Blood Is In The Water, Fasten Your Seat Belt

It looks more and more as if embattled state superintendent Mike Sentance has drawn the line in the sand.  He is on one side, most members of the state school board are on the other.

And those who support Sentance are going on the attack.  Apparently their strategy is to try to divert attention from Sentance and his lack of leadership and focus on board members instead.

Case in point being this article in by “columnist” Cameron Smith, a one time employee of the Alabama Policy Institute, one of the biggest enemies of public education in the state.  Smith went back to a work session of the state board on June 21, 2017 and decided he would put words in member Ella Bell’s mouth.  (Of course, he didn’t bother to mention he was reporting on old news.)

So we have a headline screaming: “Alabama school board member considers institutionalization for special ed students.”

Except.  She did not.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s video of the discussion in question.  See for yourself.

Forget the fact that Bell has spent a large part of her life supporting special education issues and worked for 25 years with the Alabama Department of Mental Health.  This ain’t about the truth, it is about winning at any cost.  So you come with tales that are 25 percent truth and 75 percent fiction, such as this one Smith did in late July, and you print them knowing how gullible the general public is.

(I sent an email to Cameron Smith about his July piece, but got no response.)

And where was Mike Sentance while this was going on?  Was he defending his board member, after all, he was at the meeting and heard everything she said?  Of course not.  He kept his mouth shut just as he did last fall when Governor Bentley said “education sucks.”

But, but, but.  Sentance had the audacity to tell a Birmingham TV station just this past Wednesday that he “loves educators in this state” as well as all the employees at the state department including Linda Felton-Smith who he put on administrative leave a few months ago for an offense one of his consultants later said never happened.

This is the same guy who has gone out of his way since he took office last September to tell anyone who would listen how bad our schools are, how terrible our teachers are, our weak our universities are and what pitiful results we get from programs like Career Tech, AMSTI and the Alabama Reading Initiative.

And get this.  One local superintendent told me that when one of his parents of a special needs child called the state superintendent’s office to find out what was going on–he was told to call his local superintendent and the governor’s office.

Why them when they had zero to do with the issue at hand?  Just another way to stir the pot and divert attention away from his own shortcomings and dismal track record.

It has often been said that you don’t want to watch sausage being made.  Add to that watching a state school chief battling to save his butt.





One Response to Blood Is In The Water, Fasten Your Seat Belt

  1. I generally read your columns and want to jump and cheer in agreement. I am baffled at your defense of Ella Bell’s comments. It does not matter if her inappropriate statements regarding students classified as special education were from 10 minutes ago or June 19th or three years ago. She said some very insensitive and inappropriate things, and the ramblings indicate a fundamental lack of understanding of the IDEA, ESEA, and testing requirements. Her remarks are even a borderline violation of FERPA. In other words, what she asked about doing is illegal. I am not sure you and I listened to the same clip if you think her remarks are defensible. I still think you are the best education reported in the state, but I must disagree with your position regarding Mrs. Bell’s statements.