Category: Education

How Birmingham-Area High Schools Placed in the Best High School Rankings

Mountain Brook High School has been ranked the No. 1 high school in the Birmingham area as part of U.S. News and World Reports’ annual Best High Schools rankings. The school’s scores placed it in the 200th spot nationwide.

The top-ranked schools in the state was Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School in Montgomery, which also was ranked No. 17 in the nation. Read more.

Birmingham Council Sets April 19 Hearing and Vote on New Districts Despite Disenfranchisement Concerns

The Birmingham City Council has set an April 19 public hearing on its proposed redistricting plan, which will likely culminate in a vote despite concerns from some councilors that the timing of the redistricting’s implementation could be interpreted as voter disenfranchisement.

Municipal law requires the city to draw new district lines after each federal census, which happens every 10 years, to make sure that population is roughly balanced among the nine districts, which each elect representatives to the City Council and the school board.

Due to delays caused by COVID, the council didn’t receive the 2020 census results until earlier this year, even though there was an election in fall 2021. Some councilors, such as Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, expressed concerns over the timing of the new map’s implementation. For the changes to be made so early in a four-year term, O’Quinn said, “would essentially nullify (voters’) participation” in the 2021 election. Read more.

Critical Race Theory Divides Educators and State Leaders

Every time Annemarie Gray begins teaching a new unit in her history class, she changes the posters on the walls of her classroom at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham.

They currently feature Andrew Jackson and maps showing what’s known as the Trail of Tears. For the next lesson, she’ll put up photos of abolitionists who fought for the end of slavery.

Gray, who is white, says telling the whole story has always been important in her lessons.

“I’ve always sort of said that when it comes to teaching American history, I teach the good, the bad and the ugly,” Gray said. “Frankly, I would challenge anyone to come into my classroom and tell me that I’m teaching anything that isn’t the truth.”

But in Alabama, Mississippi and other parts of the country, the truth of American history is being challenged because of a concept that’s becoming a political football across the country — critical race theory. Read more.

Field Trips Look a Lot Different for Students This Year. But That’s Not Entirely Bad.

For Birmingham K-12 students, the McWane Science Center has been a key field trip destination where students climb on interactive exhibits, touch stingrays and learn about fossils. It’s a place students look forward to going to every year.

It’s especially exciting for 8-year-old Olivia Ragland and her friends.

“I mean this is my second field trip this year, and it’s already been fun,” she said. “So, I’m just happy.”

It is a complete 180 from last year, when Olivia said she felt sad that school was boring.

Many students in Birmingham spent the 2020-2021 school year online because of the pandemic. Many field trip destinations were closed as well. But with schools adapting to the pandemic, in-person field trips are back too. Read more.