So today, Governor Kay Ivey, the same one who studied education at Auburn and was once a school teacher, put out this statement:
Governor Ivey’s Statement on Today’s State Board of Education Meeting
MONTGOMERY – “Today, the elected Alabama State Board of Education delayed the question of the State Superintendent’s continued leadership of the State Department of Education.
“Mr. Sentance has been on the job for less than a year, and in that time, has advocated many necessary reforms. Though he is certainly not without fault, I trust that the Board will give him time to implement those reforms.
“Rather than focusing on differences of personality or opinion, we must focus on Alabama’s children and improving the quality of education provided across our state.”
First of all, where did the governor see on today’s state board meeting agenda that there would be discussion about changing leadership? There was none. So the statement about “delayed the question” is not true.
But what is true is that right now thousands in the Alabama education community are asking, WHAT REFORMS?
Was it giving the principals of 27 low performing schools in Montgomery a 10 percent raise?
Was it spending $536,000 on a Massachusetts consulting firm Sentance used to be involved with?
Was it giving a $750,000 no bid contract to someone to be the Montgomery CFO for three years?
Was it when he ordered an internal review of the effort last summer to smear superintendent applicant Craig Pouncey by a state board member and four department employees and then disagreeing with the findings that said there was collusion to interfere in the selection process?
Was it when Governor Bentley said “education sucks” and he did not come to the defense of students and teachers?
Was it during one of his tirades when he berated our teachers about how weak they are? Was it when he said he wanted to dismantle our career tech program?
Was it when he wanted to drastically change the Alabama Reading Initative, the only Alabama program his home state of Massachusetts has ever copied from here?.
Was it when he got an AG’s opinion that allowed him to tell the elected state board they could not question money he is spending on his Montgomery intervention?
But here’s the real deal. This move by the governor is a bizarre political move. All successful politicians, whether they be democrats or republicans, liberals or conservatives, white or black, right-wing or middle of the road, have one thing in common.
THEY CAN ALL COUNT.
Someone on the governor’s staff is not counting. We just did a survey that got more than 1,275 responses. Teachers were 61 percent of respondents and those who work in public education made up 74 percent. So these answers are a very good indication of what the Alabama education community is thinking. And they overwhelmingly dislike Mike Sentance.
Some 96 percent say Sentance should not have been hired. Only two percent approve of him. Seventy-seven percent say he should be terminated ASAP. He gets a letter grade of D or F from 90 percent of respondents.
And Kay Ivey is hooking her own aspirations to be elected governor in 2018 to someone with a two percent approval rating? She wants to alienate almost all educators in the state. She needs to ask Bradley Byrne how that works.
Governor, this Titanic is sinking fast. Telling people to not abandon ship makes no sense.
And in case anyone reading this cares to contact Governor Ivey, go here.