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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Saving The World One Life At A Time

Officially it was called "Alabama Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities Awards Ceremony.".  A very nice affair held at the Gordon Person Building auditorium Dec. 3. But unofficially, it was all about bringing recognition to people and...

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An Angel On My Shoulder

Long ago I realized that apparently the sound of tires on asphalt is my own special brand of therapy.  How else can I explain all the miles I cover and time in my car? I graduated from Auburn 53 years ago.  I doubt there have been many of those years when I didn't...

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New Orleans Charters Not Measuring Up

After Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed New Orleans, charter schools were seen as the salvation for a school system plagued with poor performance for decades.  Today all schools in the Crescent City are charters. However, as Times-Picayune reporter Della Hasselle...

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Here Comes Another Iron Bowl

Once a year, the rest of the world is oblivious to most folks in Alabama.  The stock market can crash, a tsunami may wipe some country from the face of the earth, Old Faithful may forget to shoot water out of the ground and Niagara Falls may become a trickle--but none...

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Dealing With Poverty

As those who want to "reform" education go in search of the next shiny object they are convinced will magically ignore the reality of the world we live in and instantly transport all schools and their students to a fantasy world of perfect families and white picket...

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George Wallace Was Right

For some of us who are long in the tooth, we can recall that when George Wallace ran for president as a third party candidate, he often said  "there was not a dime's worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans. And looking at Alabama today, it's hard to...

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Former LEAD Academy Teacher Speaks Out

The voice on the other end of the phone line was polite, filled with the conviction of youth and disappointed that all people claiming to want the best for children are not sincere. I'd heard the same voice hundreds of times before.  Young people who had planned all...

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Why Go Back To A Failed System?

So the legislature wants us to vote on March 3 to switch from an elected state school board to an appointed one.  But you have to wonder how many supporters of this change know that we once had an appointed state board that was deemed to be failing us--so we changed...

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More Bad News For LEAD Academy

Here in Montgomery, rumors about LEAD Academy charter school, which opened this fall, have swirled for weeks.  About discipline issues, lack of resources, class sizes, teachers quitting, students withdrawing, etc.  And the rumor mill really cranked up when the school...

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Teach For America Will Not Save Us

The "Alabama Teacher Shortage Task Force" recently reported to the state school board.  No doubt the 18 members of this group spent a lot of time on this project.  They presented a number of good ideas.  Things such as providing incentives for certified teachers to...

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1,300+ Posts And Counting

I waded off into the blogosphere in the spring of 2015.  That was now more than 1,300 posts ago and at an average of about 500 words per post, more than 600,000 words. Or, since Google tells me that the average book is 100,000 words, six books ago.  No wonder I feel...

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Once Again, Woodland Prep Tips Its Hand

While the handful of supporters of Woodland Prep charter school in Washington County insist that all they want is better education opportunities for local students, their actions tell a far different story. For example, the Oct. 11 edition of The Washington County...

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Checking The Bucket List: Coalwood, WV

It's not hard to find Coalwood, WV.  Go north on highway 19 out of Abingdon, VA, take a left on highway 16 in Tazewell, VA and don't get in a hurry because the road soon clings hard to what little space there is between a meandering creek bank and whatever mountains...

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Soner Tarim: Live And In Person.

It was Monday, September 30 and right there is front of me, only 25 feet away, stood Soner Tarim, the wizard  of charter schools, all the way from Houston, TX (even thought he said in the meeting he lives in Montgomery). It was the most recent meeting of the state...

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The Magic Of Childhood

Bombarded by a 24-7 barrage of bad news about self-centered politicians, mad men with assault weapons. the constant quest for riches by billionaires who already have more money than they can spend and overpaid and over indulged athletes, it is easy to forget what the...

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A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words

The picture above comes from Northpontotoc Upper elementary school in Ecru, MS.  Ecru has less than 1,000 people and is in Pontotoc County just west of Tupelo. Here is what accompanied the photo.  “These trees were 17 years old when harvested.  The smaller one...

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Why Do Politicians Think I Am A Moron?

Montgomery will elect a new mayor on Oct. 8.  The field has been narrowed to two candidates, Steven Reed and David Woods. I have seen TV ads for Reed saying he will give teachers a raise.  Today I got a flyer from Woods that proclaims. "Education is the key to a...

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Charter Shenanigans In Birmingham

Terri Michael is a member of the Birmingham city school board.  She works hard to keep a watchful eye on things involving that school system.  She is very concerned about things she has learned about the push for charter schools there.  In the article below, which was...

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LEAD Academy Principal Fighting Back

Is Nichole Ivey the principal at Montgomery's LEAD Academy charter school--or is she not? This subject was raised at the Sept. 30 meeting of the state charter  school commission.  LEAD board chair Charlotte Meadows told the commission that Ivey was no longer the...

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Josh Moon Blows The Whistle On LEAD Academy

Josh Moon has been an investigative reporter for years.  First for The Montgomery Advertiser, today he writes for The Alabama Political Reporter.  Never one to shy away from exposing the underbelly of political--and other-shenanigans--Moon lets the chips fall where...

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Charter Commission Grills Woodland Prep

The newly re-constituted state charter school commission met in Montgomery on Sept 30 and one thing is quite clear.  There is a new sheriff in town. The state school board replaced four incumbent commission members on Aug. 8, one of whom was chairman Mac Buttram. ...

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

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