As I wrote my last post about the Alabama Policy Institute and their feeble attempt to defend the Alabama Accountability Act, I kept asking myself why doesn’t our state school chief defend public schools? Why didn’t he go on record during the recent legislative session opposing the accountability act?
Why didn’t he get someone to dig up the same numbers I dug up (they are all public) and tell the world that this bill is bad for public schools, and more importantly, makes a mockery out of its stated purpose to help poor kids in struggling schools? Why didn’t he call some Black Belt superintendents and ask them how many of their students have gotten one of these scholarships?
To me, this is the most immoral legislation I’ve ever seen. For this reason. It dictates that we label six percent of all the schools in the state as “failing”–yet does not offer them help in any form or fashion to improve. My old Southern Baptist heart says that is just plain wrong.
But when Senator Del Marsh came up with yet another amendment to this awful legislation, all we got from the superintendent was the sound of silence.
Yet this is the same guy who seems quick to go public any time some real or perceived bad news comes along. Remember his announcement months ago about the Federal investigation about all the systems cheating on their graduation rates? The same guy who said that our teachers use scripts because their principals don’t trust them and that our math teachers could not be hired in another state.
Since he is an attorney, he should take a look at Alabama code section 16-3-11:
“The State Board of Education shall exercise, through the State Superintendent of Education and his professional assistants, general control and supervision over the public schools of the state, except institutions of higher learning which by law are under the general supervision and control of a board of trustees, and shall consult with and advise through its executive officer and his professional assistants, county boards of education, city and town boards of education, superintendents of schools, school trustees, attendance officers, principals, teachers, supervisors and interested citizens, and shall seek in every way to direct and develop public sentiment in support of public education.”
These are not just words on paper. This is the law of the state of Alabama.
The Marsh amendment failed miserably in large part because local school superintendents asked their legislators to oppose it. They pointed out that it is not helping their schools.
If superintendents across Alabama are willing to stand up and be counted, shouldn’t we expect the state superintendent to do the same thing? After all, the law says he is supposed to do so.