Hiring Mike Sentance as state superintendent was a mistake. A colossal mistake.
BUT HE DID NOT HIRE HIMSELF.
This was done by the Alabama State Board of Education. This is where the buck stops. No ifs, ands, or buts.
They knew he was not qualified, that he had never worked for a board, that he had no experience in managing people or budgets, that he had no education credentials and could not be hired as a teacher, principal or local superintendent in this state.
He has now been on the job for nearly 10 months. It has been little more than one mis-step after another. He has downgraded Alabama schools, Alabama educators, Alabama universities. He has failed to communicate with the board that hired him. He is now six months into a Montgomery County school system intervention and all we have to show for it are bills of more than $1.2 million.
If any educator in the state has confidence in his ability to lead, I can’t find them. At best he is leading a one-man parade.
None of this is a mystery. In a survey done by this blog last December with nearly 1,000 responses, 92.3 percent said he should not have been hired. And in another survey done in March, 80.7 perecent said Sentance should be terminated as soon as possible or given three months probation.
The public’s reaction to the Sentance hire has definitely washed over onto the state board. The March survey showed that while 85.7 percent gave Sentance a D or F on job performance, 66.1 percent also gave the state board a D or F.
Sentance was elected by the minimum of five of nine votes. Hardly a resounding mandate.
Two of these votes came from lame duck board member Matt Brown, who has walloped when he ran for election to his seat early in 2016, and by Governor Robert Bentley. Of course, neither of them are still around to answer for their mistake. The rest of the board is reaping the grief being caused by their choice.
Sentance’s administration is killing the morale of our public school educators. Like his dumb decision to give 10 percent raises to principals of Montgomery’s weakest schools, while ignoring the principals of the top-perfomring ones.
The power to right this wrong rests squarely in the hands of the state board of education.
We can forgive the mistake of hiring Mike Sentance. But we can not forgive the mistake of not taking immediate action to begin to right this sinking ship.