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In Ala., GOP dictates new landscape for education

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 27, 2013 at 10:35 am •  Published: April 27, 2013
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photo - FILE - In this April 11, 2013 file photo, Alabama Education Association Executive Director Dr. Henry Mabry addresses members of the Alabama Education Retirees Association at a rally outside the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala. Mabry accuses Republicans of hurting public schools with policies ranging from teacher tenure changes and new tax breaks for private school tuition to limits on AEA collecting dues through the state payroll system. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)
FILE - In this April 11, 2013 file photo, Alabama Education Association Executive Director Dr. Henry Mabry addresses members of the Alabama Education Retirees Association at a rally outside the Alabama Statehouse in Montgomery, Ala. Mabry accuses Republicans of hurting public schools with policies ranging from teacher tenure changes and new tax breaks for private school tuition to limits on AEA collecting dues through the state payroll system. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Education Association was once the unquestioned power in the Alabama statehouse. But that's changed since Republicans won a supermajority in the House and Senate in 2010.

Lawmakers around the country have made significant changes to teacher tenure, expanded charter schools and introduced different versions of voucher programs. But in Alabama, these kinds of changes have been part of a political upheaval not seen in most states.

The GOP leaders say they're just improving a poorly performing system that has put teachers and other school workers above children's education. AEA's new leader, Henry Mabry, says Republicans are attacking and further weakening public schools themselves.

Both sides say the education debate will be a major factor in the 2014 legislative elections.