Corporatism, Education — September 17, 2014 at 9:54 am

Disgraced, recalled, homophobic former Education Comm. Chair Paul Scott now a lobbyist for anti-teacher group StudentsFirst


Former state House Representative Paul Scott earned a reputation during his time in office as one of the most anti-teacher legislators in Michigan. In his position as the Chair of the House Education Committee, he oversaw some of the most egregious attacks on teachers since Republicans swept into power following the 2010 election. It was bad enough that, eventually, Scott was recalled by voters in his district. The recall had a long and convoluted history with Scott attempting – unsuccessfully – to have the courts throw it out three times. In one of his attempts, he used the ludicrous rationale that he himself had created too much confusion for the recall to continue.

During the recall effort, Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette came to Scott’s defense in what the Detroit Free Press called a “clumsy and nakedly partisan” move, intervening on behalf of Scott with the State Supreme Court. Snyder even campaigned for him in Genesee County to help him fight the recall.

Scott has a notorious history as detailed by our pals at Progress Michigan. For example, while in office, he got one of his staffers pregnant and then moved her to a position on his campaign for Secretary of State.

Scott is also a notorious homophobe. He once accused an opponent of receiving support from “far left and radical homosexual groups”, his term for LGBT advocacy groups like Equality Michigan. An observer described Scott’s behavior during one debate this way:

At several points during the debate, Scott sneered at “the liberals,” whom he said have ruined this state, the family and our economy. Twice during the debate, he balled his fists and raised his voice in anger about the threat that gay people pose to our civilization. Scott’s angriest moment came when he expressed his utter “disgust” that middle school students in Goodrich are taught about condom use in a voluntary sex education class.

We now learn that, despite his homophobic, extreme views, Paul Scott has been hired as a lobbyist for the anti-teacher group StudentsFirst or “Regional Legislative Manager”, as they call him.

Scott has a long history with StudentsFirst. As the Chair of the House Education Committee, he shepherded multiple pieces of legislation written by them through his committee, legislation which did things like making illegal teacher strikes more illegal. In a leaked internal document from 2011, StudentsFirst thanks Scott for “overseeing the entire process” and gives credit to House Policy advisor Jason Mancini for “literally [running] every amendment by me before deciding to allow it in [Scott’s] committee.

During Scott’s recall, a whole host of anti-teacher corporatist groups, including StudentsFirst, contributed enormous amounts of money to help him win. StudentsFirst, in fact, contributed an astonishing $73,000 to help Scott save his job.

Given their long history together, it’s not too surprising that StudentsFirst, which spends much of its time attacking teachers, trying to destroy public schools, and promoting for-profit charter schools across the country, would hire Paul Scott. Because, hey, nothing says “students first” like hiring an extremist homophobe who rails about the evils of teaching children about contraception while impregnating a staffer to whom he is not married.

It’s a marriage made in corporatist heaven and right in line with their decision last year to award their “Reformer of the Year” award to the author of Tennessee’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill.