As you can imagine, I swap a good many emails and some phone calls with members of the state board of education. Some times we agree, some times we don’t, but there is seldom any doubt as to where we stand.
Of course I have been very outspoken about the hire last summer of Mike Sentance to be state superintendent. It made no sense then and it makes even less today as we have now seen him in action for several months.
Still, there are some on the state school board who voted to hire him and like Tammy Wynette, they are standing by their man. I commend them for being loyal, though as mama used to say, “Sometimes you can be loyal to a fault.”
Recently one of them asked me to be patient and let this sad situation play out even more.
“The house is on fire and I shouldn’t call the fire department? Be patient when every superintendent in the state is scrambling to undo the mess Sentance and the state department blindsided them with on Friday afternoon by dumping grad rate info none of them knew about and that doesn’t match info they had been previously given?
Be patient when I look at $1.2 million in contracts let to “improve” Montgomery while other systems in worse shape get nothing? Like Montgomery, Mobile has less than a one month reserve and has eight schools on the “failing list.” (Montgomery has 10). Where is money and help for Mobile? Their kids don’t count?
Last November the governor said “education sucks.” Be patient when the state superintendent does not come to the defense of 730,000 public school students? Never says a word in their defense?
Jan. 7 the state got a letter from the feds about alignment of ACT Aspire with our standards. The following week 75 schools were put on the “failing school” list, a large number of them high schools that were graded solely on 10th graders taking this test for the first time. Be patient while Sentance does not say a word in defense of these schools being judged on a flawed test?
Be patient when Sentance says Alabama math teachers can not get jobs in other states. (And he’s the one who was rejected by at least nine states and one large metro system when he wanted to be their superintendent. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.)
Be patient when he says that teachers are using scripted lessons because principals don’t trust them to teach? Former Teacher of the Year Jennifer Brown says she was in 500 classrooms in 2015-16. She says she never saw anyone using scripted lessons.
Be patient when Sentance declares that the principals of the 27 weakest schools in Montgomery all get a 10 percent raise, while the principals at the best schools get nothing? I sat there in person while he tried to explain his convoluted logic and wondered how could he really believe what he was saying.
I will not be patient as I watch this train wreck unfold day by day.
Nor will I be quiet.”