The Star Of The Senate School Choice Debate Was…

…Sen. Robert Adley.

We’ve got two clips here. The first one is a speech he gave rebutting one of the main arguments the opponents of the school choice bill made about it, which was that it “robs” local school districts of their funding through the Minimum Foundation Program because state money flowing to local districts through the MFP, which is money the locals get based on how many students they’re educating, would instead follow those kids to charter schools or private schools through vouchers.

Adley hammers that argument to a pulp using history, principle and cold, hard facts. It was a spellbinding speech, not the least because as Adley said he’s been waiting to give it for 30 years. And the results were awfully damning to the other side.

Did it affect the vote? It’s hard to tell. But the speech resonated all the way into Thursday’s House debate on whether to concur on the Senate amendments when Rep. Sam Jones (D-Franklin), who had been one of the main peddlers of the MFP-money-is-local-money line in the House debate, took to the floor to react like a scalded cat about what Adley had said the previous evening.

But we also have another clip from Sen. Adley, this in response to another argument made by opponents of the school choice bill. At issue here is the complaint that the educational options being promoted by the bill, and most importantly charter schools, wouldn’t have to deal with the same levels of accountability being placed on traditional public schools.

Adley responds by noting that failing traditional schools are almost never shut down, while charters generally have a short window within which they must produce results or else, and then notes the magnitude of the systemwide failure of traditional systems within the state in another powerful speech…

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