Reporter Mary Sell of the Decatur Daily did her usual good job of covering the meeting of the House Ways & Means Education committee meeting on Oct. 25. Here is her article.
One of the committee members is Rep. Terri Collins of Decatur. So as good reporters do, Mary got comments from Collins to give the story a local angle. This is what she told Sell:
“You can’t get anyone to answer the phone, you could get several different answers to a question — I’ve had that happen to me,” Collins said after the presentation. “I leave messages and don’t get call-backs. That’s frustrating. But that he’s owning up to that, I think that’s good and he’s moving in a good direction.
“That he wants to enable the local systems to do their best jobs, that’s what we want from the department of education.”
Anyone who followed the dog and pony show at the state department of education during the year Mike Sentance was state superintendent immediately sees the irony in Collins’ comments since she was referring to his time running the department.
Collins supported Sentance from day one. While educators across the state were constantly pointing our the lack of management and leadership under Sentence, you never heard Collins complain.
The overwhelming choice of educators across the state of who they wanted to replace retiring state superintendent Tommy Bice was Craig Pouncey, Jefferson County superintendent and a former chief of staff for Bice.
But not Collins.
In fact, Collins sent an email to all state school board members during the 2016 search process that they should not select Craig Pouncey, Jefferson County superintendent, as state superintendent. Here is part of that email:
“Lastly, I’ve only been associated with one person that actually had a letter written to Dr. Bice, from the Speaker, asking him to not send a person back to the State House, and it was Dr. Pouncey. I hope you do not consider him, he does not fit the priorities you set as a Board.”
According to Bice, there was no such letter.
But there is a back story to the email from Collins. While chief of staff, Pouncey attended a legislative committee meeting where a representative was very vocal about the shortcomings of public schools. Pouncey took offense and spoke in opposition. The House member got mad and went to then Speaker Mike Hubbard to complain that someone was standing up for public schools.
Hubbard did not write the letter Collins says he did.
So Collins felt that Sentence, who had no experience in running schools or school systems, was a better choice than Pouncey.
And now that time has proven her wrong, she is anxious to straighten out problems HER candidate left behind.
Funny how such things work.