Sunday News

Bob Witt, chancellor of the University of Alabama Systems, has begun an effort to push the need for adequate education funding.  Called the Alabama Unites for Education coalition. Witt has brought together leadership from his own system, community colleges, the state department of education and others.

You can learn more here.

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The on-going effort to increase rigor in the classroom and to adequate measure how much progress is being made is captured in this piece by Tim Lockette of the Anniston Star.  Lockette looks at local schools and their performances on ACT Aspire and ACT tests, which have been used for the last two years throughout the state.

Generally, fewer students are earning proficient ratings.

State school superintendent Tommy Bice is not surprised.  “The last time we gave the Alabama High School Graduation Exam, 97 percent of the entire senior class in the state passed all five parts,” says Bice.  “But when this same group of students went to college a few months later, 34 percent of them needed remediation.”

“The only way to get better is to take a brutal, unvarnished look at your situation,” Bice adds.

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Our friend Mary Sell, who covers state politics for the newspapers in Decatur and Florence, points out that the legislature has spent $489,000 in legal fees over the last three years–a major portion of which went to defend lawsuits against the Alabama Accountability Act.

Speaker Mike Hubbard defended the fees by stating, “Liberal special-interest groups have filed lawsuits in an attempt to block some of the boldest and most needed conservative reforms passed by the Legislature, and we will do whatever it take to stops their efforts.

“This Republican Legislature will not govern out of fear of lawsuits because if we do, any liberal special interest that opposes our conservative agenda can merely threaten to sue and stop Alabama from moving forward in economic development, education and other vital areas.”

How anyone claims the accountability act is “moving forward” is beyond me.  We’ve now diverted $57 million from the Education Trust Fund to give hundreds of scholarships to students in private schools–who were already attending private schools.  And that is progress?

I well remember being at a candidate forum one night in Opelika when I asked each candidate to give their definition of “liberal” and “conservative.”  Mike Hubbard quickly retorted that anyone who was a Democrat was a liberal.

 

 

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