Right on cue, the mailman left me a giant postcard (8 1/2 X 11) yesterday announcing “OUR SCHOOL BOARD AND OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM ARE BROKEN.” I was told, “We’re facing a loss of accreditation. If Montgomery’s schools lose accreditation, our children will have limited college and career choices and fewer scholarship opportunities…”
The timing was impeccable because last night AdvancEd, the agency that accredits the Montgomery County school system, made a report about the status of MPS and accreditation. The report was developed after a six-person team spent four days analyzing MPS in March..
While the report hardly heaped praise on the system, neither did it indicate that a loss of accreditation is imminent.
And for the first time since the state began intervention in January 2017, MPS has a precise roadmap of what they need to do. While the state kept promising a “plan,” it never showed up.
Andre Harrison, former superintendent of the Elmore County school system, is Alabama director for AdvancEd. He made the presentation to the MPS board. According to him, MPS is now classified as “accredited under review.” This has no impact on students’ ability to receive scholarship and college admission.
The accrediting agency will revisit Montgomery in December to check on progress in meeting goals. This review will be critical. MPS superintendent Ann Roy Moore says they are already hard at work to make necessary changes.
Melissa Snowden is on the MPS board. She is up for re-election and faces a strong challenge from one of Mayor Todd Strange’s hand-picked candidates.
“While everyone points their finger at the school board, they don’t stop to consider that when the state started their intervention, they were spending money like drunken sailors,” she told me. She is referring to such things as giving poor performing principals a 10 percent raise instead of terminating them, outsourcing a cleaning contract for $700,000 instead of using MPS employees, spending $536,000 for consultants to come in from Massachusetts and produce a report that was never used, loading up the central office with highly-paid folks from outside the state who lacked proper credentials to work in Alabama and giving someone a three-year, no-bid $750,000 contract to get MPS finances in order.
“It’s pretty sickening,” she says. “We got stuck with central office people we didn’t want, some sub par principals with new three-year contracts and reports not worth the paper they are written on. But we are now blamed for decisions we did not make.”
“It is nothing more than a political dog and pony show being orchestrated by some Montgomery politicians.”
I see nothing that causes me to disagree with her.
What is going on now in Montgomery is NOT about children, it’s about the quest for power.