Ivey announces new education policies, asks for new categories in state report card

February 5, 2018

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Following a report card that left Alabama with a C in education, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced a slew of new policies as a part of her “Strong Start, Strong Finish” education initiative.

Ivey announced the policies on Friday during a speech at a Public Affairs Research Council meeting in Birmingham. The governor released details through her press office late that day.

One of the governor’s strategy, titled “Alabama Grade-Level Reading Campaign,” relies on raising the reading proficiency of third-graders to 100 percent by 2022. This means that all third-graders will be able to read on a third-grade or higher level.

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Perspective | The Top Ten Alabama Politics Stories of 2017

December 29, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

1. The … Democrat from Alabama?:

The reddest of the red states turned purple on Dec. 12. Democrat Doug Jones pulled off one of the most stunning upsets in recent political history, beating Republican Roy Moore and taking over Jeff Sessions’ vacated U.S. Senate seat.

Yeah, sure, Moore was a polarizing candidate, who was disliked even within the Republican Party. And yes, Moore was dogged by claims of child molestation and dating teenagers when he was in his 30s. But none of that erases the historical significance of Jones’ win — the first statewide win for a Democrat in this state in more than 20 years.

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School Board to hold state superintendent interviews as early as April

December 21, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama State School Board has voted to extend Interim State Superintendent Ed Richardson’s contract until the end of June. According to the timeline adopted by the board at its last meeting, the next state school superintendent will not be selected until April at the earliest.

“The Alabama State Board of Education voted last week to extend Interim State Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson’s contract until June 30, 2018, or until a permanent state superintendent is seated. We appreciate Dr. Richardson’s long and continued service,” state School Board Member Mary Scott Hunter wrote in an email to constituents.

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Still waiting on answers in ALSDE probes

November 8, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Three attorneys for the state’s department of education along with a board member have serious charges pending before the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Commission over a scheme to deny Dr. Craig Pouncey the superintendent’s  job and yet there has been no response from the bar.

Bar complaints against Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) board member, Mary Scott Hunter, ALSDE attorneys Juliana Teixeira Dean, James R Ward III, and Susan Tudor Crowther were filed some months ago after an internal investigation. The internal report found Hunter and the three ALSDE lawyer had schemed a smear Pouncey who was a candidate for state superintendent.

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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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Pike Road still hasn’t repaid Montgomery Public Schools

October 24, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Pike Road school system obviously believes strongly in finders keepers.

Nearly a year after the system was notified by the Alabama State Department of Education that it was mistakenly sent more than $1.4 million that should have gone to Montgomery Public Schools, Pike Road still hasn’t repaid the money. And it’s now apparently using the repayment of that money to sweeten a deal the system is trying to work to purchase a school building from MPS.

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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 2

October 6, 2017

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

Things really got funky at the state board meeting on July 12.

Each board member got an envelope with an unsigned “complaint” to the state Ethics Commission alleging that Pouncey plagiarized his 2009 doctoral dissertation for Samford University, as well as getting excessive help from department employees.

The Ethics Commission will not investigate unsigned complaints, so the info became a moot point. In fact, six of the eight board members testified that they paid no attention to this letter and discarded it.

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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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