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Bill Britt: The destruction of Freida Hill

Bill Britt

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By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Why are some members of the Alabama Board of Education trying to destroy the life and career of two-year college Chancellor Freida Hill?

According to some who will not speak on the record it is pure politics.

Dr. Hill who was given the position after an extensive search has been the driving force behind the renewal of Alabama’s two-year college system and its development of the State’s AIDP workforce development.

Hill has built upon the foundation laid by Bradley Byrne after he successfully cleansed the system of internal corruption.

Under Hill’s leadership the State’s community colleges have been front and center in Alabama’s job growth in manufacturing.

It was the training received at the two-year college system that enabled ThyssenKrupp to open its plant with efficiency and productivity on day one.

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In her recent performance evaluation Governor Bentley praised Hill, saying, “She has identified several areas of need around workforce development and postsecondary access and has committed to developing creative solutions to address them,” he wrote. “This is exactly the type of ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking that we need in leadership roles across the state.”

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By all measures that matter in the real world, Hill’s performance as Chancellor has been successful and even remarkable. So, why did four board members suddenly become so horribly dissatisfied with Hill?

In large part this unhappiness with Hill comes from the presidents of some of the colleges. These are men and women who want to return to the bad old days, when there was no oversight, few rules and no accountability.

Have these so-called educators forgotten the systemic venality that was Alabama’s two-year college system. How soon, these people have turned on reform, like dogs returning to their vomit they devour again. They now wish to return to the same ways that were ruinous to the system and harmful to its students.

Shame on them and on how they have tried to tar and feather Dr. Hill in the process.

Hill’s reputation has been tarnished publicly in the press and she will be lucky to find future employment if she doesn’t survive these unfair and unwarranted attacks.

In Hill’s recent performance evaluation of the nine board members, four–Ella Bell, Stephanie Bell, Betty Peters and Dr. Charles Elliott–gave Hill many low marks.

Of the remaining board members, three–Gov. Robert Bentley, Randy McKinney and Mary Scott Hunter–gave Hill overwhelmingly high ratings, while Yvette Richardson’s and Gary Warren’s appraisals were mixed.

Are Bentley, McKinney and Hunter blind to Hill’s performance and the others omnipotent or are the others using the performance evaluation as a way of ousting Hill without giving the real reason they want her gone?

It seems that many of the presidents of the two-year college system have persuaded these board members to hang Hill for their own ends and not for any problems with Hill’s abilities.

Many of the two-year college presidents are liberal elites who, before the advent of Byrne and Hill, ruled their schools as lords and ladies over a private kingdom.

These men and women wake up in the morning seeing in the mirror the president of Alabama or Auburn or better still Harvard and Sarah Lawrence. They want to build a liberal arts bastion, a shrine to liberal education, not a mere workforce training college. They want to educated artist and poets, not workers.

Who is going to stand up for Dr. Hill, who is going to say to the press, “This is pure politics,” the work of disgruntled college presidents and their handmaids and errand boys on the Board of Education.

Perhaps someone in the MSM needs to look more closely at the motivation of these board members and the presidents they seem so willing to placate. Perhaps more dishonesty grows in the systems hierarchy than has been reported.

Someone in government must step up and fight for Dr. Hill before these political creatures have destroyed her life and career.

Someone must do the right thing and do it fast.

 

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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