Valerie Strauss is an education reporter for the Washington Post in Washington, DC. She has been with this paper for many years and is highly respected. As a native of Florida she likes to keep abreast of education issues across the south. Her blog, The Answer Sheet, may well be the most read such blog in the country because of the range of education issues she covers. She has more than 27,000 followers on Twitter. (As a non-techie, I don’t know what this means other than a large number of people are interested in what she is saying and writing about.)
She has now weighed in on the recent appointment of Matt Brown to the state board of education. We swapped emails as I helped her get her arms around this situation.
Here is some of what she had to say:
Bentley hasn’t been what you’d call a friend to public schools, given his support for tax credits, vouchers and charter schools. This year he signed into law legislation that amended the 2013 Alabama Accountability Act and that diverts up to $30 million a year from the Education Trust Fund for “opportunity scholarships” (vouchers). He also recently signed a law allowing charter schools to open in Alabama and giving a new state commission the right to overturn a local school district’s rejection of specific charter applications. (So much for the traditional Republican love of all things local).
Now, Bentley has appointed Brown, a man with absolutely no history of participation of even interest in helping public schools in his district to a seat on the state Board of Education. In his announcement statement, Bentley said that he was “honored” to appoint Brown, who would bring “a unique perspective to the position.” Unique indeed.
You can find her full account here.