Below is an edited version of an email sent to Governor Bentley’s education policy liaison, Jared White, by a longtime Alabama educator. I know this person very well. They gave up a lucrative business career after 20 years to become an educator, which explains the passion shown in what they wrote.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is _________ and I have been an educator in Alabama, for 14 years. I have served as a special education teacher, principal and Special Education Coordinator.
Because of my passion for children, I left a successful 20-year business career to return to school for degrees in Elementary Education, Special Education and Educational Administration. Children are our future, and if not properly prepared to assume the mantle of leadership, there will be adverse effects on our county, state, and country.
Imagine my surprise, or shock may be a better word, when I heard that Governor Bentley appointed 28-year old Matt Brown to a vacant position on the SBOE. It is my understanding that Mr. Brown is not a product of the public school system. According to the information I was able to locate, he is a graduate of a private Christian college in Pensacola, and Cumberland School of Law, part of Samford University, another private university.
This has the “smell” of politics all over it. What is this young man’s relation to Senator Trip Pittman? Something is not right with this appointment and as an educator I want more information.
If the public school system was not good enough for him to attend, what qualifies him to sit on its governing body? Are his children of school age, and, if so, do they attend public school? If not of school age, does he plan to enroll them in public school when they are?
Until you work in public schools, you don’t understand them. There has been a war waged in Alabama against public schools for too long. Our legislature has taken critical funding from public schools to finance charter schools and private schools by way of vouchers. Mr. Brown’s involvement in a grass roots effort to cut funding for public schools in Baldwin County hardly qualifies him for a position on the SBOE.
A quick look at Aspire scores from last year confirms that Alabama needs the increased rigor provided by the College & Career Ready Standards. Yet, I understand Mr. Brown opposes the CCRS. What exactly does he know about the CCRS? Where did he gain his knowledge? Why is he opposed to adequately funding public education?
After the Governor’s appointment of Emily Schultz as your predecessor I did not think he could further disappoint me. I was wrong. But I suppose one should never be surprised by what happens on Goat Hill, which has deservedly earned its name.
The Governor has a lot of questions to answer regarding this appointment. As public education continues under this constant barrage I grow weary of the battle. Our kids are worth the fight, but I don’t have the energy to keep going when the people who should support us, do not. Public education should be our shining glory in Alabama. Instead, it is the whipping post for every politician in Montgomery.
I look forward to hearing from you.
A number of people have emailed Jared on this matter. He is a fine young man. Plus, he went to Auburn! Do not know if he has responded to anyone or not.
His email address is: Jared.White@governor.alabama.gov