A Truth About Schools Too Many Refuse To Accept

Krista Johnson, who covers education for The Montgomery Advertiser, did a recent story about the funding of schools in the Montgomery County public school system.

She looked at funding for the 2018-2019 school year.  The system includes both magnet nd traditional schools.  None of the magnets qualify for Title 1 Federal funding  because they do not meet the guidelines of at least 40 percent of students considered poverty.

And tucked away in the article was this sentence, “Nixon Elementary–where 83% of students were considered economically disadvantaged–received the largest level of federal funding, at $3,698 per student, compared to $507 per student at Forest Avenue Academic Magnet.”

Later, the article points out that at Forest Avenue, the PTA consistently touts a 100% participation rate among families and teachers.

A few years ago I asked the then principal at Nixon how many PTA members they had.  “One,” was her reply.

BINGO.

I have written article after article on this topic.  About how we too often throw money at classrooms in high-poverty schools and expect teachers to solve all their problems  I have said over and over that we don’t have “falling” schools, instead, we have “failing school communities.”

I even did an article about E. D. Nixon after it was picked for a pilot community school effort in Montgomery.

Unfortunately, Mike Sentance was picked to be the state school superintendent in 2016, he soon declared that the state would assume control of the Montgomery County system and the Nixon pilot program would be halted.  (Thank goodness it only took about one year for the state school board to figure out what a disaster Sentance was and they parted ways.)

There is no mystery involved in knowing how this all works.  We’ve known it for decades.  They mystery is trying to figure out why we will not do the things we know must be done.

 

 

 

Don’t Look Now, But Here Comes Critical Race Theory.

Since I try to maintain a certain sense of civility on this blog (a standard I sometimes don’t meet) I will not tell your my exact reaction when I saw the AL.com article about the state school board’s discussion about something called Critical Race Theory..

I know little abut CRT other than it’s been around for about 40 years and taught at a graduate level by some universities.  But it appears to be an ideal candidate for a topic that certain political types can quickly escalate into a culture issue largely driven by fear of the unknown.  (Can you say Common Core?)

For instance, House member Chris Pringle of Mobile pre-filed a bill about CRT weeks ago to be introduced in 2022.  However, when a reporter for AL/com asked him what CRT involves, he had no answer.

Joe Windle recently retired as superintendent of the Tallapoosa County school system.  Here was his answer to the above AL.com article about the school. board discussion.

“Not aware of any school systems teaching CRT.  Damn.  Let’s teach kids in public education to read, communicate verbally and in writing and math.  Leave this theory stuff to the colleges and universities.”

All of which circles me back to a recent column by longtime friend and former editorial page editor of The Mobile Press-Register, Frances Coleman.

“I remember when I realized I did not want to be a schoolteacher. It was the summer between my junior and senior years in high school. I had signed up to be a teacher’s aide in our small-town public school system.

When I arrived bright and early on the first Monday of the system’s new Head Start program, which would last three hours a day, five days a week, for six weeks — two teachers met me with concerned looks on their faces. There were three sections of 5-year-old pupils, they explained, but only two teachers. The third one had resigned over the weekend.

Which meant that I, an earnest and bright but inexperienced 16-year-old girl, would have to teach the third section. “Don’t worry; we’ll help you,” the two teachers assured me.

And they did help me, and I survived, but still, it was the longest six weeks of my life, in which I learned that: I did not have a knack for controlling large groups of small children, lovable though they might be; I did not have the imagination to keep preschoolers engaged and engrossed for more than two or three minutes at a time; I had zero arts-and-crafts skills; and teaching is a lot harder than it looks.

As best I can tell from the outside looking in, teaching is even harder now than it was many decades ago. One of the reasons, if not the reason, is that politicians won’t let teachers do their jobs without incessantly trying to micromanage their classrooms. Whether it’s pitting evolution against creationism, forbidding the teaching of yoga and sex education, politicizing the federal “Goals 2000” and “Common Core” initiatives or, now, demonizing the so-called Critical Race Theory, state legislatures won’t keep their hands off of our schools.

Their job is to fund public education and to create the appropriate laws to govern it. But too many politicians cannot resist the temptation to embroil schools in the “culture wars” that they love to foment as a way to enrage certain groups of their constituents.

Thus, some legislatures are attempting to tightly control how the history of slavery and race relations in America is taught, and especially how the after-effects of slavery affect our nation to this day. Lest the honest teaching of America’s racial struggles unduly traumatize white children, lawmakers in Florida, Arkansas, Idaho and Oklahoma have banned the teaching of Critical Race Theory.

There are many definitions and explanations of CRT. Florida’s legislation defines it as “the theory that racism is not merely the product of prejudice, but that racism is embedded in American society and its legal systems in order to uphold the supremacy of white persons.”

Maybe you agree that racism is embedded in American society. Maybe you believe it’s not. But why on earth would we tell teachers that they can’t even promote the discussion of that fundamental question in their classrooms? Isn’t that what education is for — to teach young people to be critical thinkers, to research and read about and debate important questions and issues, and to formulate thoughtful opinions based on the facts they’ve gleaned? And, especially, to be unafraid of the truth?

I say yes, that is what education is for. And I have a modest proposal: that we allow teachers to teach, unburdened — to the extent that’s possible — by bureaucracy, by politics, by culture wars, by fanatics, and by people who have personal agendas that have little to do with ensuring the success of our public schools.

I learned a lot in that Head Start classroom many years ago, including how to recognize when a little kid needs to go to the bathroom, even though he or she may not realize it; and how it’s possible for a little boy to smuggle his new puppy into the classroom so he can surprise his teenage teacher. (And yes, hilarious pandemonium ensued for several minutes, until his mother could be summoned to retrieve the little pup.)

Most of all, although I did not fully appreciate or understand what I was seeing at the time, I got a closeup look at a couple of dedicated teachers who, in addition to managing their own classrooms, made sure their young aide did not fail herself or her pupils.

God bless the thousands upon thousands of teachers like them, who do their best to nurture and educate America’s children. And for God’s sake, let’s let them do their jobs.”

She hit this nail on the head.

Katie Boyd Britt Shows Her Backbone

At the moment, there are four declared candidates running in the May 2022 Republican primary to replace Senator Richard Shelby.

One is Huntsville congressman Mo Brooks who is known more for his loud mouth than any legislative accomplishments.  He is the epitome of a political “gadfly.”  A shining example of “all hat, no cows.”

Another is Montgomery businesswoman Lynda Blanchard who contributed a LOT of money to Donald Trump in 2016 and was rewarded with the ambassadorship to Slovenia.

Another is Jessica Taylor who ran for congress last year in the wiregrass and failed to make the runoff.

The fourth is Katie Boyd Britt, former CEO of the Business Council of Alabama and former chief of staff for Senator Shelby.

At this point, political handicappers think it will come down to a two-person race between Brooks and Britt.  A recent news release from Donald Trump, who has endorsed Brooks, gives credence to this line of thought.

Even though the election is more than nine months away, Trump has already attacked Britt.  Here is the essence of Trump’s statement according to AL.com:

“Former President Donald Trump today reaffirmed his endorsement of Rep. Mo Brooks to fill the U.S. Senate seat of the retiring Richard Shelby and attacked Shelby’s former chief of staff, Katie Britt.

Trump, in a statement, said Britt, who formerly served as president of the Business Council of Alabama, is “not what Alabama wants” for the Senate.

“She is not in any way qualified and is certainly not what our country needs,” Trump’s statement continued. “For Mitch McConnell to be wasting money on her campaign is absolutely outrageous. Vote for Mo Brooks!”

Responding to Trump’s statement, Britt said: “I don’t need anyone else to fight my battles, and as Alabama’s next U.S. Senator, I won’t be a rubber stamp for anyone. I am proud that over 90% of the $2.24 million we raised in June came from Alabamians, because that’s who I’ll be going to work for and representing every single day.

“What we’re seeing now is a reaction to the incredible momentum that continues to build for our campaign. My opponent (Brooks) is obviously panicked; he’s been in elected office for 40 years, but the people of Alabama are eager for a real conservative choice and someone who’s going to bring change to D.C. My opponent lost statewide in 2006. He lost again statewide in 2017. And he’s going to lose in 2022, because our Alabama First team is on the road to victory.”

Bully for Katie.

It’s high time we elect people in Alabama who stand on their own two feet and put the people of this state first.  As to “what Alabama wants,” I dare say that Kattie Boyd Britt, knows the needs and challenges of this state far better than Donald Trump does.

 

 

Another Candidate For U.S. Senate

The Republican primary to replace Senator Richard Shelby picked up another candidate this past week.  Jessica Taylor, a failed candidate in 2020 for the state’s open Second Congressional District, has decided to join Mo Brooks, Lynda Blanchard and Katie Boyd Britt.

          Go here to see Taylor’s video announcement.

While Taylor may have the best of intentions. her video leaves you screaming, IS THIS THE BEST WE CAN DO?

It is hokey. amateurish and relies on a well-worn message of hate to sow division–not cohesion.   In a nutshell, it is a                       example of once again drawing a line in the sand to appeal to our most base instincts, instead of being uplifting and                         appealing to our better angels.

Taylor obviously wants to be a Trump clone and “drain the swamp.”   But didn’t Trump already do that?  Or maybe I’m                       confusing draining the swamp with the wall at the southern border that Mexico paid for.

She also tells us she will be Vice-President Kamala Harris’  “worst nightmare.”  Which no doubt sent a chill through the V-P’s           spine when she heard it.  Taylor also intends to send the Democratic liberal agenda into outer space which includes $2                     billion. earmarked for Alabama public schools from Covid relief.  I’m sure your local school superintendent will be excited to             know Taylor does not support public education.

When Martha Roby stepped down from Congress recently, Taylor ran for her seat, finishing third in the GOP primary.  At that           time, she said she lived in Prattville.  However, she now says she is a businesswoman in Birmingham

In a time when this country is more divided at any time in decades, candidates like Taylor are the last thing we need.

 

Mo Brooks’ Ever-Changing Jan. 6 Story

Editor’s note: Republican Congressman Mo Brooks from Huntsville desperately wants to replace Senator Richard Shelby in
Washington.  He has had a vary lackluster career as a U.S. Housie member and is known more for his loud mouth than any good works.  The problem for him is that he tells so many lies, he has a hard time keeping trach of them.

Josh Moon, investigative reporter for The Alabama Political Reporter, details below how Brooks has continually changed his tale of what happened on Jan. 6th and his role in it all:

“In a court filing last Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks laid blame, at least partly, on former President Donald Trump for Brooks’ fiery speech at a Jan. 6 rally, at which Brooks told the crowd it was time to “take names and kick ass.” The filing claimed Brooks would not have been speaking at the rally if not for Trump’s invitation and said the content of the speech was cleared by the White House.

That filing came in response to a lawsuit filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell against Brooks and three others, including Trump, for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection that resulted in five deaths — including the death of a Capitol Police officer — and saw lawmakers fleeing for their lives as rioters roamed through the House and Senate chambers and rummaged through lawmakers’ offices.

Thanks to his speech, his involvement in the planning of the Trump rally and his insistence on pushing the “Big Lie” claim of massive voting fraud, Brooks has been a central figure in the national outrage over what was one of the ugliest scenes in the history of the country.

Brooks has run from the heat, offering an ever-changing list of excuses and explanations and blaming an odd assortment of people. Here’s how his story has shifted and changed over the past six months.

  • Antifa did it: The day after the Capitol attack, Brooks began pushing the bogus claim that antifa or some other “leftists” were responsible. His claim, which he tweeted, was this: “Evidence growing that fascist ANTIFA orchestrated Capitol attack with clever mob control tactics.” Of course, this fiction has been debunked numerous times, including by the FBI and by many of the rioters who were later arrested. Even right-wing media outlets pushed back on the absurd claim and Brooks soon after stopped saying it.
  • That’s right, I said it: Two days after the antifa lie, on Jan. 9, Brooks tried a new tactic — defiance: “I make no apology for doing my absolute best to inspire patriotic Americans to not give up on our country and to fight back against anti-Christian socialists in the 2022 and 2024 elections,” Brooks wrote to AL.com in a text message. The defiance would be short-lived.
  • I was talking about Democrats: During his defiant period, Brooks also landed on another talking point that he leaned on a few times: Claiming that his reference to an “ass” in his “kick ass” rally comments was referring to Democrats. The Democratic Party’s mascot is a donkey. Brooks claimed in the text to AL.com, and later in a lengthy statement rebutting a Democratic censure resolution, that he meant only that he wanted to beat Democrats — “kick ass” — at the polls. This angle would also be short-lived.
  • Proud Boys did it: In an abrupt 180, a month after proclaiming that he was proud to inspire “patriots” to act, Brooks claimed in a C-SPAN interview that the insurrection really wasn’t that bad — “… if you had 20 or 30 al-Qaeda suicidal types in there, it could have been a horrible scene,” he said — and that good MAGAs had been infiltrated by bad MAGAs. Specifically, Brooks said the Proud Boys, Boogaloo Bois and Oath Keepers were involved and that the attack was planned well in advance. He didn’t mention his reported role in planning the rally, but he did admit that antifa played no role.
  • Those fools did it: Later in March, Brooks told AL.com that the attack wasn’t his fault, but was instead “fools” who stormed the Capitol. Gone were the references to antifa and leftists. Brooks was no longer proud and defiant about his speech. In late March, Brooks said the rioters “hurt the Republican Party” and said “those fools” disrupted a debate about the election results. In reality, a group of people angered by repeated lies fed to them by Brooks and others temporarily disrupted the certification of the Electoral College results.
  • My constituents did it: In a court filing responding to Swalwell’s lawsuit, Brooks said his involvement in the Jan. 6 rally and riot was merely his way of best representing his constituents. Brooks claimed in the filing that he was only doing his job and representing “the will of my constituents” when he spread lies about voter fraud and encouraged the Jan. 6 mob to “kick ass” and be ready to fight and shed blood like our founders.
  • Trump did it: In the same court filing, Brooks also blamed the former president for his fiery speech. Brooks said in the court documents that he never would have been at that rally speaking had it not been for an invitation from the Trump White House. He also said that White House officials reviewed the contents of his speech. So, really, it was their fault for asking him to say what they knew he was going to say.”

A Special Fourth Of July

Editor’s note:  Ken White of California wears a number of hats.  A writer, criminal defense attorney and civil litigator,  As he says, he is “Fascinated by the intersection of law and society.  How does the law work, compared to how it is supposed to work?  How does the law shape culture and vice versa?”

At this season, here is an article he did years ago that is especially fitting.  My writer son, Kevin, brought it to my attention.

“Thirty years ago, in the hot summer of 1992, I was working as an extern for Judge Ronald S.W. Lew, a federal judge in Los Angeles. One day in early July he abruptly walked into my office and said without preamble “Get your coat.” Somewhat concerned that I was about to be shown the door, I grabbed my blazer and followed him out of chambers into the hallway. I saw he had already assembled his two law clerks and his other summer extern there. Exchanging puzzled glances, we followed him into the art-deco judge’s elevator of the old Spring Street Courthouse, then into the cavernous judicial parking garage. He piled us into his spotless Cadillac and drove out of the garage without another word.

Within ten awkward, quiet minutes we arrived at one of the largest VFW posts in Los Angeles. Great throngs of people, dressed in Sunday best, were filing into the building. It was clear that they were families — babes in arms, small children running about, young and middle-aged parents. And in each family group there was a man — an elderly man, dressed in a military uniform, many stooped with age but all with the bearing of men who belonged in that VFW hall. They were all, I would learn later, Filipinos. Their children and grandchildren were Filipino-American; they were not. Yet.

Judge Lew — the first Chinese-American district court judge in the continental United States — grabbed his robe from the trunk and walked briskly into the VFW hall with his externs and clerks trailing behind him. We paused in the foyer and he introduced us to some of the VFW officers, who greeted him warmly. He donned his robe and peered through a window in a door to see hundreds of people sitting in the main hall, talking excitedly, the children waving small American flags and streamers about. One of the VFW officers whispered in his ear, and he nodded and said “I’ll see them first.” The clerks and my fellow extern were chatting to some immigration officials, and so he beckoned me. I followed him through a doorway to a small anteroom.

There, in a dark and baroquely decorated room, we found eight elderly men. These were too infirm to stand. Three were on stretchers, several were in wheelchairs, two had oxygen tanks. One had no right arm. A few relatives, beaming, stood near each one. One by one, Judge Lew administered the naturalization oath to them — closely, sometimes touching their hands, speaking loudly so they could hear him, like a priest administering extreme unction. They smiled, grasped his hand, spoke the oath as loudly as they could with evident pride. Some wept. I may have as well. One said, not with anger but with the tone of a dream finally realized, “We’ve waited so long for this.”

And oh, how they had waited. These men, born Filipinos, answered America’s call in World War II and fought for us. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked the men of the Philippines to fight, promising them United States citizenship and veterans benefits in return. 200,000 fought. Tens of thousands died. They weathered the brutal conditions under Japanese occupation, fought a valiant guerrilla war, and in some cases survived the Bataan death march.

In 1946, Congress reneged on FDR’s promise. Filipino solders who fought for us and their families were not given their promised citizenship, let alone benefits. Many came here anyway, had children who were born U.S. citizens, and some even became citizens through the process available to any immigrant. But many others, remembering the promise, asked that it be kept. And they waited.

They waited 54 years, until after most of them were dead. It was not until 1990 that Congress finally addressed this particular stain on our honor and granted them citizenship. (Their promised benefits were not even brought to a vote until 2008, when most of the happy men I saw that day were dead.)

Hence this July naturalization ceremony. After Judge Lew naturalized the veterans who were too infirm to stand in the main ceremony, he quickly took the stage in the main room. A frantic, joyous hush descended, and the dozens of veterans stood up and took the oath. Many wept. I kept getting something in my eye. And when Judge Lew declared them citizens, the families whooped and hugged their fathers and grandfathers and the children waved the little flags like maniacs.

I had the opportunity to congratulate a number of families and hear them greet Judge Lew. I heard expressions of great satisfaction. I heard more comments about how long they had waited. But I did not hear bitterness on this day. These men and their children had good cause to be bitter, and perhaps on other days they indulged in it. On this day they were proud to be Americans at last. Without forgetting the wrongs that had been done to them, they believed in an America that was more of the sum of its wrongs. Without forgetting 54 years of injustice, they believed in an America that had the potential to transcend its injustices. I don’t know if these men forgave the Congress that betrayed them and dishonored their service in 1946, or the subsequent Congresses and administrations too weak or indifferent to remedy that wrong. I don’t think that I could expect them to do so. But whether or not they forgave the sins of America, they loved the sinner, and were obviously enormously proud to become her citizens.

I am grateful to Judge Lew for taking me to that ceremony, and count myself privileged to have seen it. I think about it every Fourth of July, and more often than that. It reminds me that people have experienced far greater injustice than I ever will at this country’s hands, and yet are proud of it and determined to be part of it. They are moved by what Lincoln called the better angels of our nature to believe in the shared idea of what America should be without abandoning the struggle to right its wrongs. I want to be one of them”

Remembering Jackie Meacham This 4th Of July

Twenty-seven members of the 1961 class of Theodore high school met for lunch on June 14.  We came from across the country and gave testimony that the passage of time spares no one.

Jackie Meacham was not there.  Just as he has never been able to attend any of our reunions over the years.

The reason he was not seems especially fitting as we once again salute the men and women who made the supreme sacrifice for their county on another 4th of July.

Army PFC Jack Bennie Meacham lost his life in Viet Nam on Sunday, March 3, 1967.  He was 22 years old and had been in Viet Nam less than two months.

Everyone called him Jackie.  Just another kid with a flat top haircut in high school on the outskirts of Mobile.. I don ‘t know if he smoked, but it would be easy to imagine a pack of cigarettes rolled in his T-shirt sleeve.  Jackie would have been a perfect extra for the movie, Grease.  He had a quirky little smile.  Just another product of middle America.  I have no idea what his ambitions were beyond graduation.. And like most his classmates, I doubt he had ever heard of a tiny country on the other side of the world called Viet Nam.

But when his country called, he didn’t shy away.

Like thousands  of others, his name is etched for eternity at the Viet Nam memorial in Washington.   Panel 16 E, line 113.  On a long ago trip to the nation’s capital I stood in silence before his name and remembered him.

As with any 4th of July, this one will be celebrated with flags and fireworks and parades and speeches by politicians.  I will remember Jackie and my daddy who was in WW 11 and his father who was in WW 1.  I will offer a prayer for each.

And whether you consider yourself a Republican, Democrat, Tory, Whig or Hotentot, at this point in our history. prayers are certainly needed.  When our national “leaders” are far more concerned about self glorification than meeting the needs of their constituents, earnest, heart-felt prayer is all that will save us.  They have shown us time and again that they are simply incapable or unconcerned–of meeting our challenges.

Jackie Meacham, and more than 58,000 names etched in that wall, showed us courage.

And so I remember him this Fourth of July.

Kevin McCarthy Is Still The Worst Person In Congress.

California GOP congressman Kevin McCarthy is the minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives. On May 19 we made the case that he is the worst person in Congress.

Nothing has changed since for him to lose this title.

McCarthy is strongly opposed to a complete and thorough investigation of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.  As pointed out in the earlier post, McCarthy had no reluctance to double cross one of his own members (Rep. John Katko) when the member did exactly what McCarty instructed him to do.

And because of GOP opposition, the effort to create a commission to study Jan. 6 failed.  As a last resort. the Democrat majority in the House is moving forward to create a select committee to investigate what took place..

According to the resolution to create the select committee eight of the members will be appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and five by McCarthy.  McCarthy has yet to say if he will make appointments.  However, it has come to light that McCarthy told all freshmen GOP House members that if they accept appointment to this committee, they will be striped of any of their committee assignments.

One of Pelosi’s appointments to the committee is Rep. Liz Cheney of Worming, whose removal from a GOP leadership position was orchestrated by McCarthy.  It is apparent McCarthy and Cheney are not bosom buddies.

Why is McCarthy so opposed to looking closer at Jan. 6?  According to GOP sources, the minority leader feels threatened by what an investigation might find how his own reputation might be harmed.

Editor’s note:  While McCarthy and most Republicans are now opposing an investigation into Jan. 6, none of them seem to remember when GOP Speaker John Boehner set up the same kind of committee on May 2, 2014 to look into the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.  Some 225 Republicans voted in favor of this measure.  In fact, this was only one of six investigations conducted by Republican-controlled House committees about Benghazi.

Editor’s note I:  While the GOP controlled the House at this point, Democrats controlled the Senate.  Lindsey Graham of South Carolina wanted a special commission, such as the 9/11 commission, created to look into Benghazi.  He stated, Congressional oversight is crucial to understanding what happened before, during, and after the attacks, so we can be sure we do everything in our power to prevent future attacks.” 

Graham was opposed to taking the same approach to Jan. 6.

Summary:  This is leadership?  It is all a joke and the citizens of this nation are paying the price.  And would some one explain the logic of re-electing any of these people?

When It Comes To Public Education, Alabama GOP shows Its True Colors

We recently had a post referring to progress being made by the Alabama Education Association to restock their political action committee’s coffers.  We borrowed liberally from an article written for AL.com by Republican Cameron Smith in which he mentioned that the state GOP once warned GOP legislators about taking campaign contributions from AEA.

John Wahl is chair of the state Republican party.  He spoke to Yellowhammer News about AEA a few days ago.  A couple of his comments are very revealing.

“[I]t’s funny you bring that up because at one point in the past, there was actually a resolution passed by the state party, I believe, that was saying Republican candidates should not take money from the AEA because of their influence and the concern they would have over direct policy,” he stated. “So, of course, that’s a concern.”

There you go.  The GOP is concerned that educators might have influence when it comes to setting education policy.  What a novel idea.  Does that apply to legislation dealing with hospitals for instance.  Does the GOP think that hospital administrators should not have input in to policy concerning hospitals?  Or realtors when las impacting real estate are proposed?

I’m guessing they do not apply such standards to other professional groups.

“[T]here were jokes about how the AEA controlled the state and had a vast amount of control over policy and what would happen with the Governor’s office, the state legislature,” he (Wahl) explained. “So much of that has gotten better since Republicans have taken control.” 

Things have gotten better for public schools since the GOP took over the legislature in 2010?  Wow, why can’t I find an educator who agrees with this?

Under this GOP control, we now have the Alabama Accountability Act that has diverted $148 million from the Education Trust Fund so we can give scholarships to kids to go to private schools–even though three studies by the University of Alabama have shown the scholarship students perform no better than their public school counterparts.  We now have the A-F school report cards that no one pays attention to–except a handful of politicians who use the grades to beat up on public schools.

We now have legislation allowing charter schools.  Some of which have done well, while the charter for one in Washington County was revoked by the state after tremendous opposition from the local community.

And we have the Alabama Literacy Act which says that third graders can be retained in that grade if they don’t reach certain reading proficiencies–even though exhaustive research on this topic tells us retention does not work.  (And I have not yet found just one Alabama educator who agrees with this legislation, while I have found many who say it will require teachers to complete a great deal of additional paperwork.).

I do not know John Wahl.  But I feel confident in saying that he knows as much about what is good for public schools as the legislators he thinks should not listen to professional educators.

When Seeing Is Not Believing

When God invented college football he had a day like Nov. 16, 2013 in mind.  It was another game in the South’s oldest rivalry between Auburn University and the University of Georgia.  By the time the clock hit 0:00 at the end of the game, 87,451 fans had witnessed one of the more improbable games in the series history..

One that soon came to be known as the “prayer at Jordan Hare.”:

It was a glorious day with the temperature 70 degrees at the 2:30 p.m. kickoff.. Auburn was rated number 7 in the nation, Georgia number 25.  My son and I were in the north end zone, decked out in orange and blue.

Georgia scored late to take a 38 to 37 lead. And with 30 seconds on the clock, Auburn faced 4th down and 18 yards to go.  All seemed lost for the home team.

Then AU quarterback Nick Marshall threw in the direction of Ricardo Louis far down the field.  Two Georgia defenders waited to bat the pass away.  But instead of the ball falling harmlessly to the turf, it fell into the arms of Louis who scored.  The play covered 73 yards,

All hell broke loose. About 10,000 Georgia fans were in disbelief, as were the Auburn fans.  But for totally different reasons.  Suddenly what seemed like a 38-37 upset win for the Bulldogs was a 43-37 win for the good guys,

I share this memory because this country is caught up in a time when nearly half its citizens refuse to acknowledge the truth about the results of the November 2020 election for president.  Former president Donald Trump set this scenario into motion last summer when he began claiming this if he lost to Joe Biden, it would be because the election was rigged.  With Trump trailing in the polls,  he began a bogus defense.

Since then he has worked hard to spread what he calls “the big lie.”  The only problem, try as he might, he can not come up with  any supporting evidence   Some 60 law suits contending election fraud were all thrown out of court.  Recently a Republican report from Michigan said their election was not flawed.  And just today (June 24) the New York state Supreme Court suspended the law license of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliana for endlessly repeating lies about the election.

No doubt there were 10,000 or so Bulldog faithful leaving Jordan Hare on Nov. 16, 2013,  They did not like what happened.  But they did not question it because the truth was irrefutable.  Nor did their coach, Mark Richt. start shouting from the rooftops that the long pass Auburn completed at the end of the game never happened.  That it was all an illusion.  Or that the clock malfunctioned and the game should have been over a minute earlier.  Or that the referees cheated or Auburn had too many players on the field.

No, Richt took it like a man.  He did not try to rewrite history..

Something our former President and his radical followers can not do.  And this unwillingness to accept reality is eating away at our democracy.