Woodland Prep Playing Legal Games

Last August the Alabama Education Association filed suit in Washington County alleging that Sonar Tarim, the Texas education consultant working with Woodland Prep charter school falsified information submitted to the state charter school commission. The initial...

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An Open Letter To Senator Del Marsh

Senator: While you and I could not disagree much more on what we need to do to help Alabama schools and educators, I have never questioned that you are a successful politician and businessman.  You could have tremendous impact on education in this state--if you would...

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Sully Strikes Again

Once again we return to Baldwin County to check on our young friend, Sully, the fifth-grade grandson of assistant superintendent Hope Zenah. Sully has his eye set on a video game and has been diligently trying to find ways to earn money to buy the game.  So...

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The Colossal Charter Mess In Montgomery

It is nigh impossible to figure out what is going on with charter schools in Montgomery.  Whether it is by design, deception or a bushel of inaptitude, the situation is clearly defying sections of the charter law and thumbs its nose at what is legal and what is not....

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Reviewing The Most Read Posts Of 2019

Editor's note:  It's the season when the media is full of recounting the best football games of the year, the top political stories, the most expensive divorcees, which states had the most possums to cross the road, etc.  So in the spirit of such, we will bring to you...

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The Irony Of Amendment One

Alabama voters will go to the polls next March 3 to decide the fate of amendment one.  At the heart of this amendment is an attempt to deny all citizens the right to vote to elect their state school board members. The irony of this vote is that 55 years and four days...

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Another Gem From Our Friend, J. L. Strickland

Editor's note: There was so much reader response to our recent story from J. L. Strickland, we share another.  It is especially appropriate at this season when joy and mirth should abound.  If this doesn't bring a chuckle, check your pulse. "Back in the fifties, as I...

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A Christmas Story

Editor's note: J. L. Strickland is a retired textile worker from east Alabama who has spent his life in what the locals know as the "valley."  It straddles the Alabama-Georgia line and for generations was home to numerous mills were cotton was turned into cloth. ...

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And Now For Some Good News

While the elitist Bourbon Republicans who run the legislative supermajority work hard to discredit public education, truth is there is plenty of good news concerning the schools that educate 90 percent of all the students in Alabama. Rural Schools Collaborative is...

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The Two Worlds Of Education

My choices were clear that Thursday morning.  I could attend the state school board meeting at Montgomery's Gordon Persons building where the main topic of discussion would be whether or not to finally adopt a new math course of study after many months of study and...

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Saving The World One Life At A Time

Officially it was called "Alabama Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities Awards Ceremony.".  A very nice affair held at the Gordon Person Building auditorium Dec. 3. But unofficially, it was all about bringing recognition to people and...

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An Angel On My Shoulder

Long ago I realized that apparently the sound of tires on asphalt is my own special brand of therapy.  How else can I explain all the miles I cover and time in my car? I graduated from Auburn 53 years ago.  I doubt there have been many of those years when I didn't...

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New Orleans Charters Not Measuring Up

After Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed New Orleans, charter schools were seen as the salvation for a school system plagued with poor performance for decades.  Today all schools in the Crescent City are charters. However, as Times-Picayune reporter Della Hasselle...

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Here Comes Another Iron Bowl

Once a year, the rest of the world is oblivious to most folks in Alabama.  The stock market can crash, a tsunami may wipe some country from the face of the earth, Old Faithful may forget to shoot water out of the ground and Niagara Falls may become a trickle--but none...

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Dealing With Poverty

As those who want to "reform" education go in search of the next shiny object they are convinced will magically ignore the reality of the world we live in and instantly transport all schools and their students to a fantasy world of perfect families and white picket...

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George Wallace Was Right

For some of us who are long in the tooth, we can recall that when George Wallace ran for president as a third party candidate, he often said  "there was not a dime's worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans. And looking at Alabama today, it's hard to...

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Former LEAD Academy Teacher Speaks Out

The voice on the other end of the phone line was polite, filled with the conviction of youth and disappointed that all people claiming to want the best for children are not sincere. I'd heard the same voice hundreds of times before.  Young people who had planned all...

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Why Go Back To A Failed System?

So the legislature wants us to vote on March 3 to switch from an elected state school board to an appointed one.  But you have to wonder how many supporters of this change know that we once had an appointed state board that was deemed to be failing us--so we changed...

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More Bad News For LEAD Academy

Here in Montgomery, rumors about LEAD Academy charter school, which opened this fall, have swirled for weeks.  About discipline issues, lack of resources, class sizes, teachers quitting, students withdrawing, etc.  And the rumor mill really cranked up when the school...

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Teach For America Will Not Save Us

The "Alabama Teacher Shortage Task Force" recently reported to the state school board.  No doubt the 18 members of this group spent a lot of time on this project.  They presented a number of good ideas.  Things such as providing incentives for certified teachers to...

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1,300+ Posts And Counting

I waded off into the blogosphere in the spring of 2015.  That was now more than 1,300 posts ago and at an average of about 500 words per post, more than 600,000 words. Or, since Google tells me that the average book is 100,000 words, six books ago.  No wonder I feel...

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Once Again, Woodland Prep Tips Its Hand

While the handful of supporters of Woodland Prep charter school in Washington County insist that all they want is better education opportunities for local students, their actions tell a far different story. For example, the Oct. 11 edition of The Washington County...

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Checking The Bucket List: Coalwood, WV

It's not hard to find Coalwood, WV.  Go north on highway 19 out of Abingdon, VA, take a left on highway 16 in Tazewell, VA and don't get in a hurry because the road soon clings hard to what little space there is between a meandering creek bank and whatever mountains...

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Soner Tarim: Live And In Person.

It was Monday, September 30 and right there is front of me, only 25 feet away, stood Soner Tarim, the wizard  of charter schools, all the way from Houston, TX (even thought he said in the meeting he lives in Montgomery). It was the most recent meeting of the state...

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The Magic Of Childhood

Bombarded by a 24-7 barrage of bad news about self-centered politicians, mad men with assault weapons. the constant quest for riches by billionaires who already have more money than they can spend and overpaid and over indulged athletes, it is easy to forget what the...

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A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words

The picture above comes from Northpontotoc Upper elementary school in Ecru, MS.  Ecru has less than 1,000 people and is in Pontotoc County just west of Tupelo. Here is what accompanied the photo.  “These trees were 17 years old when harvested.  The smaller one...

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Why Do Politicians Think I Am A Moron?

Montgomery will elect a new mayor on Oct. 8.  The field has been narrowed to two candidates, Steven Reed and David Woods. I have seen TV ads for Reed saying he will give teachers a raise.  Today I got a flyer from Woods that proclaims. "Education is the key to a...

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Charter Shenanigans In Birmingham

Terri Michael is a member of the Birmingham city school board.  She works hard to keep a watchful eye on things involving that school system.  She is very concerned about things she has learned about the push for charter schools there.  In the article below, which was...

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LEAD Academy Principal Fighting Back

Is Nichole Ivey the principal at Montgomery's LEAD Academy charter school--or is she not? This subject was raised at the Sept. 30 meeting of the state charter  school commission.  LEAD board chair Charlotte Meadows told the commission that Ivey was no longer the...

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Josh Moon Blows The Whistle On LEAD Academy

Josh Moon has been an investigative reporter for years.  First for The Montgomery Advertiser, today he writes for The Alabama Political Reporter.  Never one to shy away from exposing the underbelly of political--and other-shenanigans--Moon lets the chips fall where...

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Charter Commission Grills Woodland Prep

The newly re-constituted state charter school commission met in Montgomery on Sept 30 and one thing is quite clear.  There is a new sheriff in town. The state school board replaced four incumbent commission members on Aug. 8, one of whom was chairman Mac Buttram. ...

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Things Montgomery Schools Should Consider

After thousands of miles and visits with countless teachers. principals and superintendents.  After sitting in school board meetings from one end of Alabama to the other (including some when I was a member of the Montgomery school board) and seeing it all from the...

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Our Thoughts And Prayers Are With Governor Ivey

Alabamians were shocked to get the news that Governor Kay Ivey is undergoing treatment for a cancerous spot on her lung.  I have said a prayer for her, as have people all across the state. Because we have all been touched by this disease in some form or fashion, while...

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Yes, There Really Is Goodness In This World

We can all be forgiven for thinking the world has truly gone to Hell since we are constantly bombarded by news of murders and mass shootings and politicians wasting our tax dollars, etc.  The drumbeat is unending. But then we learn about a restaurant in Brewton, AL...

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Black Belt Teacher Corps Making A Difference

One of the great joys of life is watching something go from only an idea to actuality.  Which is the way I view the Black Belt Teacher Corps at the University of West Alabama. This seed was planted in either late 2015 or early in 2016.  (Old minds have a habit of...

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A Technology Rant.

While I may be accused of many things, understanding--and using--technology is not one of them. Lord only knows how long I've had my old flip phone.  I do not text.  It does not take pictures.  My GPS is made of paper, unfolds and has lot of lines on it.  I use my...

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Time To Apply For Rural Grants

One of the fun things I do is serve on the board of the national Rural Schools Collaborative.  Our mission is to work with rural schools across the country on different programs.  This group has been especially helpful in getting the Black Belt Teacher Corps at the...

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Diane Ravitch Keeps An Eye On Alabama

Editor's note: Diane Ravitch is probably the best known voice in the U.S. who is a constant critic of what is today loosely clustered into "education reform."   A native of Houston, she is an education historian by training.  She was an assistant U.S. Secretary of...

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A Voice From Finland

For the last two decades, the world  has beaten a path to Finland's door to examine what many consider the world's best system of public education. William Doyle is a former Fulbright Scholar who was on the staff of the University of Eastern Finland a couple of years...

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Larry Lee researches and writes on educational topics and Alabama public schools.

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