Just over a month ago, July 11 to be exact, I mentioned that as of that day this blog had its 10,000th view since cranking off on April 22.  To my amazement and great satisfaction, we’re now over 67,000 views.  And the best single day was almost 11,000.  Thanks to one and all for dropping by and spreading the word.  Countless folks have told me they post items from here on Facebook.  Appreciate that.

Like most things in this social media world, I really know nothing about FaceBook either.  But thanks to my able assistant (and  niece) Channing Pascone in Durham, NC this blog does have a page on FB.


One of the neat things I do in these days of retirement is travel around Alabama and get a first hand look at public schools and educators.  I have mentioned several times the rocket team at Russellville high and middle school that claimed the World Championship at the Paris Air Show.  Lee Brownell was a teacher with the Russellville system when their foray into rockets launched.  A few months ago Lee joined the state’s AMSTI program and is now housed at the University of North Alabama in Florence.

As the news of what Russellville did has spread, other schools have expressed interested in having a rocketry team.  So Lee hosted an information meeting for schools Monday night at UNA.  I was there.  Plans are to have a rocket competition in the quad cities area next March.  A number of schools were represented, even a 4-H club. While most were from the northwest part of the state, not all.

Central High of Coosa County was represented by principal Bradley Bouldin.  For those of you who might not know where Coosa County is, take US 231 south out of Sylacauga and you will get to the school in about 15 miles.  Which means principal Bouldin had a one way trip of at least 175 miles.

I talked to a number of science teachers at the meeting.  They were excited to take this idea back to their schools.  Almost all of them are already involved in robotics competition.  I seriously doubt any teachers were getting overtime for being there.  Too bad some policymakers who seem so intent on telling people that education has all the money it needs, weren’t there.


Speaking of being impressed, anyone who attended the Aug. 13 State Board of Education meeting and listened to the group who spoke in favor of adopting a new science course of study, would certainly have been.  These were people who love science and love to awaken students to this field of study.  They were certainly bright.  But it was their enthusiasm for their work that most impressed me.

The group included: Jennifer Brown of Vestavia Hills High school (and current Alabama Teacher of the Year), Brenda Terry with UAH, Jennifer Hutchison with Alabama A & M, Tammy Dunn with Hoover City Schools, Madelene Loftin with the HudsonAlpha Institute in Huntsville, Susa Pruet, longtime math teacher from Daphne, author Heather Montgomery, Maggie Johnston with the McDowell Environmental Center, Mary Boehm with A+. Sarah Lowman with Athens State, Wayne Cummins with Sand Mountain Concerned Citizens and Doug Phillips, long time host of Discovering Alabama on Alabama Public TV.


Finally, have enjoyed attending district meetings of the Alabama Retired Educators Association in Gardendale and Tuscaloosa in the last week.  Janice Charlesworth and her staff do an excellent job of working with these good folks, most of whom spent their entire career working with our young people.  (I met one lady in Gardendale who worked 51 years for the Jefferson County system.)

I get a lot of emails from retirees.  They are very concerned about the efforts that are aimed at harming public schools and denying them adequate resources.  And can you blame them?  You put your heart and soul into something for decades and then not only do some want to undermine all you worked for–but in doing so they constantly berate our schools which means they are saying you did not do a very good job while you were there.

In speaking about the on-going effort to raid the Education Trust Fund, in Tuscaloosa today Janice mentioned having seen the picture last week of a young girl heading off to her first day of school in the local newspaper.  And what was she taking to school?  A 12-pack of toilet tissue.  Which prompted Janice to ask, “If we have so much money, why are our kids having to bring their own toilet paper to school?”