55 Years Ago Today

It was a Saturday.  I was at the Mobile Infirmary in a waiting room studying German, having just begun my 4th quarter at Auburn.  I was waiting on my son Kevin to make his first appearance in this world. The doctor had predicted that he would be born in late December,...

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Time To Let Us Hear From You

We put up a brand new survey 36 hours ago to get feedback concerning the Alabama Accountability Act.  This law was passed in 2013 and, to say the least, has been rather controversial because it diverts money from the state Education Trust Fund to be used to provide...

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New School Reports Are Out. Now What?

Report cards for 1,300 Alabama schools are now out.  Their release brought the usual amount of fluttering about from educators and politicians.  In brief, general improvement was seen across the landscape with more districts earning A's and B's than previously. Trish...

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Sully’s Science Project

Let's begin the New Year on a light-hearted note and what better way to do that than checking in with our fourth grade buddy Sully, down in Baldwin County. Couple things you need to know about Sully, like most young boys, he is not big into taking a shower and for...

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A Tip Of The Hat

Let's shut the door on 2018 on a couple of upbeat notes. KUDOS TO GOVERNOR KAY A few days ago I bragged on my son Kevin and the excellent article he wrote for the Lagniappe publication in Mobile about receiving one of his great grandmother's quilts. Somehow the...

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2018 In The Rearview Mirror

With Christmas over and the New Year almost upon us, thought I would take a moment to look back at the year that just was.  :Like them all, it had highs and lows and left memories both good and bad. In digging through records, I find that I drove more than 11,000...

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You Broke My Baton

Funny how our minds tuck away little bits and pieces of our past, only to be easily jogged into our consciousness years later  So it was on my recent trip to Wisconsin.  I was headed north on I-39 when a few miles across the Illinois-Wisconsin state line a sign let me...

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A $10,000 Smile

Members of the Morgan County Education Association gathered recently for some holiday season fun and fellowship.  There was laughter, hugs, food, best wishes for a grand season and even a speech by an old fat guy.  (No. not Santa.) Three guests, Tammy Slappey, June...

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Former Baldwin Board Member Has His Say

David Tarwater served for six years on the Baldwin County board of education.  He did not seek re-election this year.  In October, he introduced a resolution, which the board passed, calling for the repeal of the Alabama Accountability Act.  (Baldwin County was the...

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Not A Death In The Family–But Almost

There are things we all know will eventually happen--still we're never quite ready when the time comes. Which is the way I felt when an email showed up in my inbox telling me that my little-hole-in-he-wall Italian restaurant on South Court Street in Montgomery,...

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A Real Note From A Real Teacher

We've mentioned the web site DonorsChoose a number of times.  This is where teachers describe a project they are trying to fund, the things they need and how much it will all cost.  I highly recommend you taking a look at it.  You can search by state and by city and...

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A Lesson In Manipulating Numbers

Just 12 months ago Ed Richardson was the interim state superintendent and since the state had intervened in the Montgomery County system, he was also the "czar" of this system.  He constantly painted an extremely bleak future for MPS.  One of his favorite things to do...

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A Christmas Memory From Lawrence County

Among other things, tis the season for memories.  And as we grow older, memories become ever more precious to us.  We recall small lessons we learned that stayed with us a lifetime. Bill King is a retired educator from Lawrence County.  He shares a Christmas memory he...

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A Wonderful Story Of Inspiration

There is good all around us.  Don't think so?  Then read this article in The Gadsden Times about Crystal Casey and the long road she has traveled to get a college education.  It's a story about the inner strength of someone who started life on a very bumpy road and...

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Circling The Bases On A Friday

THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all who sent an email note or commented on FB about the article son Kevin wrote about the quilts he recently received.  I got dozens and dozens.  Kevin definitely touched many hearts with this well-written piece. And me being a male and...

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A Proud Pappy

My son Kevin lives in Mobile and writes for the weekly publication Lagniappe.  And though daddies are supposed to be biased, I can say with all sincerity that he is an excellent writer.  Read the following just published piece and make up your own mind. "The best gift...

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Elvis Is Back. And Thawing Out.

Madison, WI is in SOUTHERN Wisconsin,  Like only about 50 miles from Illinois.  By comparison, it is 300 miles from Madison to Ashland on the state's northern border.  Still, it was 19 degrees last Friday morning in Madison.  I have no idea what the temperature was in...

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Elvis Is Leaving The Building

Your trusty and ancient blogger will be AWOL for several days as I head for the frozen tundra of Madison, WI,  The purpose in going is to attend a meeting of the Wisconsin Public Education Network Dec. 7. This is basically a collation of local public school advocacy...

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Jo Bonner Comes To Montgomery

Governor Kay Ivey has just announced that former Congressman, Jo Bonner, is joining her staff as "senior advisor."  In my opinion,  this is great news for the people of Alabama. I have known Jo since 1982.  And if I could sum him up in just one word, it would be...

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Back To The Beginning

It has now been almost six years since the legislature pulled a "fast one" on public education in Alabama by passing the Alabama Accountability Act.  And with more and more people realizing that the bill has never been what it was touted to be, I thought it might be...

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The Iron Bowl And Education

As I watched the team in white (Auburn) get methodically picked apart by the team in red (Alabama) last Saturday to the tune of 52 points to 21 points, I couldn't help but equate this to a situation unfolding in Montgomery about charter schools. What IF the two teams...

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My Suggestion For A Christmas Gift

While some may call me Scrooge, I can not remember the last time I shopped for a Christmas gift for someone.  I mean like where you buy something, wrap it up and give it to them. It's because I long ago decided that those who mean the most to me basically have about...

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Vouchers Take A Beating In Texas

Some Texas legislators have been pushing school vouchers for years.  (You know, like those scholarships we give to private schools in Alabama through the Alabama Accountability Act.)  And while the Senate has been friendly to the idea, the House of Representatives has...

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Riding and Reflecting

It was Oct 31, 2018.  A gloriously bright and mild day.  The day I decided summer had finally given up its too-long grip on all of Dixie.  My car  window was down as I passed sights seen many times before. I was on U.S. 80 heading west from Montgomery. ...

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It’s Time For Another Iron Bowl

Next Saturday, Nov. 24, the state of Alabama will come to a virtual standstill to tune in the annual football game between Auburn and Alabama.  If college football is a religion in Alabama, and I think it is, next Saturday is the holiest of holy days. The University...

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Bless His Heart

The PTOs of Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook city school systems held their 14th annual PTO Legislative Forum the evening of Nov. 15.  All legislators representing this area attended.  They included State Senators Jabo Waggoner and Dan Roberts and House members David...

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Things That Make You Go “Hmmmmmmm”

Recently the Montgomery County school board (which I am on until the end of November) passed a resolution calling on our legislative delegation to work to repeal the Alabama Accountability Act.  The Baldwin County board had already passed a resolution and now Mobile...

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Is Bureaucracy Killing Our Schools?

Sometimes I wonder if educators read this blog.  But then I post a story like this one and I have my answer. Suddenly my inbox is swamped as educators from every corner of Alabama chime in to agree with me.  Their frustration with the constant search for a "silver...

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Looking At Members Of 2019 Legislature

With the general election now over, we at least know who the brand new members of both the Alabama House and Senate will be.  There will be 12 new Senators and 28 new House members. Actually, three of the Senators are former House members moving to the other chamber. ...

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Initiative Overload

A friend recently told me about something that grabbed my attention.  And made a great deal of sense. She called it "initiative overload."  Meaning that we bombard educators with first this initiative and then that one.  The poor folks in classrooms and who runs...

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Thoughts On Tuesday’s Election

Since most of us have now thanked the Good Lord that another election day has come and gone and we've had time to take a deep breathe, let's spend a few minutes reflecting on what happened across Alabama. A few days ago I posted that I would be watching five...

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Dig Where The Taters Are

After posting the piece about Republican candidates getting campaign contributions from the PAC, Alabama Voice of Teachers for Education, a number of emails showed up in my inbox with folks wondering what is going on and if giving to people who have traditionally...

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Hollywood Comes To Cullman County

Sometimes you are just dumbfounded.  Like when you read this amazing AL.com article about what just happened at Parkside school in the east end of Cullman County. It began when some teachers at the school birthed the notion to redo their rooms as Hogwarts-themed...

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Del Marsh Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

We told you that the Montgomery school board passed a resolution last week calling on local legislators to repeal the Alabama Accountability Act.  This came after Baldwin County did the same the week before that. Now the Montgomery Advertiser has written an article...

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Looking At 2019 Political Reality

When the Alabama Accountability Act passed the legislature in 2013, the Senate vote was 22-11 and the House vote was 51-26.  And though that was just five years ago, in the world of politics, it was long ago.  We have now had an election in 2014 and are having another...

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Touching A Nerve

Since in my case, seeing is believing, when I heard that the Baldwin County school board was to pass a resolution on Oct  18 calling for repeal of the Alabama Accountability Act, I climbed in my 19-year old car and headed toward Bay Minette. Sure enough, right on...

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Voices From The Classroom

My buddy Shannon Odom is principal of Gilmore elementary in Jackson and has been for a number of years.  She and her cohort in crime, Kathy Spidle, principal at Grove Hill elementary, keep Clarke County superintendent Larry Bagley on his toes. I kid Shannon that her...

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A Definite Glimpse At Dedication

In the grand scheme of national affairs, or even those of Alabama, the PTA meeting at Vaughn Road elementary in Montgomery on Oct. 9 didn't make news of any sort.  Fox News was not there, nor even a local TV station or newspaper reporter.  Just some dedicated teachers...

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All I Want For Christmas Is One Front Tooth

So last Sunday I'm at the BBQ joint around the corner treating myself to some ribs.  About halfway through the last one, I chomped down on something that definitely was not meat.  I rolled it around in my mouth and decided to face the music and check it out more...

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Dothan Eagle Questions Accountability Act

Under the headline: $30 M should produce dramatic results, not indiscernible difference, the Dothan Eagle has joined the chorus of those questioning the value of the Alabama Accountability Act. Here's what they had to say recently: As Dothan school officials wrangle...

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A Fine Piece Of Writing

My son, Kevin, lives in Mobile and writes for the weekly publication, Lagniappe.  I am proud of him and his ability to tell a story.  He is a tireless researcher and digs hard to get those tiny facts and quotes that bring a story to life. On September 22, 1993 ,The...

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An Honest Look At Education Today

Raise Your Hand Texas is a public school advocacy group based in Austin.  Among the many things they are involved in is an on-going effort to tell the story of today's schools and what teachers are asked to cope with. As they say: "Being an educator in today’s schools...

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Honk If You Have Seen Jason Taylor

When then state superintendent Mike Sentence took over the Montgomery County school system early in 2017 one of his first moves was to sign a three-year. no-bid contract for $708,000 to bring Huntsville City school's Chief Financial Officer, Jason Taylor, to...

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Two Weeks And Counting

It has now been two weeks and two days (August 31) since I was sworn in to serve the remainder of a term on the Montgomery school board.  Of course, the view is always different on the inside looking out than on the outside looking in.  And so it is here. One of the...

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Father Time Taps Auburn Alum On The Shoulder

How many times have I been part of the multitude gathered in Auburn to watch a football game?  No earthy idea.  The first one was in the fall of 1961 back when Shug Jordan was coach and the stadium held about 40,000 people. No million dollar contracts for coaches, no...

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Tracking Montgomery County School Board Races

It seems the election for members of the Montgomery County school board is like the Energizer Bunny--it just keeps going and going and going. Actually they have been going since last Feb. 9 which was the last day for candidates to qualify. This board has seven members...

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Reinventing Education In West Alabama

The Black Belt has always been a study in contradictions.  Both bewitched and bewitching.  It was always the land that set the table for both wealth and grinding poverty. When Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793, the scramble for new lands to grow cotton was...

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50 Schools Split $1 Million

Fifty elementary schools throughout the state had lots of smiling faces this past week when it was announced that each would receive $20,000 because of improved third-grade reading results.  Funding was provided by the legislature in the 2018 session.  A ceremony will...

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Time To Go To Work

When the legislature convenes in January 2019, about 25 percent of both the Senate and House members will be new.  This is nearly 40 new faces (though there will be some current House members moving to the Senate.) This is a tremendous opportunity for education.  We...

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Did I Sleep Through High School?

Being alone for the better part of each day gives me plenty of time to think about all kinds of things.  Something I have pondered a lot is what is "education" supposed to be.  And I go back to my own days in grade school and high school.  (Yes, it's been a long time...

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The Prodigal Has Returned

Yes, there really is an Eiffel Tower in Paris, TN.  I have now seen it with my own eyes,  As well as the playground, swimming pool and tennis courts that surround it.  Granted, it is miniscule compared to the real one in France (which I have also seen live and in...

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Leaving The Reservation

Have changed the oil in my old car (the 1999 model with 125,000 miles on it) and about to hit the road.  So won't be on my keyboard for several days. Purpose of this wandering is to attend the board meeting of the Rural Schools Collaborative being held in St.; Louis. ...

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A Note From A Favorite Principal

I spent 30 minutes in the reception area of a middle school somewhere in Alabama yesterday.  It was basically bedlam.  Pre-schoolers scooting to and fro, mamas frantically looking for info about which school their child is supposed to attend, the phone ringing off the...

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Checking In On The Governor’s Race

Traditionally. campaigns for a November general election don't really kick off until Labor Day.  However, there doesn't seem to be much "traditional" about politics these days and because it's now just three months until Nov. 6th, let's peek at the governor's race...

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Some Housekeeping

A few days ago we mentioned that Tracey Meyer, longtime ALSDE employee who worked to keep up with legislative happenings, had begun a blog to highlight many of the positives about Alabama public schools. In order to keep up with what she has to say, you can go to this...

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A Beautiful Goodbye

I have never met J. L. Strickland in person.  But I do know he worked in the textile mills for many years in "the valley" where the Chattahoochee River becomes the Georgia-Alabama border.  And he is a heck of a story teller, which is important in order to be a good...

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Everyone Needs A Dean Simmons

I suppose it is only natural that when you realize you have far more yesterdays than tomorrows, you spend a lot of time thinking about the paths you have traveled in life and the people who made an impact on you. I graduated from high school in 1961 and headed off to...

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Do We Really Know What We Are Doing?

Ted Dintersmith made a LOT of money as a venture capitalist.  And because he has two children he became very interested in education in this country.  He has spent a lot of his time and money exploring what we are doing, both right and wrong.  He has looked at schools...

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Another Blog Comes On Line

Tracey Meyer is a familiar name to many in Alabama education circles.  She worked at the state department of education for almost two decades and for years was the "go to" person in working with the legislature.  She did an excellent job of tracking legislation and...

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

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