Eric Mackey, state school superintendent recently visited schools in the Demopolis city school system and according to this article, was very impressed. That is definitely understandable because this little system of about 2,200 students, has long been an oasis right in the middle of the Black Belt.
The real story here is how a small, progressive community years ago refused to abandon it’s public schools when integration became a reality. The school system is 49.5 percent black and 45.2 percent white (the rest are Hispanic). By comparison, the community is 50.1 percent black and 47.3 percent white.
I have searched and can’t find any other community in Alabama where school population mirrors community population so closely.
But what caught my attention in this article were Mackey’s comments about the infamous Alabama Accountability Act.
“Mackey expressed reservations about the Alabama Accountability Act. The legislation, passed in 2013, was designed to provide scholarships for students in failing schools to attend private schools.
The act “has done some good things for some kids,” he said, but there is a lack of accountability. Public schools are an open book; private schools less so.
What gives him heartburn is declaring that the lowest six percent of schools in the state based on narrow criteria are “failing.” He will not use that term.”
After watching at least $100 million be diverted from the Education Trust Fund, it’s high time some folks at the state level are joining more and more local school boards and speaking out about AAA.