With the March 3 vote on Amendment One rapidly approaching, we’re taking a final look at how folks feel.
A YES vote will switch Alabama from an elected state school board, to one appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state senate. A NO vote will continue the system we have had for the last 50 years.
Go here to let your voice be heard.
As always, answers are anonymous.
Results will soon be posted.
We are now five weeks away from the March 3 vote on whether to switch from an elected to an appointed state school board. A YES vote means you want a state board appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. A NO vote means you want to keep the system we have had since 1970.
While we have done two previous surveys on this issue, it is important that we get another look at public opinion with the election just a few weeks away. You should be able to complete this survey in less than three minuets.
You will find the survey here.
Your response is anonymous.
Also, please pass this along to friends and colleagues and ask them to respond as well.
Results will be posted with a few days.
With the first 700 responses to our latest survey now in, it’s time to see what folks are saying about the March 3 vote to change from an elected state school board to an appointed one.
Some 95 percent say they will vote NO on this amendment. (When we asked the same question in a July survey, 89 percent said no.)
If this constitutional amendment passes, the governor will appoint nine members to a commission known as the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education. Members will serve a six-year term and can not serve more than two terms. One member will be appointed from each of the present school board districts. They will appoint a secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education.
However, all appointments by the governor must be confirmed by the state senate. So in reality, the senate will call the shots.
Alabama had an appointed board until voters passed an amendment in 1969 to switch from appointed to elected. Consensus was that an appointed board only answered to the appointing authority (governor) and local voters and school systems had little input into education policy.
Obviously those who answered the survey are not interested in returning to a system once considered “failing.”
But before digging deeper, let’s look at who responded.
As might be expected, these 700 have close ties to public education. Retired educators made up 29 percent of responses, teachers were 30 percent and those who work for public school systems, but are not teachers, were 30 percent. And 53 percent have either children or grandchildren in public schools.
When it comes to political affiliation, 37 percent are Republicans, 37 percent are Independents and 26 percent are Democrats. Females were 64 percent of those who took the survey, 83 percent were Caucasian, 38 percent were from age 36 to 55 and 40 percent were from 56 to 70.
Why did those who will vote no do so? Some 23 percent say they do not want to give up their right to vote, while 70 percent say they do not trust the state senate to make good choices about who should be appointed to the state school board.
This distrust of the legislature is intense. When asked to give the legislature a letter grade of A-F, 71 percent handed out Ds and Fs. Only 21 percent gave them a C. And distrust of senate majority leader Del Marsh is even more intense. Some 93 percent say they have very little confidence in Marsh to do what is best for public schools.
No doubt this comes from his record since taking control of the senate in 2011. For example, he was the sponsor of the Alabama Accountability Act which has now diverted more than $150 million from the Education Trust Fund to give scholarships to students attending private schools, he sponsored the charter school law of 2015 which has led to major problems with charter schools in Montgomery and Washington County and he supported the 2012 law giving a letter grade to schools which is considered worthless by most educators.
While critics of our public schools claim educators are simply wanting to protect the “status quo,” this survey says that is not the case. For example, 61 percent believe education is going in the wrong direction. But they place the blame for this on education policy passed by the legislature, not on educators.
As we have pointed out before, the vote on March 3 is really more about how the public feels about the legislature and their too-often misguided attempts to pass unreasonable education policy, than it is about whether we should have an elected or an appointed school board. The disconnect between those in the statehouse and those in classrooms is about as wide as the Grand Canyon.
As long as this is the case, we will never have meaningful progress in Alabama. Until some folks on goat hill decide to try to build some bridges instead of burning them, the 700,000 students in our public schools will be the ones who pay the price.
A great number of those who will vote no on this amendment are the very people critics of public schools claim to represent. White, female and Republican. There are 27 Republican senators in Alabama. None of them are female. All 27 voted to support Del Marsh’s call for an appointed school board.
There are more female voters in Alabama than male. It appears that the Republican supermajority is largely out of sync with this voting bloc.
More than 600 people across Alabama have now responded to our survey about an elected vs. appointed state school board.
But the more, the better.
Go here to add your voice to those who have already taken the survey.
And be sure and ask others to give us their opinion as well.
We’re now just four months away from a CRITICAL vote regarding Alabama public education.
On March 3 voters will be asked to vote FOR or AGAINST Amendment One. A YES vote will be to abolish our elected state school board and replace it with a board appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. A NO vote means you want to keep the right to vote for your state school board member.
Alabama switched from an appointed to an elected board 50 years ago because the consensus was that an elected board was more accessible to local voters and educators.
Respond to the survey which you find here. Your response is anonymous.
And please pass this along to friends and colleagues and ask them to respond as well.
Results will be posted in a few weeks.
We posted a survey on July 2 asking readers how they feel about an elected vs. an appointed state school board. Response was tremendous as more than 1,000 answered the survey, even though we were bumping heads with the 4th of July.
The vote was overwhelmingly opposed to an appointed board, by 89 percent to 11 percent.
However, since the format of a survey such as this limits information you can obtain, need a favor.
If you were one of the many hundreds who said you would vote NO, I would like to probe your reasoning some. So I am asking that you send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The reason being that I would like to ask you a few more questions and dig a bit deeper.
Any info I get will be kept confidential. And as always, appreciate your help and the fact that you read this blog.