The Alabama Education Association was once the unquestioned power in the Alabama statehouse. But that's changed since Republicans won a supermajority in the House and Senate in 2010.
Lawmakers around the country have made significant changes to teacher tenure, expanded charter schools and introduced different versions of voucher programs. But in Alabama, these kinds of changes have been part of a political upheaval not seen in most states.
The GOP leaders say they're just improving a poorly performing system that has put teachers and other school workers above children's education. AEA's new leader, Henry Mabry, says Republicans are attacking and further weakening public schools themselves.
Both sides say the education debate will be a major factor in the 2014 legislative elections.