Here We Go Again

Any good All-American deep-fried "educrat" loves a good study.  About 150 pages on nice, shiny, slick paper, maybe with some charts and graphs tossed in.  Something that will look good when you hand them out at a press conference.  And that will still look pristine a...

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What Makes Children Special

We all know children are special.  But from time to time we need to be reminded of just how special.  So I stole this from Facebook. What Love means to 4-8-year-old kids A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds 'What does love...

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A Special Invitation

I have mentioned the book, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard, a number of times.  It has made a big impact on the way I now view this country and the very meaningful regional differences that impact our...

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From Kansas With Love

We've all been heartened recently by stories of fellow citizens and their acts of kindness and charity during the pandemic.  Here is one from the Washington Post that got my attention.  For one, it's about farmer Dennis Ruhnke of northeast Kansas.  Secondly, it was...

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Remembering Ms. Lanning

Our friend Wendy Lang from Decatur takes us back many decades to a Birmingham kindergarten class and her teacher, Ms. Lanning.  It's a trip most of us could take, back to our own Ms. Lanning, someone who touched our young lives in special ways and enriched us far more...

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I Wish I Had Written This

Frances Coleman has been a friend for many years.  I met her when she wrote editorials for the old Mobile Press Register, way back in the day when newspapers were printed on paper and were available every day of the week.  A time that now seems so long ago that cars...

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A Tiger Among Us

Recently I did a short piece about Medal of Honor winner Bennie Adkins of Opelika being a victim of the coronavirus.  I largely relied on info that Troy Turner, editor of the Opelika-Auburn News, wrote.  In fact, it was Troy's article that told me my friend of many...

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To Zoom Or Not To Zoom

Once again I have come face to face with new-fangled technology and as is always the case, tech won and I lost. Due to the pandemic, face-to-face meetings are being replaced by virtual get togethers.  I'm told these may be done with Google Hangouts, Skype, Facetime or...

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“Blue State Bailout”

You got to love U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Republican majority leader of the Senate.  That is if you look up to someone who epitomizes all that is wrong with Washington these days. With governors and local officials wondering how they will keep their...

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A Story That Needs To Be Told

America lost an honest-to-goodness war hero last week when Command Sgt. Major Bennie Adkins passed away in Opelika after contracting the coronavirus.  There are fewer than 100 living Medal of Honor recipients in the U.S.  Adkins was one of them. Adkins was recognized...

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Need Your Feedback

As everyone scrambles to insure that help from Washington is put to the best possible use, your input on how best to use money from the CARES Act for k-12 education is needed.  In this case, the total amount for Alabama would exceed $250 million. Go here to give your...

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An Excellent Primer On Virus Testing

Like everyone else, I have followed all the discussion about testing to see who has the coronavirus, and who does not, with great interest.  All the health experts I've heard (this does not include politicians and TV talking heads) say more widespread and accurate...

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Living In A Pandemic

The only sound in my bedroom comes from the clock.  Tick tock.  Tick tock.  Tick tock. Second by lonely second, time comes and goes.  And in that exact moment, somewhere in this world a baby drew their first breathe and someone breathed their last one.  While all of...

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Woodland Prep. Fake Charter School Lives On.

Drive by any school in Alabama (during more normal times) and what do you expect to find?  Classrooms.  Students.  Teachers. Textbooks.  Computers.  A curriculum.  Someone in charge. But nearly two years after the Alabama charter school commission gave the go ahead to...

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To Keep You From Losing Your Mind

Editor's note: I did not write the following.  Rather, "borrowed" it from a cousin's Facebook page.  Wish I had written it.  You will love the last line.  Enjoy. Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks. The other half will come out with a...

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Who Got My Toilet Paper?

Like most, I have been mightily baffled that toilet paper is almost non-existent these days.  That it, the kind most of us use in our bathroom at home. Then a couple of days ago I heard a reporter on TV talk about what he'd learned as to why there is a shortage.  I...

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Life In A Pandemic

As hard as it may be to believe, for the first time in my life I went to the grocery yesterday and bought salt and pepper.  You know, one of those little round packages with holes in the top.  Which means I can now scramble eggs and sprinkle salt and  pepper on them....

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Wisconsin Election: Pure Madness

Wisconsin's presidential primary election has long been scheduled for Tuesday, April 7.  Then the world was turned upside down by the virus pandemic. And in Wisconsin, all hell broke loose as the Democrat Governor, Tony Evers, and the Republican-controlled legislature...

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Stolen From Facebook

Social media is full of tributes to teachers these days from  parents realizing just how difficult their jobs are.  Here is one that got my attention: "Dear TEACHERS,, Next year, I don't care if you make the school supply list 10 pages long.  I'll get you whatever you...

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When Words Escape Me

NEVER in my 77 years has the United States faced a time as daunting as the one we now face.  Unbelievably it was just a month ago today (March 3, 2020) when Alabama went to the polls for our presidential primary.  That was the day voters slam dunked the attempt by the...

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Mean While, Back In Washington County

The South Oak Grove Baptist church has been a fixture in southwest Washington County since 1880.  It doubled as a school for nearly 60 years, until a school was built in nearby Fruitdale. Today it is a staging site for volunteers working to provide meals for local...

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Washington County Schools Need Help

Share the following note from John Dickey, Washington County school superintendent: Washington County School system is in dire need of latex gloves, hand sanitizer, and Lysol spray – Does anyone know of suppliers with inventory available? I will pick up if necessary....

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Words For These Troubled Times

Editor's note: Wendy Lang is a dear friend and former teacher in Decatur, AL.  She now works for the Alabama Education Association In Morgan and Winston counties.  She has also written a weekly column for her hometown Decatur Daily for years.  As you will see below,...

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Don’t Sell Teachers Short

Ken Buck lives in Indian Land, SC and is a member of the Lancaster County school board. Here is his tribute to teachers posted on Facebook: "We gave educators almost no notice. We asked them to completely redesign what school looks like and in about 24 hours local...

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In Praise Of Porches

Like most homes built in the 1930s and 40s, Grandpa's little wooden structure at Rt. 2 Red Level had a porch.  And a swing and some rocking chairs.  The swing was perpendicular to the road, so Grandpa sat in it with his back to the house and his feet to the road. ...

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Living In A Bad Dream

Like everyone else, I am caught up in a world of great uncertainty, unlike anything I can ever remember.  Both of my parents were children of the Great Depression, a time that marked this nation for decades  They were also young adults when the country undertook the...

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Rural Schools Get The Shaft

As reported by Yahoo News: Thanks to an under-the-radar bookkeeping change at the Department of Education, hundreds of rural schools across the US are set to lose vital funds. As reported in the New York Times, the department has changed the eligibility criteria for...

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Internet Warning

While I am definitely low tech and challenged by most things electronic, that is not the case with my daughter Kim.  So when she passes along info, I pay attention. In light of the chaos and confusion about coronavirus, I share this info Kim shared with me. Beware of...

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When You Know The World Has Passed You By

I freely acknowledge that much of today's world is one I do not understand--or relate to. Alexia does not sit on my coffee table waiting for me to issue a command.  My GPS is this big piece of paper that is sometimes hard to refold and has lots of lines on it and...

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Who Is After Del Marsh?

Like you, I get tons of email (and I send tons as well).  I try my best to "screen" it.  Like the notes from a foreign country saying their great-grandfather was the prime minister of such and such and if I respond I will be fabulously wealthy.  Those get deleted...

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15 Minutes With The Governor

Recently I asked educators across the state what they would tell Governor Kay Ivey if they had 15 minutes to meet with her.  Answers came from retired superintendents, current superintendents, principals, teachers and school board members. They were well thought out...

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Thoughts On Amendment One Battle

While I was hopeful that Amendment One would fail, never did I imagine that it's defeat would be so overwhelming.  A 10 point defeat of 55-45 is considered decisive. But a 50 point shellacking of 75-25 like the voters gave to Amendment One is virtually unheard of....

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Amendment One Crashes And Burns

As I write this late on Tuesday night, March 3rd, Amendment One is losing by a margin of 76 percent to 24 percent. That is not just a defeat, it is having your heart jerked out and stomped flat. From one end of the state to the other, folks said emphatically that they...

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The Dishonesty Of NAEP Scores

Alabama voters have been bombarded incessantly for weeks by politicians screaming about our low test scores and how the sky is falling. HOWEVER,  not one of these lawmakers who are so quick to throw stones at school teachers and administrators have been honest enough...

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Don’t Be Fooled

The March 3rd vote on Amendment One, that will switch Alabama to an appointed state school board if approved, is not about education. It is about control. The old-fashioned kind that is fueled by lots and lots of money. How else do you explain that special interests,...

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Big Mules Add More Cash

A few days ago we told you that a handful of special interests had raised $225,000 to fuel a campaign to get Amendment One passed.  But as of Feb. 24, the Secretary of State's web site shows this has now grown to $446,000. Why are these people trying to buy a new...

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Some Things Never Change

When I did the recent post about the Big Mules rounding up hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to pass Amendment One and interject even more politics into our public schools, I immediately thought of a piece  I did last fall with the title, George Wallace Was...

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Here Come The Big Mules

It was bound to happen. "It" being a campaign fueled by mega bucks from some of the state's major political action committees in an effort to pass Amendment One. The Alabama Farmers Federation organized "Yes For The Best Education" effort.  They kicked things off with...

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More To Mississippi “Success” Than Meets The Eye

Editor's note:  When results of the most recent National Assement of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores were released, folks far and wide gave Mississippi accolades for drastically increasing their scores.  This was especally true here in Alabama where politicians...

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A Lesson In Civility

As already mentioned here, Sunday afternoon Feb. 9 I participated in a League of Women  Voters forum in Dothan to debate the pros and cons of Amendment One.  I opposed the measure.  Senator Greg Albritton from Atmore supported it. I had done my homework and so had...

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“Let Us Go To Dothan”

Editor's note:  Genesis tells us the story of Joseph looking for his brothers and being told that they went to Dothan.  So, like Joseph, Sunday afternoon Feb. 9 I went to Dothan.  But I was looking for a forum conducted by the Southeast Alabama League of Women Voters...

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Dothan Eagle Leery Of Amendment One

The Dothan Eagle put in a plug for the forum the Southeast Alabama League of Women Voters held Sunday afternoon, Feb. 9.  They urged locals to turn out to learn more.  (I was honored to be one of the two presenters.) However, the newspaper made no bones about the fact...

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More Bad News For Woodland Prep

Circuit Judge Gaines McCorquodale issued his ruling Feb 4 on Woodland Prep's motion to dismiss a law suit against them. The motion was denied and the suit now moves forward. The Alabama Education Association filed suit last August against Soner Tarim, the Texas-based...

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You Can’t Have It Both Ways

There are 138 school systems in Alabama.  All 67 counties have one, then there are another 71 local community systems.  All are different.  All have different resources and different challenges. They range from Mobile County with an enrollment of 52,741 to Linden with...

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LEAD Academy Charter Can’t Win For Losing

The news for Montgomery's LEAD Academy charter school has become a broken record.  One bad news story after another. This time The Montgomery Advertiser published a story on Jan. 28 that LEAD's education guru, Soner Tarim of Houston, is no longer involved with the...

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Have You Completed The Survey?

With the March 3 vote on Amendment One rapidly approaching, we're taking a final look at how folks feel. A YES vote will switch Alabama from an elected state school board, to one appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state senate.  A NO vote will continue the...

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How Much Longer Does This Sham Go On?

OK.  Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am not an impartial observer.  This is especially true when I talk about the charter school fiasco in Washington County. And after more than 60 posts about this mess, numerous trips to the county and conversations with...

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Birthday Thoughts

Yep, as of 5:23 p.m. on Jan. 21 I have now survived for 77 years and am now starting on my 78th.  (I looked at my birth certificate to get the time.) I am truly, truly thankful for the dozens and dozens and dozens of emails, phone calls and Facebook messages I...

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

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