So we all know that politicians take liberty with facts and truth (Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump being great examples) but when Governor Robert Bentley told a meeting of Manufacture Alabama that hiring Michael Sentance to be state school chief is, “like hiring
Saban” he managed to trump Trump in outlandish statements.

Of course he was referring to University of Alabama football Coach Nick Saban who most consider the most successful coach in college ranks these days.

No governor, your comparison is nowhere close to being accurate.  Coach Saban has been a head football coach five times (Toledo, Michigan State, LSU, Miami Dolphins, Alabama)

Michael Sentance has never headed any state’s K-12 education program at any time.

Nick Saban played football in college.  Let’s say being a player for a college team is the same as being a teacher in a school.  Sentance never was a teacher either.

Saban was an assistant coach in both the college and pro ranks.  Let’s say this is like being a principal or a local school superintendent.  Again, Sentance never did either.

Saban has lead college teams to five national championships.  Sentance has nothing in his background even remotely comparable.

The governor’s fascination with Sentance is that he worked in Massachusetts 15 years ago and that the state now has the top National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores in the country.  But what about their scores when Sentance worked as Senior Education Advisor to the Governor from 1996-2001?

Eighth grade NAEP scores are available for 1998.  At that time, three states outscored Massachusetts in Reading and 37 outranked them in Math.  Fourth grade scores are available for 2000.  Massachusetts ranked No. Three in Math and No. One in Reading.  So the governor is giving him credit for things that happened long after he was gone?  Apparently.

(Before being appointed by the governor as Senior Education Advisor, Sentence served for one year in 1995-96 as Secretary of Education.  This is a purely policy position with no administrative duties relating to managing state schools.  The person who is over schools in Massachusetts is the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education.)

(My comments about Michael Sentance are in no way meant to demean him.  He has not mis-represented his background and record.  It is what it is.  It is the governor and members of our state school board who are doing the mis-representing.)

And the governor’s continual harping about NAEP scores is proof positive that he does not understand what education is really all about and the challenges faced by schools in Alabama.

He would benefit from taking a few moments to read this article by Demopolis Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff who explains that education is much more than just a test score.