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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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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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

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