February 17, 2015 I had the privilege as a Nebraskan and citizen of the United States of America to testify on two Legislative Bills, 478 and 616, for the education committee. I wasn’t prepared for what I witnessed during the hearing on LB 616.
I testified (video link) in opposition of ESU bonding LB 478 (link). This bill would grant Educational Service Units the authority to issue bonds without a vote of the public. In other words, borrow money against your property without your consent. Please contact your state senator and provide input on ESU bonding LB 478.
Later in the afternoon I testified (video link) in favor of Adopt the Independent Public Schools Act (charter schools) LB 616 (link) This bill, introduced by Senator Tyson Larson, would allow charter schools in Nebraska cities of the Metropolitan class, 300,000 population/Omaha.
I wasn’t prepared for the bullying Senator Larson was subjected to as he introduced Charter Schools LB 616. Senators Cook and Kolowski exhibited hostility and an angry tone of voice when questioning Senator Larson. It seemed so inappropriate to the subject at hand I did some research after the debacle.
My hunch was confirmed. Senators Cook and Kolowski both received campaign financing from the teachers’ union. No doubt their handlers were well-pleased with Cook and Kolowski’s display of animosity toward Larson and Charter Schools LB 616, a bill designed to benefit poor children’s right to a quality education. Parents who can afford to home school, pay for private school, special classes or tutors, already have school choice. Please contact your state senator and provide input on Charter Schools LB 616.
Another education bill, Working to Improve Nebraska Schools Act (reading at grade level) LB 617 (link) was considered at the state board of education work session January 28 and opposed 6-2. This bill would require each student in a public school be able to read at or above grade level by grade three. Failure pays for union expansion and just 23% of poor Nebraska fourth graders read at the proficient (grade) level or above. (link)
To conduct business fairly, governing bodies use Roberts Rules of Order to Parliamentary Procedure. To open a subject for debate requires a motion. Board member Molly O’Holleran, endorsed by the Nebraska State Education Association, made the motion to oppose the reading bill. A second of the motion is also required. If there is no second to the motion, there is no debate. Board member and union official Maureen Nickels took care of that detail during the January 28 work session to oppose reading at grade level bill LB 617.
Motion Passed: To oppose -(Reading at grade level) LB 617 – Adopt the Working to Improve Schools Act – passed with a motion by Molly O’Holleran and a second by Maureen Nickels.
Rachel Wise Yes
Glen Flint No
Lillie Larsen Yes
John Witzel Yes
Molly O’Holleran Yes
Patricia Timm Yes
Maureen Nickels Yes
Patrick McPherson No
Please note Flint and McPherson both voted in support of reading bill LB 617.
Glen Flint and Patrick McPherson are the only members of the State Board of Education I have been independently able to confirm are not endorsed by the union.
Please contact your state senator and provide input on reading bill LB 617 Working to Improve Nebraska Schools Act.
I applaud Senator Tyson Larson’s strong backbone as he sat through verbal abuse from his fellow senators during the charter school LB 616 hearing. Reminds me of Marine Sargent Tahmooressi’s reflections on the treatment he received in that Mexican jail, “I would be glad as can be to take that beating, just bring it on.” A public hearing on Senator Tyson’s reading bill LB 617, is scheduled for Tuesday, February 24 in room 1525 at 1:30 pm. The union will have another chance at our state capitol to bully Senator Tyson, who works to help close the achievement gap for poor students.
I have his back.