Need A Good Job? Run Some Charter Schools.

California has long been a hot bed for charter schools.  As of the 2017-18 school year, there were charters in 54 of the state's 58 counties with more than 628,000 students. And some of the folks running these schools are making out like bandits according to the San...

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The $64 Question

Once upon a time it was common to hear someone say, "That's the $64 question."  Meaning that this was the question no one could answer.  As in, "How does your mama make such great biscuits?"  In my case, even mama could not answer this question because there was no...

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Wow. Wish I Had Said This.

My retired teacher friend, Linda Slayton, in Clarke County sent me a post from Facebook that sums well up educational policy today.  She did not know the author. "So let me get this straight: You have to student teach before you teach, teach before you enter...

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Me And Washington County

My first post about the Washington County charter mess was on April 10, 2019.  I had no clue about what was going on in southwest Alabama until just a few days before this.  Someone mentioned there was an effort to open a charter there and I contacted the charter...

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Dig Where The Taters Are

Long ago a friend loved to say, "You got to dig where the taters are."  In other words, you have to have a market to be successful. But numbers from the University of Alabama tell us there are not many taters where Woodland Prep in Washington County is trying to dig. ...

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Turmoil Amidst The Pines

It’s reasonable to think there might be some controversy about any new school. Maybe where it is located, what it is named, who the principal may be, what courses will be taught? But seldom do you expect the wholesale turmoil that hit rural Washington County, AL when...

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All Alone In A Cold Cruel World

Winston County is a small, rural county in northwest Alabama.  Double Springs, with just over 1,000 residents, is the county seat.  Its "claim to fame" is the fact that citizens here were very opposed to Alabama withdrawing from the Union during the Civil War.  When...

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As Wide As The Grand Canyon

Last week we posted a survey asking how folks feel about having an elected state school board versus an appointed one.  (Voters will tackle this issue by voting on a constitutional  amendment March 3, 2020.) More than 1,100 people responded.  Here was our initial look...

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Legislature Ignoring Charter School Law

Our Montgomery lawmakers often labor long and hard at drafting a bill--and then ignoring what they wrote later on.  There is no better example of this than the charter school law sponsored by Senator Del Marsh and passed in 2015. This law sets up a 10-member charter...

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Need More Survey Feedback. Please Help.

We posted a survey on July 2 asking readers how they feel about an elected vs. an appointed state school board.  Response was tremendous as more than 1,000 answered the survey, even though we were bumping heads with the 4th of July. The vote was overwhelmingly opposed...

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Too Many Questions, Too Few Answers

As the debacle with Woodland Prep in Washington County continues and as the state charter commission resembles a lap dog more than a watch dog, questions keep piling up in my mind. Soner Tarim, the self-proclaimed education guru from Texas, who owns Unity School...

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Geraldine Student Best In Nation

Highway 75 cuts through the Sand Mountain portion of DeKalb County like a good butcher knife slices a ripe watermelon.  Going north from Marshall County you go through Geraldine, Lakeview, Fyffe, Shiloh, Rainsville, Sylvania, Henager, Ider and on into Georgia.  Add...

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The Miracles Of Marshall County

It’s doubtful that many who zip by Douglas high school on Highway 75, nine miles south of Albertville, realize they are passing a place where miracles truly do happen. A community of just 1,000, Douglas sits atop the spit of land in northeast Alabama known as Sand...

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Notes From A Quick Trip To Texas

I made it to the luncheon held by Pastors For Texas Children in Dallas June 17 safe and sound.  And home again to Montgomery.  A quick,  but fruitful, trip and glad I went.  I have mentioned this organization several times.  Begun a few years ago by Baptist minister...

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Heading West

From time to time I have mentioned my friend, Charlie Johnson of Fort Worth, TX and the group he started a few years ago, Pastors for Texas Children.  This effort encourages churches to partner with local schools, as well as advocate for them.  They now have more than...

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“I Just Feel So Unnecessary”

Once again I show my age because the headline quote was a favorite of the country musician-comic known as Stringbean.  Years ago he was a regular on the Grand Ole Opry and later on the TV show Hee Haw. His words definitely seem to fit the world of public schools we...

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The Stories We All Love

Too often lost in all the ranting and raving about what goes on at the statehouse or the charter school commission or the state board of education are wonderful stories of  what REALY COUNT when it comes to education.  Stories that are uplifting and show the...

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Catching Up With Richard Bryant

The phone rang at 10:15 p.m. Sunday night.  My first reaction was, "Who in the world is calling at this time of night?"  When I saw that the my cell phone screen said UNAVAILABLE I was really curious.  I immediately thought there was no way this was good news. But I...

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All Eyes Turn To State School Board

Because terms of five current members of the state charter school commission expired May 31 and because the final selection of who serves on this board belong to the state board of education, people across Alabama will be closely watching who they pick for these seats...

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A Celebration Of Perseverance

Even though it was a Monday afternoon, the sanctuary of Freewill Missionary Baptist Church in west Montgomery was full.  There were  mamas and daddies and brothers and sisters and friends--and 12 teenagers in the first two rows in cap and gown. It was not an arena...

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Does Soner Tarim Read His Own Words?

Last week, Soner Traim, spoke to the Texas version of the Alabama  charter school commission, seeking approval of eight new charter schools in Texas.  (As anyone reading this blog on a regular basis knows, Tarim has the management  contract for both the Woodland Prep...

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Washington County Hits Montgomery With A Bang

You knew something was up when the big charter bus pulled up to the Gordon Persons building, the home of the state department of education in Montgomery, the morning of May 9.  The same day as a state board of education meeting.  The bus brought nearly 60 people  from...

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We Found The Missing Children

A few days ago we wrote about Woodland Prep charter supporters and people at the state department of elucidation constantly saying that 900 children leave Washington County each day to go to private schools out-of-county. Turns out this number came from the...

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And Then There Were Four

To be chosen as Alabama Teacher of the Year is a singular honor.  I think of it as winning an Oscar.  The greatest recognition an Alabama teacher can receive. This year's winner will be announced in Montgomery at a ceremony the evening of May 8.  It is a special...

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Follow Up To Washington Post Article

Yesterday, May 3, The Washington Post published an in-depth article about the ruckus in Washington County, AL about a proposed charter school planned for there. Among the things mentioned was that the charter, known as Woodland Prep, identified their new principal on...

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All Roads Lead To Chatom, AL

At least that may be the case Monday night, April 29, when documentary film maker Mark Hall of Austin, TX, comes to Washington County high school in Chatom to screen his movie, KILLING ED.  This will be in the school auditorium at 6:15 p.m.  Those I talk to expect an...

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A Blue Sky And Thoughts That Go With It

The sky was brilliant blue.  Not the sorta kinda blue that you see in a big city, but the blue of open spaces.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Not even the feathery trail of a jet five miles high hurrying people across the country. I was in a place I've been many times. ...

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The Joy Of Growing Older

As I was about to leave the house this afternoon, I realized I did not have my phone (a very old flip phone model) and checked in my "office" where I thought I left it.  Nope.  Then the dining room table, shuffling the papers that clutter it.  Nope.  Then kitchen. ...

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A Fascinating Talk With Filmmaker Mark Hall

Mark Hall lives in Austin, TX and practiced law for 25 years.  But even as a child he was fascinated by film making and recalls trying his hand with an 8mm camera back then.  So when he hung out his law shingle in Austin 20 years ago, he also joined the Austin Film...

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Is There Life After Sweet Tea?

Like most deep-friend southern boys, I like sweet iced tea.  Like it a lot.  Never one for coffee, I have gulped down gallons and gallons of sweet tea, morning, noon and night.  A nectar of the Gods so to speak.  Regardless the weather outside, nothing beats a tall...

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The Rape Of Washington County

If you are looking for peace and quiet and not many neighbors, my advice is to head for Washington County, AL.  The first county north of Mobile County and bordered on one side by Mississippi and the Tombigbee River on the other, the last census showed only17,629...

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A Superintendent Has His Say

John Mullins is superintendent of the Arab city school system in Marshall County.  Like most Alabama educators, he feels strongly about Senator Del Marsh's effort to repeal the Alabama College & Career Ready academic standards.  Mullins is opposed to Marsh's plan. ...

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Another NAEP Wild Goose Chase

We have discussed the National Assessment of Educational Progress test many times and talked about the silliness that politicians read into the numbers.  How they constantly single out scores from just one year and treat them as if they came from a burning bush.  How...

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What Impact Do Standards Have On NAEP Scores?

As we listen to the phony info about NAEP scores put out by those who support Del Marsh's politically-motivated attempt to repeal the Alabama College & Career Ready standards, we have to wonder SO WHAT? Like in SO WHAT do standards have to do with how a state scores...

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Are You Ready To Go To Work?

Now that the latest "Marsh Monster", otherwise known as SB119 has passed the state senate, it will move downstairs to the House of Representatives.  As you probably know, this is the bill to repeal the Alabama College & Career ready academic standards and insure that...

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Del Marsh And His Standards Repeal Farce

One of the definitions of "farce" is "an empty or patently ridiculous act, proceeding, or situation." I can think of no better example than the effort by Senator Del Marsh to repeal the Alabama College & Career Ready standards. First Marsh was a staunch supporter of...

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

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