As we explained a couple of days ago, after being challenged in March about running on the Republican ballot for Montgomery County Board of Education, I was challenged again by former legislator Perry Hooper, Jr. of Montgomery in late April.

I am happy to report that in a conference call on May 15, the steering committee of the state Republican party denied the challenge and we’re now on to the primary on June 5 (hopefully).

And while I don’t consider this a knockout by any means, I do consider it a win by all means.

From the get-go I thought this challenge was more frivolous than anything else.  Why Hooper wanted to circumvent a decision made by his own home county, I will never know.  It’s strange that those who scream the loudest about “states rights” when referring to mandates from the Federal government don’t apply the same logic at the state and local level.

But then, who said that there is much logic used in political decisions?

Pat Wilson is chair of the Montgomery GOP.  She is a fine, fine person who spent more than 40 years in the classroom.  She knows far more about education and the things that should be done than any of those pushing the challenge.

It was sickening to me to see her being put through all of this commotion needlessly.  It was an insult to all the work she has done on behalf of the Republican party to be treated the way she was.

She made more than a yeoman effort in this matter.  I will always be grateful to her.

It was both heart-warming and humbling that when I put out a call for help to friends across the state to send emails of support, so many responded.  Especially retired educators.

I have connected most of the dots in this caper and know that the Business Council of Alabama does not want me on the Montgomery school board.  Actually, I don’t believe this has anything at all to do with the local school board, instead it is an effort to get an ounce of blood as payback for my being willing to speak loud and long about the continuing attacks on Alabama public schools by certain groups.  And BCA is standing at the head of the line.

There is no way that BCA can testify in favor of the Alabama Accountability Act and claim to want what is best for all the 730,000 children in our public schools.

BCA could be an extremely positive force for public schools if they wanted to be.  It’s unfortunate that is not the path they have chosen.

There is a battle going on for the heart and soul of our public schools.  And really for the heart and soul of Alabama.

So that battle has now landed on District 2 of the Montgomery School Board.  A few square miles of east Montgomery are now a microcosm of what is taking place from Bayou La Batre to Bridgeport and from Smith’s Station to York.

Last night I sat in a packed auditorium of a Montgomery elementary school while the 5th grade performed their own version of a Broadway musical.  It was delightful.  Mamas and daddies clapped and took pictures and beamed when Johnny or Mary had a featured part.

This was Alabama at its best.  This is what public schools are all about. About teachers who work tirelessly to teach some very awkward young man how to “dance” or some shy young lady to step to a microphone and recite lines with 500 pair of eyes staring at her.  It’s about the PTA giving the principal a check for $25,000 to be used to make her school better.

It’s about the smell of popcorn and five-year old little sister squirming on the floor at the front of the room while big sister sings and dances.

I know that.  It’s sad that others don’t.  That instead, they think a school board election is only about bending others to their own will.

I am glad the battle continues.

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