A few days ago I posted the names and email addresses of the 30 senators who voted last May for an amendment that will replace our elected state school board with an appointed one. A number of readers wrote senators and asked them why they voted as they did.
Someone in north Alabama got a response from their senator that blew my mind.
Here is what he said:
“If a local community wants an elected school board they can vote no. If the statewide vote passes and a local community still wants one, they can get a local constitutional amendment and vote for it.”
This guy has absolutely no clue what amendment one is all about. It has NOTHING to do with local school boards and whether they are elected or appointed. One is only left to assume he voted for legislation he had neither read or studied.
Amendment one is ONLY about the state school board. If passed, it will take away the public’s right to vote on state school board members and place control of who is on the board in the hands of the state senate who will confirm anyone appointed to the board.
Our most recent survey on amendment one showed that 65 percent of respondents DO NOT trust the senate to have this responsibility. This senator’s response is ample evidence of why the public feels this way.
Last week I visited an inner-city school in Birmingham and a rural school in Marengo County. I had lengthy talks with both principals discussing the challenges they face daily. One is trying to get funding to build a shower so that children coming from homes without running water can bathe. They talked about trying to supply backpacks with food for hungry students, about the emotional baggage their students bring to class, about trying to find partners who can help them provide basic needs for kids.
I think it is safe to say that the good senator referred to here has probably never had such conversations, that he is oblivious to what today’s school reality is and that he just blindly does what someone tells him to do when it is time to vote.
And we should turn over control of our schools to folks like this?