely. It galls me every time I see that they have "bought" a table or such. They have the majority of the Democrats in their pockets and so are now going after the RINO's in the Republican party. In Shelby County they spent $100,000 to try to keep a strong Christian conservative, Hank Erwin, from being elected. They were not so much for the opponent, but against him, because when their first candidate lost in the primary, they immediately starting pumping funds into the campaign of Hank's runoff election.
Hugh, Do you mind if I forward this to our e-mail list. You have raised some valid issues.
I am with you Hugh
Well thank God for Mr. McInnish! This very thing has bothered me for a long time! Let's band together and stop this nonsense! God bless Alabama and America!
Thanks, one reason I am no longer attending any Republican events is because of the large body of "moderates" I seem to see constantly in those gatherings. Many, it seems, are far more interested in being members of a "country club" than discussing the merits of reducing the size and power of government and, more importantly, how to get it done.
When Aderholt came to speak at a republican breakfast meeting concentrated on how he was going to protect social security, I knew I didn't belong.
I think that empty table is a perfect symbol for the AEA, lots of money invested in it and all it can do (with the candle) is give off hot air. I am glad to know that none of our Republicans sat there. It's also interesting that no AEA folks were there, at least not visibly.
I applaud your initiative and courage. There aren't many brave souls who will publicly criticize the powerful Alabama Education Association. You and Betty Peters may be the only two in the state. There are those who say take their money and then vote your convictions. Unfortunately, money has a way of changing one's convictions. The Republican Party and Republican candidates should quit deceiving themselves and should refuse to accept any more AEA money.
Please don't be discouraged by what Republican officials may say to you. As shown by Betty Peters' victory, the public is on your side on this issue.
I would estimate that we have little chance of turning the AEA into something positive. So I would suggest three ideas:
1. Refuse all money by the AEA.
2. Start, and bankroll if necessary, an alternate teachers union based on conservative values. [McInnish Note: There already is one. See: http://www.goacoe.org/ More on this later.]
3. Hammer school choice programs as vigorously as possible, by vouchers or other means. Play up the choice aspect and the need to give poorer families more of a voice in how their children are educated.
Thank you for your initiative on this issue.
I agree with Mr. McInnish. One problem we have here in Jefferson County is that we are not doing enough for the average people that we so need for the Republican Party. I have been a Republican since 1960. It hurts me now that the Republican Party is only known as the over the mountain party here in Jefferson County. We need to get to truck drivers, steel/iron workers, coal miners, etc., we must change our image.
Thank you for raising this issue.
A party (or a candidate) cannot present a message with integrity, if it allows that message to be financed by those that are in direct opposition to that message. While I'm sure the AEA membership is full of republican voters (most too naive or uninformed to realize the contradiction between their stated beliefs and the association with AEA) the AEA leadership is clearly not supportive of the Republican party. Quite the contrary, the are opposed to most of the issues we consider important. By contributing money to the Republican Party, the AEA certainly expects to influence the direction of the party. If we accept that money, especially large sums, we run the risk of becoming addicted to the money and subject to the influence. I would like to see us break any association with the AEA.
You can always count on my support. Principles should still have a place in politics.
Wow! Sounds unhealthy to me and makes me wonder about my own state. Think I'll do a little checking.
Paul Hubbert and Ed Richardson have conspired to retard education in Alabama by protecting incompetent teachers. They are the worst purveyors of ignorance in the history of this state.
As the old saying goes "me thinketh something stinketh! and we should do
something about it. Count me in!
I 100% agree with Mr. McInnish! ----With the Governor, most of his Cabinet, and the Judiciary in the Republican camp, isn't this as good a time as any to really talk to the "blue-dog" 5,6,or Democrat Senators with the goal of isolating the AEA from dictating so much of the agenda that affects the dollars allocated each year to the Education programs, i.e. the lack of ability to retire those teachers who are not really qualified; so much earmarking; too many Administrators & too few Teachers; Consolidation of Trustees, Boards; etc., etc., etc.?
How can Mr. McInnish be contacted? He indicated in this message he wanted to hear from us but left no info as to how to be contacted. [McInnish Note: I'm at email@example.com .] Thanks.
Thanks, Hugh, for the heads-up. We need to stay aware of what can happen when money becomes more important than principle. And the AEA is after money for public education, and Republicans don't need to become dependent upon AEA money.
My wife is a member of AEA. I think Mr. McInnish doesn't really know very much about this organization nor Dr. Hubbert. (Dr. Hubbert is a Christian--Church of Christ member). I don't think membership in AEA would be increasing every year, if he and his staff were not attending to the members concerns and needs. Isn't that why persons belong to any organization? My wife doesn't agree with each and every thing the Association does; however, she still chooses to be a member.
I would just like to say that I am in complete agreement with Mr. Hugh McInnish's opinion concerning the AEA.
A friend of mine, Mrs. Betty Peters of the State Board of Education, forwarded the e-mail to me and I have always wondered why we Republicans are always getting into bed with the very Liberals that we are always fighting.
But, as they say, Politics make strange bedfellows.
Thank God that Mrs. Peters and a few other Republican Office Holders and Republican Party Members have not compromised our principals or convictions.
Thanking you for your time, I am
Are you crazy? Keep the money, listen when they speak, say "no" and leave. Don't give the money back! We need it and if we don't take it they will simply give it to the Democrats. Are "non-issues" such as this all you folks have to worry about in Madison County? Maybe that's why you can't roll a Democratic Congressman and a houseful of Democratic legislators and state senators. Worry about issues that win elections.
u know I'm concerned.
I agree with you, what more can I say. I however do not have a problem in taking their money and hope that those who did in the party have no feeling of remorse and feel that we should listen to what they have to say. My Mama taught me that ..."if you want to be heard then you must shut up long enough to hear others so that they will feel inclined to listen to what you have to say!" They have been so verbal and verbose that they will not shut up long enough so that they can listen to what we have to say. The words "debate" and "dialogue" are not in their vocabulary, much less the word "wisdom!" Let us take their money, say thanks, and then use our wisdom to utilize the money for cohesive, intelligent, and insightful applications that will perpetuate the Republican ideals we know our children need and not the mindless liberal pabulum that the AEA abuse our children with! Thank you for the note and your insight. Feel free to use my comments or you may pass this note along to others as you see fit. It is good to hear from you, take care.
I have forwarded you a copy of a message I received from the Jefferson County GOP, an opinion by one of our state committee members, a Hugh McInnish, and as a concerned citizen who is a Republican voter and also a public school teacher, I feel the leadership of this party should be aware of the damage such messages could have.
As you will read from his opinion, if you have not received and read this already, is that the AEA gives money to the GOP, expects favors without really being interested in what the party has to say, and then gets it feathers ruffled if the GOP questions its past actions. I completely agree with this claim, for I feel that most special interest groups and lobbying organizations do this, whether it be the NRA, Greenpeace, Christian Coalition, or especially the AEA. These organizations throw money at a candidate or party and expect compliance, and that's a blow to the democratic process. So in this regard, I agree with Mr. McInnish.
But in the second paragraph, he thoroughly offends me. He refers to AEA members as the "liberal hard core" of the state Demo party, and then claims that AEA members "advocate abortion, promiscuity, homosexuality, invasive government, higher taxes, and especially union-dominate education." [McInnish Note: I said nothing about individual AEA members. It's the AEA per se, that is the leadership, that are the culprits. Many teachers in the AEA are probably as upset as I am with the leadership.] As a teacher and AEA member, as well as a Republican and one who did hours and hours of volunteer work the past two years helping with the state GOP voter registration committee as well as with individual GOP candidates, I am offended to the highest level when he labels the teachers in this state the way he does. I do not advocate the things he lists, nor do the vast majority of my colleagues, especially those at the school where I teach, a successful over-the-mountain high school. How dare he accuse me, and by making those claims that's exactly what he does, and judge the majority of the educators in this state, and who is he to claim to know the thoughts and beliefs of individual teachers? I will admit that the AEA has historically supported the Democratic party, which is why I do not give money to A-vote, the political action arm of the organization. But Mr. McInnish makes a grave mistake when he questions the morality of the hard-working educators in Alabama, people who do a lot with little, who personify dedication and compassion, people who are open minded as well as open-hearted, and people who have given their professional lives to a vocation that is rarely understood but often criticized by those like McInnish - citizens ignorant of the workings of a school. He wonders later in the email at why the state GOP and AEA can't seem to find common ground and forge a working relationship. It's not such a surprise when I read such misinformed accusatory drivel from GOP leadership.
My reason for sending this to you is that I feel you should know what a prominent member of the party is saying as a representative of the organization. He gives the disclaimer that he did not consult with you before sending this, so I am not blaming you for allowing this to be sent out en masse, but if he represents the state's GOP on the highest state level, perhaps those in charge of the party should be alerted and do something to keep such libel from being communicated, and by making such statements about me (and, yes, I am taking this personally) and colleagues of mine across the state that are untrue yet possibly damaging, he borders precariously on the line separating freedom of speech from a rights violation.
He asked for responses but not surprisingly failed to leave contact information in his email. I have the answer to his question on how the two organizations can find common ground. First, both organizations need to take off the blinders and quit name-calling. Second, the state legislators from the GOP need to present answers to education problems in this state. Education is fixed in the legislative chambers, not the governor's office, and no Republican or Democrat seems willing to exert the effort or show the courage to offer solutions; they merely proclaim what they don't want to occur and blow a lot of hot air. If this party could show some foresight, some vision, and some courage for the future of education and present some real solutions (other than "trim the fat" - whatever), how can the AEA not find a renewed respect for the GOP?
I do not support everything the AEA stands for, but they are the only organization that seems willing to stand up for educators with consistency. And now, I do not support everything that the GOP stands for if Mr. McInnish's remarks are the kind of diatribe that the party supports, even though I will continue to support decent GOP candidates. I just hope that the bigotry and ignorance Mr. McInnish has presented is not the message the party chooses to send out to the educators in this state. Perhaps the Christian reference McInnish makes in his message should be replaced with another: "Judge not, lest ye be judged."
The AEA has historically taken positions directly opposed to basic conservative Republican positions just as Hugh McInnish says. Every Republican should question how that group had a table at a State Party function.
Though I was unable to see the disdain the AEA showed at our conference in Birmingham, it was easy to note during the recent gubernatorial race. As a student in this state myself it sickens me to see that so many teachers in Alabama are a part of this backward thinking organization. It seems to me that if many of our teachers knew the strong political stance and influence that their organization held they would find it troubling. The fact is teachers need a voice, sadly, that voice, in Alabama, is the AEA. You stated that you were appalled at Mr. Hubbert's shocking arrogance; it is easy to see that he feels that he is in control of a large constituency, which obviously fuels his arrogance. I feel our teachers need to be informed of the liberal agenda the AEA is using their numbers to push. Also our parents need to know that their children are being influenced daily by teachers who are members of a liberal union.
I am a political science major attending Alabama Southern Community College in Monroeville, AL and plan on beginning school at the University of Mobile in the fall. Previously I attended Auburn University and was greatly disheartened to find that many of my teachers were hard core liberal, this led to my disinterest in classes and my leaving "The Loveliest Village" to search out an institution of conservative instruction. Unfortunately the parents and children in Alabama's public school system do not have the same choices as I have. It is my hope to see great reform come to our nation's school system. I feel vouchers for parents would be a great step in that direction as witnessed by inner city schools in New York who implemented a voucher program.
Mr. McInnish I hope we find a solution to our problem. The tactics of race baiting and demagoguery employed by the left make overcoming liberalism no easy task. We must have resolve. In the meantime I will pray for you and OUR cause! KEEP ON TRUCKIN!
Very well written and should get some discussion going.
Thank you for sharing this information to those like me who were not aware of the AEA and Paul Hubbert influence on our candidates. You have given me much to consider and please continue to share your thoughts with us.
P.S. The more I think about it, the better I like your AEA story. It was excellent to start with, but its genius didn't hit me the first reading.
Amen and Amen.
I will forward to the party chair. We should be promoting a new teacher's group, I believe they started one in St Clair. It is time we took AEA on over their scurrilous attacks against Riley. After what they wrote last fall, I don't want one dime from AEA until Paul Hubbert is replaced, he who uses racism as a battle cry. Better yet, as I said, let's just replace the AEA.
I believe the AEA is the source of our problems in Alabama. Dr. Hubbert is more powerful than the governor. He prevents key government officials from doing what is right. Politicians are dependent on AEA money, therefore, they do what is best for the teachers. I believe the reason we are currently in proration is we continued to raise teacher's salaries and benefits a few years ago.
The best option is to destroy the AEA from within. Nothing drastic or illegal of course, but simple things that no one has thought of up to this point.
Since I am from Marshall County, I want to talk a little bit about why I get messages from Madison County Republicans. During the election of 2000, I worked in the Madison County Republican headquarters. I was 15 years old at the time. I went to a few Madison County Young Republicans meetings and got on their email list. I enjoy glancing at emails from other parties to see how active you are. In Marshall County, we look up to your party and admire your drive and determination.
I want to thank you for taking the time to express your opinion. I would like to discuss this issue with you. I know that I am only 17 years old and have little power, but that has never stopped me from expressing my opinion.
Thank you for your time.
I am in receipt of the below Alabama Republicans message and I too am concerned about the Alabama Party's unhealthy relationship with the AEA. I join you and our fellow good Alabama and Madison County Republicans in further discussing this issue important issue for the State and Local Republican Party.
I share your sentiments. The AEA needs to be involved with educating our children, not lobbying for higher raises for teachers, more taxes and a political agenda centered far left of what most Alabamians desire.
My sister is a teacher, but she does have the option to be politically involved on her own time. But she doesn't need to be encouraged to work toward an agenda which will be taught in the classroom. Our textbooks contain ideas stamped into the memories of our children. How are they ever to learn about Alabama history without learning about the Confederacy or how life really was before Martin Luther King?
Some of the historical facts may not be like the teachers want them, but some things really happened. They may have been wrong by today's standards, but the truth is. Reality, facts and truths should not be re-conceived to present the liberal point of view. And after looking at my children's textbooks, they have been. The AEA could stand for something positive, but just go and try to have a teacher disciplined for not doing her job. The AEA and its staff of lawyers protect them and their position is defended with aggression, authority and a sentiment of disbelief when a teacher is caught red-handed not teaching, in a air of abuse, etc. The principal, the superintendent, the AEA all walk in accord. I support your opinion.
But do away with high school football ? This is the core of what a school stands for, their pride, their togetherness as an institution. Good teachers can teach 50 as easy as they can 20, if the students are disciplined. The right for strong teachers to discipline students has been taken away from them. Parents should have their students prepared to learn from a discipline standpoint and the teachers should be free to instruct without hindrance. The AEA has turned its entire body into a baby-sitting organization for two-wage-earner families or parents who don't discipline their children.
Why is the Vestavia Hills system so efficient ? Teachers are supported by the AEA and the students come from families where their parents view success as the only option. The parents have as much to do about the education as the teachers do. But, and this is a big but, let a Vestavia Hills parent bring forth documentation and testimony about the poor performance of a teacher and guess who loses ? The parent. A tenured teacher in Vestavia is harder to fire than.....
And if a teacher in Vestavia has a difference of opinion on policy, guess who loses, the teacher. I know, I saw 2-3 lose their jobs just over a difference of philosophy in teaching. These teachers that were fired were not even the subject of a parent complaint. It was all internal, all a difference of opinion.
This problem is systemic. Republicans need to infiltrate the AEA and become just as involved as the Democrats. We need to re-elect new leaders who do nothing to improve education, just drawing another check. Overhaul would be good for the Alabama legislature, the constitution, etc. but not at the hand of liberal reorganizers like Joe Reed, Don Siegelman, Paul Hubbert, Al LaPierre. Thanks for writing.