The red hot mess politicians have heaped on our schools

February 2, 2018

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

While I will never claim that I don’t cuss, I work hard to refrain from doing so on my blog.  But in this case, it’s damn hard not to.

Politicians, particularly Senate majority leader Del Marsh and Rep. Terri Collins, seem to have gone out of their way to tear down our public schools and paint a picture that is no where close to accurate.

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Longtime education advocate Larry Lee to seek Montgomery School Board seat

January 30, 2018

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Longtime Alabama education advocate Larry Lee, who writes weekly columns and publishes a blog on education policy, is running for a seat on the Montgomery County School Board.

Lee announced Monday that he would be seeking the seat for District 2.

Five of the seven elected seats on the school board are up for election this year, and District 2 incumbent member Durden Dean is not seeking re-election.

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Opinion | Larry Lee: We don’t listen to our experts

January 25, 2018

By Larry Lee

Dr. Steve Edwards is the real deal. With 43 years in the education field, he knows of what he speaks. He runs a consulting firm in Virginia and has done work in 49 states and 55 counties. Clients include the United Nations and the World Bank. The author of five books, he has also taught at two major universities.

As he says, “I have been in the profession long enough to figure out what does not work.”

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A clear, crisp night in Georgiana

November 13, 2017

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

Editor’s Note: This piece was written on Friday, Nov. 10.

Tomorrow 90,000 people will cram into Jordan-Hare stadium on the Auburn University campus to watch Auburn play the University of Georgia.  It is the South’s oldest football rivalry, going back to 1892 when Auburn won 10-0.

It will be a spectacle  An orgy displaying the mega bucks that dominate such events.  There will be acres upon acres of expensive motor homes hosting tailgaters,  Luxury suites where corporations wine and dine customers and friends.  Fancy multi-million dollar “scoreboards” showering the stadium with ads and replays.
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Alabama Accountability Act:  By the numbers

November 1, 2017

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

Now that we have several years of experience with the Alabama Accountability Act, let’s look as closely as possible at the numbers available to see what’s been done.

The legislation creating AAA was passed early in 2013 under rather mysterious conditions. Basically one bill went into a conference committee and a radically different one emerged a few hours later. It was as if you went to pick up your prom date, she met you at the door of her house all cute and bubbly and told you to wait a moment while she got her coat. And minutes later her mother shows up, wrinkles and all, and says “let’s go have fun.”

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Montgomery wants state to pay for uncertified hires

October 27, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Who’s picking up the tab?

That question is being asked a lot in the Montgomery Public Schools system these days, as the district searches for cash to fill a budget deficit and attempts to dig out from a disastrous state takeover.

One way that Montgomery officials hoped to trim down was by ridding itself of superfluous hires made by former state superintendent Michael Sentance and his team.

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Thank God And Greyhound — The Sentance Saga, Part 4

October 10, 2017

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

The Alabama Education Association has now filed suit against Sentance and Reggie Eggleston, who is in charge of the Montgomery takeover, contending that the state cannot deny the elected school board the right to hire a superintendent.

Under Sentance and his “leadership team,” the work environment at the state department was described as “toxic.” Too many necessary jobs went unfilled. State board members were inundated with complaints from their district school systems about the difficulty of getting calls and emails answered.

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Thank God And Greyhound — The Sentance Saga, Part 3

October 9, 2017

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

Why all the shenanigans?

There is little unity of purpose among board members and certainly was no consensus going into the selection process as to what the state’s top education priorities were and what kind of person and experience were needed to get us to that point.

Of the six finalists, three were local superintendents, one was a member of the governor’s cabinet and two were policy wonks from California and Massachusetts with no hands-on education experience.

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Thank God and Greyhound — The Sentance Saga, Part 1

October 3, 2017

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

In 1970, country singer Roy Clark cranked out a little tune, Thank God and Greyhound. When I got the news on Sept. 13, that Alabama’s state school superintendent had resigned, this song came immediately to mind.

And why not?

Since he took office one year and one day from his resignation, the reign of Mike Sentance had been one misadventure after another. It involved two governors, a rogue state school board member, the state Ethics Commission, a legislative committee digging into a smear campaign and questionable contracts and hires.

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Alabama’s education circus never stops

September 7, 2017
Alabama Superintendent Michael Sentance

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama State Department of Education circus keeps chugging along.

As department staff and superintendent Michael Sentance gear up for an all-important board meeting next week – yet another meeting that could bring an end to Sentance’s tenure – ALSDE has been dealing with fires on a number of fronts.

News of Sentance’s decision to fire popular deputy superintendent Jeff Langham has angered most of the state’s education community. Several sources have told APR that State Board members were also angered by the move and see it as the final indication that a future with Sentance at the helm is unworkable.

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