An amendment vote to remove racial language from the state constitution is running into opposition from a surprising source: African-American lawmakers and the state's teacher union.
This is the language voters will decide if it will be removed or not: "Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of ether race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race."
Vestavia Hills Rep. Jack Williams supports Amendment Four.
"I think it's the right thing to do, to remove the racist language from the constitution. It was wrong when it was put in in 1901 and it's wrong today and we need to take it out," Williams said.
But the Alabama Education Association (AEA) has come out against the amendment. AEA spokesman Jim Wrye says the teachers' union objects to the racist language but an entire paragraph making education a state mandate would also be removed. He says the amendment also leaves other sections of equally objectionable language.
"It eliminated the constitutional right for children to get an education by the state. It added language to allow for the formation of segregated academies," Wrye said.
State Rep. John Rogers has joined the legislative black caucus in opposing the passage of Amendment Four.
"Alabama has never made education an vital function of state government and we are worried that language in this amendment kind of sets the road for charter schools and private education situations," Rogers said.
But Rep. Williams says those who are seeking to make education a priority in the constitution are just looking for a way to raise taxes.
"If we were mandated I think we would see people running to court asking the courts to increase taxes around the state," Williams said.
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