Who Gave Us A-F Report Cards?

Now that the A-F school report cards are a reality (and tell us absolutely nothing that we did not already know) we need to remember how legislation becomes law. First you have a bill sponsor and co-sponsors. A-F was the brainchild of Rep.Terri Collins of Decatur in...

read more

Sometimes You Just Shake Your Head

It has been well-documented that for the past couple of years, the Alabama state board of education has not resembled a well-oiled machine.  Unfortunately it has spit and sputtered and lurched and bucked like Grandpa's old truck heading for its last roundup....

read more

A Really Neat Idea

I have long thought that "most wheels have been invented."  So I have spent many, many years looking for them.  In other words, what was someone doing that was worthy of being shared with others. My first job out of Auburn University, back about the time the earth...

read more

The Birthday I Have Been Dreading

75.  Seven decades and half of another one.  Half a century plus a quarter of a century.  Fourteen presidents.  It becomes official on Jan. 21. How in the world did this happen?  Why it was just a few days ago I had a full head of hair, wore pants with a much smaller...

read more

Snow School Today

My little front yard in Montgomery is a blanket of white this Wednesday morning as Mother Nature sprinkled between one to two inches of snow during the night.  And not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse. Nothing is moving and  I've yet to see the youngsters...

read more

When The Light Comes On

Editor's note:  My friend Wendy Lang is a former teacher who lives in Decatur.  She works for the Alabama Education Association as a uniserv district director and is a weekly columnist for the Decatur Daily.  Here are some reflections from her. Educators often have a...

read more

This Time Montgomery Mayor Gets It Right

A few days ago we took Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange to task for his plan to turn to charter schools to solve Montgomery's education woes.  In our opinion, he is ignoring deep-rooted issues and is hoping for a "quick fix" instead. But earlier this past week, he came...

read more

UWA Increases Rural Impact

My friends at the University of West Alabama continue to carve their niche as the four-year school that has help for rural areas as a key mission. Now they have announced plans for offering its first doctoral program in the near future. Pending approval from its...

read more

Here Comes Terri Collins–Again

Bless her heart, here comes Representative Terri Collins, chair of the house education policy committee, with a bill to change how the state board of education operates.  Here is the AL.com article describing what Collins has in mind. In 2012 the legislature passed...

read more

Montgomery Finally Gets Some Good News

After 12 months of limbo, the Montgomery County school board has gotten court-authorized approval to hire an interim superintendent within 30 days and a permanent superintendent by May 30. The system went under state intervention in January 2017 and has not had a...

read more

Montgomery Mayor Just Doesn’t Get It

According to the Montgomery Advertiser Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange now has a vision of a series of charter schools being the salvation of education in the capital city.  (Before he goes too far down this trail he would be smart to check in with Washington DC and New...

read more

You Could See This One Coming

Given all the commotion and twists and turns, not to mention law suits and investigations, swirling around the state school board in the last 18-24 months, it was dog gone near inevitable that legislation would surface for the upcoming session designed to re-structure...

read more

A Boy Called Sully

We'll just call him Sully, because that's what everyone else calls him.  Except on those occasions when his mother, as mamas sometimes do, calls him by his given name of Sullivan. He is in the third-grade and is 110 percent boy.  He is not allergic to sweat or dirt,...

read more

What Is Education?

As I have wandered in the "education" wilderness for the past few years, I have asked over and over again, "What is education?"  What makes an "educated" person different from one who is "un-educated?"  If we ask 100 parents what benefit do they expect their children...

read more

2017 In My Rear View Mirror

Since media everywhere are re-counting the events of 2017, we might as well join in.  Maybe I should call it the "Redneck Review." It was another year of running the roads as I drove more than 19,000 miles visiting educators and schools, from Bridgeport to Mobile. ...

read more

A Large Helping Of Nonsense

We often come across some statement or an article that is basically unbelievable  Normally I just blow it off by saying, "Who in their right mind would fall for that?" But sometimes I happen upon something I just can't put aside.  Here is a fine example.  A recent...

read more

Time To Grade Legislators

Within a few weeks each public school in Alabama will receive a letter grade of A through F.  Why? Because the legislature passed a law in 2012 saying that we would.  The system that is about to be used is flawed and then some.  It is using unreliable data in ways it...

read more

The Season Of Giving

To me, Christmas has long seemed more about giving thanks than anything else.  It's when I look around and consider the true wealth and great fortune that have come my way.  It is definitely not about what gifts I might receive wrapped in bright paper and curly...

read more

The Year In Review

It is that time of the year when we take a deep breathe and look back at the last 12 months as we wait for the holidays to wind down and football bowl games to end. So what did you good reader find most interesting on this little blog as judged by the number of "hits"...

read more

Over The River And Through The Woods

Dog gone if I know how it happened, but I am about to take in the sights and sounds of my 75th Christmas.  (Like you I'm sure, I didn't believe it either until I scratched it all out on a piece of paper.)  And I look forward to sharing with family next week in North...

read more

Why Did Doug Jones Win?

Because his name was not Roy Moore. While it sounds overly simplistic, the primary reason Democrat Doug Jones stunned the political world in Alabama's Dec. 12 special election for U.S. Senate was because he was not the other guy. This is not to take anything away from...

read more

Score One For Sweet Water

I am a sucker for stories about out-of-the-way places.  So when I came across this excellent piece by Joseph Goodman of AL.com about tiny Sweet Water in Marengo County, I had to take a peek. The story was about this small 1A high school and their quest to win a state...

read more

Tis The Season

In "normal" times any article written in December with the head line above would be referring to the Christmas season.  But these are not "normal" times in Alabama as we are only two days away from ending the complete and absolute madness masquerading as a special...

read more

Again, Research Shows Vouchers Fall Short

One thing I learned long ago is that many lawmakers don't let facts get in their way when pushing a pet project.  This is especially true when it comes to school vouchers, such as those done through the Alabama Accountability Act, even though their merit has been...

read more

Christmas Cheer From Phil Campbell

There are many places in Alabama we fondly describe as "you can't get there from here."  One that certainly fits this observation is Phil Campbell, a community of about 1,000 kindly souls tucked into the southeast corner of Franklin County. I became familiar with Phil...

read more

The Most Amazing Person In Alabama

At this point you are probably expecting a drum roll.  Sorry to disappoint you.  Though I'm sure the person I am about to tell you about would appreciate it. My longtime friend Ron Gilbert is my nominee for the Most Amazing Person in Alabama. Ron who you ask? The guy...

read more

Auburn Flags Are Flying

This is not a non-partisan post.  When it comes to picking an allegiance on the football field (or the basketball court of in swimming or tic-tac-toe) I am orange and blue through and through. I have wonderful friends who graduated from the University of Alabama.  I...

read more

Thanksgiving Thoughts

It's the one day of the year when we are supposed to pause between visits with kin folks, swigs of sweet iced tea and bites of pecan pie to truly count our blessings.  To me this means truly reflecting for a while on how blessed most of us are and who plays a large...

read more

A Unique Perspective On The Iron Bowl

While the rest of the country considers this the week of Thanksgiving, in Alabama it is known as the week of the Iron Bowl.  My son Kevin, who writes for the weekly Mobile newspaper Lagniappe, came up with the following concerning this rivalry between Auburn and...

read more

Heading For The Hills

Ten minutes of watching any cable news channel these days will easily convince you that the world is quickly going to hell and we're all just bystanders.  The shrillness of the back and forth between the "good" guys and the "bad" guys is deafening.  Antics of...

read more

A Clear, Crisp Night In Georgiana

Tomorrow 90,000 people will cram into Jordan-Hare stadium on the Auburn University campus to watch Auburn play the University of Georgia.  It is the South's oldest football rivalry, going back to 1892 when Auburn won 10-0. It will be a spectacle  An orgy displaying...

read more

Montgomery Intervention. From Bad To Worse.

If anyone ever does a case study of how NOT to handle a local school system intervention, there probably is no better example than what has been going on with the Montgomery County system since last January. This has been a train wreck from the moment Mike Sentance...

read more

Politicians Say The Damnest Things

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...

read more

Legislature Begins Budget Process

With the next regular legislative session less than three months away, the House Ways & Means Education committee started work today (Oct. 25).  It is a massive job to put together a $6+ billion budget.  And chairman Bill Poole and the other 13 committee members spend...

read more

Montgomery. We Have A Problem.

Though there are still a few die-hards trying to defend Mike Sentence, anyone who has paid attention to the Montgomery school intervention begun by him has gotten an up close and personal look at how incompetent he really was.. Sentence hired Jermall Wright from...

read more

A Picture Is Worth A 1,000 Words

We recently blogged about the need for young children to have time to themselves, and their friends.  Times that are not regimented and organized by adults. Times when curious young minds explore the world around them.  Times when clothes get dirty and make-believe...

read more

Time To Learn From Our Mistakes

Editor's note: We will soon start a new state superintendent search.  In getting ready for the search that brought us Mike Sentance in 2016, I surveyed a number of local superintendents for their thoughts about what we should look for.  Unfortunately their voices were...

read more

Judge Sends Pouncey Suit To Mediation

Jefferson County superintendent Craig Pouncey filed a lawsuit earlier this year against former interim state superintendent Phillip Cleveland, state school board member Mary Scott Hunter and three state department attorneys contending that they conspired to make sure...

read more

You Are Not Seeing Double

Sunday night I finished my article about visiting schools in Jackson County last week and hit the "publish" button.  However. this morning I discovered that for some reason, only about one-third of the piece was published. So I began to search for the lost article,...

read more

A Day In Jackson County

Jackson County sprawls across more than 1,000 square miles of some of the most scenic land in Alabama, adjacent to Tennessee in the northeast corner of the state.  It is home to more than 50,000 people and straddles the Tennessee River, overlooked by breath-taking...

read more

And A Grand Time Was Had By All

Sixty years ago this morning a 9th grader stood at the intersection of Padgett-Switch and Half Mile roads in south Mobile County waiting for the school bus to take him to Theodore high. When he climbed aboard a 9th grade girl was sitting in her seat, having gotten on...

read more

Jermall Jumps Ship

One of Mike Sentance's early hires was Jermall Wright of Philadelphia, PA.  Sentance told the state school board in March that Wright would head the new office of school improvement/intervention.  The superintendent gushed about Wright, "He has an amazing set of...

read more

Alabama Leads Nation In AP Growth

Tis the season of high school pep rallies.  But a recent one at Russellville high school was not about football.  Instead, it was to celebrate that the school is one of the first in Alabama to be named an A+ College Ready "School of Excellence." The recognition is due...

read more

Reflections

Now that we have turned a page on the long-running saga "Mr. Sentance Goes To Alabama," it seems fitting to pause and look back at what could be the script for a reality show. Best suggestion for a question to ask at interview for state superintendent.  Before the...

read more

The Silly Season Is Here

In the waning days of any hotly contested political campaign the rhetoric goes up about 1000 percent and the charges hurled back and forth become more outlandish.  I call it the "silly season." Looking for an example?  How about the runoff election in the Republican...

read more

The Thrill Of Growing Old

OK.  About mid-morning today my old flip phone rings and I have a nice conversation with an old friend.  Then comes lunch time and I'm ready to go find a restaurant and, of course, will take my phone with me. But only if I can find the dadgummed thing. I spend 30-45...

read more

Who Can We Believe?

About mid-afternoon Friday a comment shows up on my blog from Jermall Wright, who Alabama taxpayers pay $168,621 annually to work at the state department of education with "turnaround schools."  He politely informed me that some of the information I wrote in my post...

read more

Have You Emailed Governor Ivey?

One of the things Governor Ivey said she wanted to do when she took office in the spring was to "right the ship of state" and see that taxpayers are getting what they deserve in how state agencies are being operated. That being the case, all she has to do is visit the...

read more

UWA Hosts Rural Education Meeting

If you are involved in rural education in any form or fashion, you need to mark September 18-20 on your calendar and plan to be at the University of West Alabama in Livingston for their rural education conference. This event will focus on place-based education which...

read more

Stop The Presses

An earlier post asked parents and educators to contact Governor Ivey and express their concern about the situation at the state department of education. Unfortunately I have just learned that the email address published for the governor was wrong, in fact a staff...

read more

Who Will Speak For The Children?

Whether some realize it or not, there is a battle going on right now in Alabama for the soul of public education.  Actually it has been going on for months, but has intensified greatly in recent days. The line in the sand is plain. On one side is an embattled state...

read more

Going Off The Grid

Even old folks need a break  every now and then.  Especially when most of your time is spent being dumbfounded by the insanity surrounding public education these days. For me, that usually means aiming my 18-year old car down a country road.  A few days ago my...

read more

Sentance Having Money Problems

News that the state department of education's projected operating budget for next year presently has a deficit of $8,028,074 fell on board members like an anvil last week. Andy Craig is the chief money man for the department.  He revealed that at the moment, the...

read more

Blood Is In The Water, Fasten Your Seat Belt

It looks more and more as if embattled state superintendent Mike Sentance has drawn the line in the sand.  He is on one side, most members of the state school board are on the other. And those who support Sentance are going on the attack.  Apparently their strategy is...

read more

The Miracles We Never Talk About

Casey Davis works in the central office of the Tallapoosa County school system.  Below is the story he shared with superintendent Joe Windle about a former student and how training she got while going to classes at Edward Bell Career Technical Center were recently put...

read more

Governor’s Lawyer Cherry Picks Alabama Code

Interpreting the law can be tricky business.  Especially when you are highlighting things you like, while ignoring things you don't like. Which is what Bryan Taylor, Governor Ivey's legal counsel, is doing. Last week Taylor fired off a letter to the state school board...

read more

The DIBELS Debacle

DIBELS stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills and is composed of six measures that function as indicators of the essential skills that every child must master to become a proficient reader. Though not all Alabama school systems use DIBELS, many...

read more

Donate using paypal

If you would like to support the efforts of this blog, you may do so here. Thank you.

Subscribe Via Email!

Categories

Recent Posts