The UniServ director for the Huntsville Education Association says public education in Alabama is under attack by Big Money interests.
Adam Keller is trying to start a community conversation about the influence of Big Money and politics on education. He says less funding and privatization of school support systems are just some of the issues contributing to the assault against public schools.
“Their attack is on the quality of the education,” Keller said. “By making it harder to have good teachers in the classroom, by cutting funding and siphoning that off into competing resources like charters and voucher programs.”
He says public school funding still isn’t where it was ten years ago and when you adjust for inflation teachers make less too.
Huntsville City School teachers are getting raises over the next three years in addition to the state-mandated increase, but Keller calls Huntsville “ground zero” for leaving out support staff like cafeteria workers and janitors.
“These outsourced workers, most of them are on a temporary basis, low wages, no benefits, and these are the people taking care of our schools,” Keller said. “Quite frankly it’s astounding that Huntsville can figure out actual rocket science but not the ability to take care of the people taking care of our schools.”
Keith Ward with Huntsville City Schools says at least two support staffers per school are employed by the school system.
This election year Keller says keeping politics from affecting education must be a community effort.
“You educate each other, you educate yourself on the issues,” he began. “And then you get involved, attending the meetings, by organizing in your community, in your workplace, and at the ballot box.”
The Huntsville City School Board will soon be deciding what contractor to use for support positions.
Their consent order has their big picture plans for improvement. See it here.