Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bad Bill Alert! Byrne's 65% "Solution" is Back (SB241)

You can read about what I've previously written about the 65% "Solution" here (Aug. 2008) and here (Sep. 2008), but here are some items you should be aware of:

  • It's nothing new. It was a bad idea then, it's a bad idea now.

  • This bad idea originated with Tim Mooney of Arizona. He used Patrick Byrne's (CEO of money and they organized their efforts and formed an organization known as "First Class Education"

  • First Class Education have apparently abandoned their original efforts. Their website is an empty WordPress blog, but don't be fooled. Thanks to technology (WayBack Machine) you can still view their old site.

  • Did I mention that it's nothing new? Four years ago, they attempted to get legislation passed in every state. They ultimately failed (they wanted to have legislation in all 50 states by 2008) despite the nasty memo that they circulated among legislators outlining their POLITICAL MOTIVES!

  • This is not a new bill. In 2006, Utah was included in their efforts when Greg Hughes sponsored HB143 titled "Instructional Expenses Requirements"

  • The 2006 bill made it out of the House Education Committee. It was amended before it passed out favorably with a vote of 7 "Yeas", 6 "Nays" and 2 "Absent".

  • The new bill is being sponsored by Senator Mark B. Madsen in the form of SB241 titled "Instructional Expenses". It is word for word exactly the same bill (unamended version) of HB143 in 2006.

  • Tim Mooney claims that the 65% Solution is currently on hold. When I asked him why it was on hold he told me it was due to timing. When I told him about SB241 in Utah he was surprised and told me that he wasn't aware of it. I asked him if he was still working with Patrick Byrne on this issue and he confirmed that he was.

  • Patrick Byrne is the newly appointed Co-Chair of the Friedman Foundation. Their agenda and goal is to have vouchers and legislation that supports vouchers in all 50 states. They already claim Utah as a success story for their involvement in the passage of the Carson Smith Scholarship program.

  • There is no basis or research for why they chose 65% that should be spent in the classroom. Why not 68% or 72%? Utah already spends at least 65% in the classroom. The purposes of this bill are outlined in their own memo and their agenda hasn't changed. Don't be fooled!