Wednesday, January 16, 2013

TN State Rep. Fitzhugh Forced Off Education Committee?

Diane Ravitch posted a story today on Mississippi State Representative Linda Whittington.  Democratic Representative Whittington represents District 34, and is based out of Schlater, Mississippi, in the northwestern quadrant of the state, south of Clarksdale.

Representative Whittington states:  "As a member of the Mississppi House of Representatives, I agree and am doing what I can to stop the charters from coming into our state. So much so that the Speaker of the House removed me from the House Education Committee where I had served since 2007. No sitting member had ever been removed without consenting to the move. The Speaker acknowledged that I was removed because of my votes against charter schools."

No biggie.  The charter school agenda rolls forward.

If you read down into the comments, you'll find a comment that states that something similar happened to Tennessee State Representative Craig Fitzhugh.  Rep. Fitzhugh, based out of Ripley and representing District 82, had some redistricting issues - he lost Dyer County and gained Haywood County.  In this session, he's the Democratic Leader.

Here's an opinion piece from Rep. Fitzhugh from the December 12, 2012 Tennessean.  In relevant part, Rep. Fitzhugh states
"Let’s focus on education. The term education reform has been thrown around so often that no one really knows what it means. This year, it seems that reform will focus on a new school voucher program or — to use a more accurate description — sending your tax dollars to fund private schools.
Here are the facts. Tennessee has made tremendous strides in education over the last four years and Gov. Haslam deserves credit for continuing the Bredesen reforms from Race to the Top. These changes have barely had time to show progress, so now is not the time to talk about a radical change in education policy. In Louisiana, a voucher program similar to the one being considered in Tennessee was recently ruled unconstitutional, but not before costing taxpayers more than $25 million a year. We are constitutionally required to fund public education. If we start ripping tens of millions of dollars from public schools with an unconstitutional voucher program, we will most certainly do away with all the progress made under both governors."

Sounds like a guy I could support.  And while he previously served on the Education Committee (according to his March 19, 2012 press release about his re-election campaign), it does appear (according to his official House website) that he has not been reappointed to the Education Committee.  Odd.

I've looked, and haven't seen any reporting on this.  Lots of big work for the Education Committees in both houses this year - have the shenanigans already started?

10:13 1/17/12 Update:  Shenanigans Confirmed!

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