We made some progress, but we still have a lot of work to do.
The good news is that, of the 38 troublesome bills that we told you about a few weeks ago, 35 are now dead, and one of those still alive is not subject to today’s deadline, so it hasn’t been considered. Your conversations with your legislators are bearing fruit!
Even more good news is that we made some headway on the two remaining voucher bills. Both chambers added reverse repealers to ensure that the bills could not make it all the way through the process without being revisited by both chambers. Sen. Nancy Collins, who handled the bill in the Senate, acknowledged that the Section 504 accommodation eligibility is too broad, and she added the reverse repealer to address that issue. The House simply explained that their bill needed more work.
The truth is that no amount of work will fix these bills. The Section 504 accommodation is just one of many, many problems, not the least of which is the very basic issue of these being voucher bills that divert taxpayer dollars to private schools that have no accountability whatsoever for the quality of education provided to children. We will need to revisit all of this with many legislators who voted to move these bills forward and remind them that these bills hurt the children they purport to help and are first steps toward the privatization and “profitization” of our public education system.
All of the open enrollment bills, those that would allow students to cross district lines to attend school in districts in which they do not reside, have died.
Thanks so much to all of you who emailed and texted me about your conversations with your legislators. Legislators have been swamped with hundreds of bills, and they often don’t know the true impact of controversial legislation until they hear from you. Please keep that dialogue going. I’m hearing that a number of legislators want to slow down and inspect the voucher bills more closely. That’s good news!