AEA takes Bentley to task

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2012

If Gov. Robert Bentley thinks the Alabama Education Association only cares about money, the governor should look in the mirror, the association’s spokesperson said Wednesday.

In an interview with The Mobile Press-Register on Tuesday, Bentley, who was supported by AEA in his bid to become governor in 2010, said the organization doesn’t care about children, but only about money.

“People thought I was an AEA puppet,” Bentley told the Press-Register. “I wasn’t before the (2010) election, and I’m sure not now. I never have been. They are a special interest group, and they look after their special interest. That’s all they do. They don’t care about anything else. They talk about the children but they don’t care about the children. They care about money.”

In a conference call with state reporters Wednesday morning, AEA spokesman David Stout was asked about the governor’s comments. AEA is fighting to block passage of the Republicans’ “jobs package” that passed the House of Representatives last week because they say it could potentially erode money for education.

“If Gov. Bentley wants to make that argument, the direct correlation of that would be what he’s doing to education,” Stout said. “He is constantly saying the state needs to raid the Education Trust Fund. He’s not inherently evil, but he’s getting bad advice from someone.”

Stout said AEA made 50,000 personal contacts for Dr. Bentley during his campaign.

“During that time, he said he would never do anything to hurt teachers and education,” Stout said. “In fact, he’s done the opposite of that.”