Stark Difference In How Congressman Byrne and Governor Bentley View Public Schools

Educators across the state are still incensed about Governor Robert Bentley’s disparaging remarks of last week and his weak attempt to make amends with a video.

The governor’s position is in stark contrast to the remarks of Congressman Bradley Bryne about visits he recently made to public schools in southwest Alabama.  Instead of throwing stones as the governor did, he was gracious in his praise of hard-working students, teachers and administrators.

Here are some excerpts from Congressman Byrne’s article:

“There is something really fun and exciting about visiting with students in our local schools. From the elementary student who just wants you to read a book with them to the high school student looking for college advice, the visits are always special.

At each of my school visits, I have been blown away by the work our teachers and administrators are doing. Their job is certainly not easy. Due to budget issues at the state level, many teachers are facing unique challenges. For example, I talked with teachers who spent personal money in their classrooms in order to support students’ needs.

Teachers wear many different hats. Teachers are more than just instructors. They often serve as mentors and friends to the students they teach. For some students, they provide much needed stability for what may be a very complicated home life.

Education in Alabama is making important progress, and that is a testament to our teachers and administrators. For example, the high school graduation rate in Alabama is now at 89 percent, a new record high.

However, more challenges remain. As a parent, former member of the Alabama State School Board, and education advocate, I am committed to doing everything I can to support our students, teachers, and local schools.

Ultimately, we need to empower our local teachers and stop getting in their way. Visiting with our teachers, I see firsthand their passion for helping students succeed. Education is not a field you can work in unless you have an unyielding passion for helping students.

Of course, I want to see our local schools continue to improve and grow, but we should never take for granted the job our teachers and administrators do on a daily basis. They are real difference makers in our society, and they deserve our praise.”

It should be noted that Congressman Byrne got his political start by serving on the state board of education.  And Governor Bentley is president of this board by virtue of his office.

However, while the Congressman took his duties seriously and attended board meetings on a regular basis, the governor has been absent 90 percent of the time.

This says volumes about their attitude concerning public schools.

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