Alabama’s fear problem

September 20, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The first step in correcting a problem is recognizing that you have one.

And it’s time we did that, Alabama.

Because we have a big one.

We’re the most intolerant people in the country. And I mean that as the collective “we,” because I’d love to not be included in this broad grouping. But I am.

I live here, have lived here for my entire life. My family is here. My home is here.

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Bentley notes: Marsh threat, Strange promises over Senate seat

September 19, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

In interviews for Jeff Sessions’ vacant Senate seat, Luther Strange promised to “do more” to help former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. And state Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, “seemed angry” and allegedly threatened to “f—k with” Bentley for the next two years if he wasn’t appointed, according to handwritten notes Bentley made from the interviews.

Those notes, forwarded to the Alabama Archives and obtained by The Alabama Political Reporter, show that Bentley ranked the six candidates – who Bentley interviewed – in six different categories: Interview strength, their appointment’s trickle-down effect on the state, knowledge of federal issues, Republican delegation relations, recommendations and direct benefit the candidates would have on the state if appointed.

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Analysis: Montgomery intervention failing despite local support

September 17, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

There is a misconception with the state takeover of Montgomery Public Schools.

Everyone seems to think that MPS officials don’t want it.

That’s untrue.

Board members made it clear this week that even those who are currently actively engaged in an ongoing AEA lawsuit against the intervention are open to it continuing after the resignation last week of Michael Sentance.

And that fact, probably more than any other, is a perfect example of the complicated chore an intervention – especially one in a large district – is, and how poorly Sentance managed the one in Montgomery.
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Sentance out, Richardson in as superintendent

September 15, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Out with the new, in with the old at the Alabama State Department of Education.

State school board members on Thursday accepted the resignation of Michael Sentance, ending a tumultuous one-year tenure, and selected former superintendent Ed Richardson to take over on an interim basis.

“I’m very excited that Dr. Richardson is going to be returning,” said Gov. Kay Ivey, who presided over the meeting. Ivey, by virtue of her office, is the Board of Education president.

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We should hold law enforcement officers to a higher standard

September 15, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

On the video, the man is on his knees, his hands bound behind him, but he is calm, barely moving.

Suddenly, another person in the room walks over and hits the bound man. Hard. Unable to defend himself, he starts to slump forward, curling his body into a fetal position, trying to protect himself the best he can.

But the beating continues. Two, three, four swings.

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AEA sues State Department of Education over MPS takeover

September 14, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Education Association has formally waded into the fight between the Alabama State Department of Education and the Montgomery County School Board over the intervention in Montgomery’s school system.

A lawsuit filed in Montgomery Circuit Court, naming now-former state superintendent Michael Sentance and Montgomery Schools chief, Reginald Eggleston, claims the state has failed to uphold its agreements for a collaborative intervention and that it has repeatedly violated state law.

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Sentance’s resignation: There’s one person to blame

September 14, 2017
Alabama Superintendent Michael Sentance

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The relatively short state education nightmare is over.

Michael Sentance resigned on Wednesday, bowing out a day before he was sure to be fired by a state Board of Education long tired of dealing with him.

The end of Sentance’s tenure was, ironically, the one thing he managed to handle appropriately.

Quiet. Respectful. Appropriately communicated.

Had Sentance demonstrated those three qualities a bit more regularly in his day-to-day efforts as schools’ chief, he would likely still be with us.

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Alabama Supreme Court halts refunds to public education employees

September 13, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama Supreme Court has put a hold on the return of millions of dollars to state educators while the justices consider an appeal of a ruling that deemed Public Education Employees Health Insurance Plan premium increases illegal.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Johnny Hardwick ruled in August that a meeting of the PEEHIP board in April 2016, at which members voted to raise premiums, was held illegally. That meant that the premium increases paid in by all PEEHIP members – some $60 million – would have to be returned.

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They’re trying to save Michael Sentance — again

September 12, 2017
Alabama Superintendent Michael Sentance

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

There is a last-ditch effort to – again – save Michael Sentance.

The beleaguered state superintendent is expected to be fired on Thursday at a meeting of the Alabama Board of Education. His termination is so assured that calls have been placed to potential interim and acting  superintendent candidates.

But not if the anti-Common Core crowd holds any sway.

Over the last few days, email blasts have gone out to state politicians and board of education members from an anti-common core group. Members of that group have also been calling board members and Gov. Kay Ivey’s office.

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When voting in Senate special election, think of yourself

September 12, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

One candidate doesn’t know what DACA is. The other candidate doesn’t know what the truth is.

That’s what you’re left with in the Republican runoff for a U.S. Senate seat.

Roy Moore v. Luther Strange.

Two candidates who most of us don’t want.

A judge who keeps getting himself tossed off the bench and a malleable lawyer who will conform to any position if it means he gets to never really work again.
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