As we know, the state school board, on a 5-4 vote, selected Eric Mackey on April 20 as our new state school chief. I wish him all the best. I have known him since he came to his job at the School Superintendents of Alabama in 2010. Even know his wife Robin.
He is a bright, likeable young man who grew up in the big city of Sand Rock in Cherokee County. And since I am definitely partial to rural places, this is a plus in my book. Lord knows all of our small, rural school systems need all the friends they can get.
It is my fervent hope that Eric will seek God’s guidance in the days to come. And I have no doubt that he will.
I also hope that he will be the VOICE for education our 730,000 students and all their principals, teachers, bus drivers, custodians, lunch room workers and administrators desperately need at this time. Public education has been under attack in Alabama since 2010. In 2012 the legislature passed the A-F report card bill that serves no useful purpose in the eyes of educators and recently told students, teachers and principals in 104 schools they are failures–yet did not provide a helping hand to those most in need.
In 2013 we got the Alabama Accountability Act that was both highly suspect in the way it was handled in the legislature and its value to those it promised to help the most, children in struggling schools. Because of this act, we have now diverted $146 million from the Education Trust Fund and in all probability will see an effort in 2019 to increase it’s impact on public schools even more.
Education “leaders” HAVE GOT to draw the line in the sand on legislation such as this. They need to remind themselves daily that 90 percent of all the children in Alabama attend a public school and need all the help and support they can get. This definitively means being a strong advocate for public education at each and every opportunity–but most especially when the legislature aims a gun at a classroom near you.
Now that Eric is the leader of our state school system, I trust that he will embrace the role of being the VOICE we need.