I Lost. Big Time.

Though I have yet to see the final results in my run for the District two seat on the Montgomery school board, I do know that I was trounced to the tune of OTHER GUY got 71 percent and I got only 29 percent.  Out of a total of 3,077 votes cast, I only received 893....

read more

How Much More Silly Will Things Get?

This morning Montgomery school board member Melissa Snowden, who is also being attacked by MGM NXT PAC, and I had a press conference at 10 a.m. to discuss the negative campaign being waged against us. (Interesting that the PAC says they want to make sure no incumbents...

read more

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

As I write it is 9 p.m on Sunday night.  Within about 48 hours or so we should know the outcome of my campaign for the Montgomery school board, District Two.  I honestly have no sense of how this will turn out. But win, lose or draw I will always be so very thankful...

read more

A Very Special Love Story

Though some people are trying to convince voters in east Montgomery that I have horns, a pitchfork and a pointed tail, nothing  could be more wrong.  Heck, I am a very sentimental, emotional kind of guy.  Which is why I've been known to cry at certain movies or TV ...

read more

Josh Moon Pulls No Punches

John Moon spent years as a reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser.  Today he is a featured columnist for The Alabama Political Reporter.  He has never been one to sugarcoat something, which means you are not on the Christmas card list for some people. He has watched...

read more

News Flash: The Sky Did Not Fall!

Right on cue, the mailman left me a giant postcard (8 1/2 X 11) yesterday announcing "OUR SCHOOL BOARD AND OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM ARE BROKEN."  I was told, "We're facing a loss of accreditation.  If Montgomery's schools lose accreditation, our children will have limited...

read more

Big Bucks Hit Montgomery School Board Election

Seems that someone has hung a FOR SALE sign on the Montgomery County Board of Education and a bidding war has broken out. Of the seven seats on this board, five of them are being contested this year.  Two incumbents are not running for re-election, three are....

read more

Teacher Stress Is Very Real

A few weeks ago I spoke to an elementary principal about the issues she faces.  She told me that one is teacher absenteeism.  When I asked her why,she quickly told me, "Stress."  At 4 p.m. today, (Friday May 25) I'm talking to the principal of one of the best...

read more

Good News From Washington County

As the Tombigbee river meanders through west Alabama it eventually becomes the eastern border of Washington County.  In fact, this is where its waters join those of the Alabama river before heading to Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  The county is both big and...

read more

Where Is The “Our”?

In the last 24 hours I have read two articles that paint something of a stark picture of Montgomery these days. One is about Montgomery public schools in the Montgomery Business Journal, a publication of the Chamber of Commerce.  Here we learn that "seven out of ten...

read more

Thoughts Prompted By Graduation

My friend Wendy Lang is a former educator, an advocate for public education and a single parent who understands the value of those who invest in the lives of children.   She is also a regular columnist for the Decatur Daily, her hometown newspaper. She just attended...

read more

Challenge Failed. On With The Campaign.

As we explained a couple of days ago, after being challenged in March about running on the Republican ballot for Montgomery County Board of Education, I was challenged again by former legislator Perry Hooper, Jr. of Montgomery in late April. I am happy to report that...

read more

More Trash

So, the attacks about my running for the Montgomery Board of Education continue. This time I am branded as a racist.  See it all here. Someone went to the trouble to go back 36 years and dig up an article from the Montgomery Advertiser where a reporter said that I...

read more

Politics Rears Its Ugly Head

NEVER did I think that when I decided to run for the Montgomery school board things would turn as ugly, disgusting and sickening as they have. And sadly, I have learned that there are some who put politics WAAY above anything that may benefit the school children of...

read more

Why Testing Has Failed Our Schools

The over emphasis on test scores (can you say A-F report cards?) is wrong-headed and detrimental to students and our school systems. Here is a great article from District Administration magazine by Tim Goral exploring this topic.  Tim interviewed Daniel Koretz, one of...

read more

Black Belt Scholar Responds

You met Allie Marques last September when we told about her service project that is part of the program required of students in the Black Belt Teaching Corps. She's about big as a minute with a perpetual grin.  One of those personalities who just lights up any room...

read more

I Was (Almost) At A Loss For Words

The invitation said it was a reception in honor of Black Belt Teacher Corps Scholars Class of 2017-18.  So, I immediately noted May 3rd on my calendar and made plans to be at Brock Hall on the campus of the University of West Alabama in Livingston on that date. After...

read more

Rural Grant Pays Off For Pisgah High

The Rural School Collaborative works throughout the United States.  One of their projects is awarding small grants to rural schools.  Alabama has been fortunate to receive a number of these grants.  (Editor's note: I serve on the board of this organization.) Pisgah...

read more

A Grand Time Was Had By All

One side of the cafeteria at Goodwyn middle school was packed with 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls.  Some all dressed up, some in their school clothes.  All were wiggling and jumping and doing the kind of things young ladies of that age are supposed to do. Across the...

read more

Best Wishes To Eric Mackey

As we know, the state school board, on a 5-4 vote, selected Eric Mackey on April 20 as our new state school chief.  I wish him all the best.  I have known him since he came to his job at the School Superintendents of Alabama in 2010.  Even know his wife Robin. He is a...

read more

Meet Some Montgomery Area Teachers

April is National Financial Literacy Month and the good folks at Max Credit Union in the river region are looking for three teachers who do an outstanding job with financial education. The community selects these through on-line voting.  My fourth-grade teacher friend...

read more

Nashville Charters Having Big Problems

Will Pinkston has been on the Metro Nashville Board of Public Education since being elected in 2012.  He is not a fan of charter schools as  he explains in this article in the Nashville Tennessean. According to Pinkston: "It was just a matter of time before the wheels...

read more

Eric Mackey Picked For State Superintendent

The state school board, on a 5-4 vote, selected Eric Mackey as the new state superintendent April 20.  Mackey is the one-time superintendent of the Jacksonville, AL city system and has directed the School Superintendents of Alabama for several years. Craig Pouncey,...

read more

Meet The State Superintendent Candidates

D Day is Friday, April 20.  In this case, D stands for DECISION as the governor, plus the state school board, will interview four candidates for state superintendent and decide on one. Ray & Associates, the search firm handling this project, brought seven names before...

read more

Tales From The (Campaign) Trail

Don't be fooled.  Campaigning for any office is pretty much a slog.  Whether it is for the local school board, as I am doing in Montgomery, or for governor, it is hard work. And you are constantly disappointed as you realize most folks are just not very interested in...

read more

Joe Windle’s Unique Perspective

Most folks in Tallapoosa County just know that Joe Windle is the superintendent of the county school system.  Some recall when he was principal at Reeltown high school. What most do not know is that prior to becoming part of the school system, he spent 28 years in the...

read more

Time To Stop The Montgomery Circus – Part Two

Time To Stop The Montgomery Circus: Part Two How do you tell how much a community cares about its public schools?  Looking in their pocketbook is an excellent way to start. Do this and you discover that Montgomery apparently cares less than places like Bullock County,...

read more

Time To Stop The Montgomery Circus

If the Montgomery public school situation isn’t a full-blown circus, then I have never heard a calliope. All we need is a trapeze or two, a couple of elephants and a lion and a tiger. We already have a full cast of performers. The MPS school board, the chamber of...

read more

Timeline For Superintendent Search Released

The state department of education has released the timeline for the search for a new state superintendent. All interested parties had to have applications in by March 23, 2018. April 12, 2018--Ray and Associates, the search firm employed by ALSDE, will meet with the...

read more

Decision Time For Mary Scott Hunter

Not only is state school board member Mary Scott Hunter engrossed in a run for the state senate in Huntsville, she faces a very tough decision before her election on June 5. The state school board is now beginning a search for a new state superintendent.  It is being...

read more

Did He Really Say That?

It seems that it would not be a normal legislative session without at least one bill that is considered "very contentious."  Most observers are bestowing this title to HB317 for the session that ended this week. As I understand it (and I make no promises that I do)...

read more

Hitting Delete Ain’t Much Fun

When I checked a few moments ago, there were 2,347 email addresses in my address book.  But earlier today there were 2,349 because I just deleted two. That's because two longtime friends passed away in the last few weeks,  But each time this is the reason I hit...

read more

Distrust Damaging Montgomery Schools

By Larry Lee Distrust is a cancer that can destroy anything it infects.  A marriage, a football team, a church, a business—or in the case of Montgomery--a school system. One simply has to look at the mess we’re in and all the people pointing fingers and blaming...

read more

A Tale Of Two States

Knowing there is always more than one way to skin a cat, some Alabama legislators are always looking for new ways to sneak more money away from public schools. This time it was by allowing taxpayers to use tuition to private schools as a tax break, thus taking more...

read more

Mike Sentance Search Won’t Go Away

Let me show my age again.  Some of us recall in a faraway time of black and white TV when John Cameron Swayze touted the durability of Timex watches.  He put them on the blade of a motor boat engine, spun them underwater at 4,500 RPM and then showed us that the watch...

read more

Grant Time For Black Belt Teachers

Each year the national organization, Rural Schools Collaborative runs a small grant program for rural teachers.  (I serve on their board.)  And it's time for teachers to make application. We have awarded 15 grants in the last few years.  While they are usually not...

read more

There IS Goodness In This World

Given the constant bombardment of "bad" news we all get (some of which comes from me talking about dumb education policy, etc.) it is understandable that sometimes we want to turn off the TV, put down the newspaper and throw our I pad in the trash. But honest, there...

read more

Campaign Is Up And Running

The campaign for a seat on the Montgomery County board of education is off to a great start.  After qualifying with the local Republican party, I filed necessary paperwork with both the Secretary of State and the Ethics Commission and have now submitted my...

read more

More Silliness From A-F

No doubt you are tired of reading posts about how dumb the A-F school report cards are.  And I am tired of writing about this fiasco. But then I come across another example of how truly silly it is and can't help telling you about it.  Each year the Council for...

read more

Another School System Votes Against A-F

Winfield straddles the Marion and Fayette county lines about 75 miles northwest of Birmingham.  Probably its greatest claim to fame is the annual "Mule Day" celebration each September. But in education circles, Winfield has long been known for a small, but excellent,...

read more

Meet My Two Newest Best Friends

A few days ago, I told you about my trip to Dadeville Elementary in Tallapoosa County to be interviewed by their sixth-grade TV crew for one of their morning broadcasts.  These are broadcast on the Tiger News Network (TNN).  You can find them on YouTube The anchors...

read more

When Is An F Not A Failing Grade?

As far back as I can remember of my school days, getting an F was the end of the world.  You were not just low on the totem pole--you were  somewhere way down under it. Of course I knew about As, Bs, Cs and Ds too.  And I figured that an F was so bad that whoever came...

read more

Off And Running

February 9 was the final date for candidates to qualify for the June 5 primary for both Republicans and Democrats.  As I told you earlier, I qualified for Montgomery County school board district 2 as a Republican. With five of the seven seats on this board up for...

read more

Live From Dadeville Elementary

Head east from Montgomery on I-85, go north on highway 49 at the Tuskegee/Franklin exit, take a right in Dadeville and pass the cemetery and you're at Dadeville elementary where principal Chris Dark watches over 641 kindergarten through sixth grade students. It was...

read more

The Joke Is On Me

Laughter is the best medicine.  At least that is what The Reader's Digest once told us.  And few enjoy a laugh any more than I do.  (Though I quickly admit that I sometimes get very intense and passionate, especially when I see some of the dumb things we do under the...

read more

Keep Those Cards & Letters Coming In

Since announcing last week that I am running for a seat on the Montgomery County school board this spring, I have definitely been humbled by the response I have received.  Email after email after email wished me success and encouragement.  School principals from here...

read more

It Just Flew All Over Me

One of mother's favorite expressions was, "It just flew all over me."  Interpretation--something got her attention and she was not happy about it. And from time to time, I must admit that things "fly all over me" as well.  A great example being this recent article in...

read more

A Gathering Of Passion

Saturday, Jan. 27 dawned wet, dreary and chilly across  Alabama.  The prefect morning to roll over and sleep in. But 500 teachers and one sleepy-eyed blogger converged on Homewood middle school in the Birmingham suburbs for a gathering of the Alabama National Board...

read more

Follow Up On Marion County Action On A-F

Earlier this week the Marion County school board said "enough is enough" and voted "no confidence" in the state's soon-to-be released A-F school report cards.  (Since then, both the Eufaula city board and Chambers County board have done the same thing and others are...

read more

A Double Shot Of Bad News

Some of you are old enough to recall the hit "Double shot of my baby's love" by the Swingin' Medallions.  This happened in 1966. Well, Alabama public education is about to be hit with a double shot of bad news.  Feb. 1 the public will find out which schools around the...

read more

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

Donate to This Blog

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

Subscribe Via Email!

Categories

Recent Posts