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Senator Jerry Tillman: Okay with him if poor kids can’t get to charter schools (video)

There was an incredibly revealing and troubling statement made on the Senate floor Wednesday  afternoon by Republican Senator (and Senate Education Committee co-chairman) Jerry Tillman. (Be sure to watch the video at the end of this post.)

The statement occurred in response to a question by Senator Josh Stein as the Senate debated Senate Bill 8 — the charter schools deregulation bill.

When asked by Stein about the problem created by the fact that charters are under no obligation to provide transporation or free meals to poor kids (something that traditional public schools must of course provide) and whether it was okay with him that such kids could be left out, Tillman said that he saw this as no problem with this at all because those kids could simply attend their local public school.

Here’s the quote:

It’s certainly okay if they don’t go there [the charter school]. They can go to their public schools. They can get their free and reduced price lunch. And they can do that. But the charter school itself and the commission must decide what they can do and when they can do it financially. And that’s where we are now and that’s where we’re gonna’ be and I’m certainly for that.”

Got that? When confronted with the fact that charters will naturally exclude poor children, the Senate Education Committee co-chair’s repsonse is, in effect, “so what’s the big deal?”

Any further questions about why charters are a fatally flawed idea? You can watch the exchange below:

5 Comments


  1. Jake

    February 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Beyond financial discrimination, will these charter schools getting public funds being able to kick out gay students, or kids with gay parents? Religious schools have certainly done so before. If we’re turning a lot of public funds away from schools that have to be accepting of the public, then we have to consider the consequences.

  2. Evelyn Terry

    February 24, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    This is a battle for the courts. Ultimately every child in America is entitlement to a free and equal education. It’s time to draw a line in the sand and take idiots like Tillman to court.

  3. Remember

    February 25, 2011 at 9:26 am

    are we going to have “colored” lunch counters and drinking fountains..Make darn sure you have a “white line” in the bus so that the “colored can get to the back of it….. Sen Tillman is a “dirtbag”

  4. Lou

    February 27, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I agree with the brief statement recorded of Senator Tillman. This does not appear to show the complete discussion.
    The emphasis of Senator Tillman’s statement was that “a decision needs to be made by the charter school and commission as to what they can do financially and when they can do it.” His last statement supports fiscal responsibility.

  5. Bruce Cohen

    May 11, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Good for senator Stein. He wants to level the playing field and he has my support.

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