Should Superintendent Sentance be fired?

September 13, 2017

By Rep. Craig Ford

On Thursday, the State Board of Education will meet to discuss terminating State Superintendent Michael Sentance’s contract.

Politics has surrounded Sentance’s time in Alabama, starting even before he was hired. And if the Board decides to fire him, his supporters will claim that politics was the driving factor.

Sentance was the preferred choice of those who support charter schools and diverting tax dollars away from public schools to fund scholarships for private schools. And with his job on the line, most – if not all – of those who have publicly supported him have been those who support charter schools and the Accountability Act scholarship program.
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It’s Judgment Day for State Superintendent Michael Sentance

August 10, 2017
Alabama Superintendent Michael Sentance

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

Will State Superintendent Michael Sentance stay or go?

That question will be answered by the Alabama Board of Education on Thursday during a scheduled 10 am meeting. Two sources close to the board say the decision on Sentance’s termination is fluid and can go either way, but that a solid majority were leaning towards firing Sentance as of late Wednesday afternoon.

A source close to board vice-president Stephanie Bell said she does plan to call for a vote to terminate Sentance during Thursday’s meeting.

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Dial’s “laundry list” of who will appear in Pouncey smear investigation

July 18, 2017

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

A “laundry list” of political figures and State employees received a letter on July 17, from Senator Gerald Dial requesting their appearance on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, at 1:00 pm, to investigate the false ethics complaints filed against Dr. Craig Pouncey.

The letter states, “I write to you in my role as Chair of the Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate Confidentiality Issues Involving Complaints Filed with the State Ethics Commission which was created pursuant to Act 2016-456 (SJR 6).”
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ALSDE investigation: No one to blame for bad grad rate release

July 12, 2017

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

No single person was to blame for the premature release by the Alabama State Department of Education of error-filled graduation rates last April, an internal investigation found.

Former Jefferson County superintendent Phil Hammonds presented the findings of that investigation to the State Board of Education on Tuesday. Hammonds called the release of material “a perfect storm” of mistakes and miscommunication.

Those graduation rates, which miscalculated the rates in several districts, were released to the media on a Friday in April, just prior to a Monday State holiday. By the time ALSDE officials got back to work, county superintendents had bombarded the office with calls and complaints, and the head of the superintendents association was publicly criticizing the department and superintendent Michael Sentance.
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Joint Legislative Committee will continue investigation into the Alabama State Department of Education

July 3, 2017

By Sam Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

State Senator Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) said on Friday that the Joint Legislative Committee will continue to pursue an investigation regarding the state superintendent hiring process last year.

“We will likely recall some of the same people who have already testified and ask for explanations of differences in their testimony before the Joint Committee and findings in the recent State Department of Education report,” Dial said in a statement. “We will also ask for additional documentation from those who testify.”
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Senate committee unable to determine leak of Pouncey ethics complaint

March 6, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — A committee headed by Sen. Gerald Dial (R-Lineville) was unable to get to the bottom of who publicly distributed a letter last summer confirming a complaint against then-State Superintendent candidate Craig Pouncey.

In a presentation to the State Senate on Thursday, Dial said his committee interviewed at least 16 members of the State Board of Education and the Alabama Ethics Commission about the leak. The public leak prompted Pouncey to file a lawsuit for defamation.

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Planned changes to career tech education by State Superintendent prompts concern

March 6, 2017

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY — A proposed plan by Alabama Education Superintendent Michael Sentance to reorganize the State’s career tech and workforce development program has upset educators, legislators and some State Board of Education members.

Under the proposed changes, the Alabama State Department of Education, headed by Sentance, would move the Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development office under the Academic Affairs office.

“This would allow for better integration of academic and school improvement programs with the CTE efforts,” Sentance said in an email to Board members. “Contrary to some rumors, the office would NOT be abolished.”

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Let the truth be told about Alabama schools

February 1, 2017

By David Nichols

The first week in January the anticipated list of Alabama’s failing schools was released. The list identifies the 75 lowest performing public schools in the State. School superintendent in districts in which these schools were located were indignant with outcries such as “We have many good things happening at our schools.” The truth is that these 75 and hundreds of other Alabama schools not on the list are failing to adequately prepare children in reading, English, math, science, social studies and basic technology. Upon close examination of reliable performance data the reality is dismal. Education leadership in Alabama is inept and lacking accountability. Read More

More questions on “smear sheet” investigation: Who knew what when?

January 19, 2017

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

More than 40 years ago, the late Tennessee Republican Senator Howard Baker asked during the Watergate hearings, “What did the President know and when did he know it?”

I was reminded of that yesterday, January 18, 2017, as I listened for nearly two hours while Senators Gerald Dial, Quinton Ross, Greg Allbritton, and Rep. Steve Hurst, convened for their third round of questioning of those who could shed light on how an anonymous “smear sheet” became public knowledge, and an integral part of the effort of the State Board of Education to select a new State school chief last summer. Read More

More deception and the tie that binds

November 21, 2016

By Larry Lee
Education Matters

In the waning days of the Presidential election we heard Donald Trump talk a lot about a “rigged” election.  We have now learned that he may have been describing the state board of education’s recent search for a new state school chief.

After two days of asking questions, the legislative committee trying to find out how an anonymous “smear sheet” got from members of the state board, to the Ethics Commission and then a letter naming Craig Pouncey as the object of this attempt fell into the hands of the media has shed light on what took place.
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