Category: Education

‘Resegregation of Jefferson County’ Forum on School Breakaway Case Calls for Legal Changes

Calling for changes to state law governing a city’s ability to create its own school system, opponents of Gardendale’s breakaway effort say the issue isn’t simply about black and white, but a dilution of education resources and limitations on choices and chances for students.

“We’re not picking on Gardendale. We’re just trying to stop this train,” said Margaret Z. Beard, president of the Jefferson County Retired Teachers’ Association, one of the panelists at a Tuesday night Call to Action Forum at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church.

The north Jefferson County town of Gardendale’s effort to break away and form a new municipal system, which began five years ago and is now pending in the federal courts, was at the center of the discussion at the forum, titled “The Resegregation of Jefferson County.”

A petition circulated at the forum calls for an amendment to the Code of Alabama “to change from 5,000 to 25,000 the population a municipality must have before control of schools … shall be vested in a city board of education.” Read more.

Spelling Their Name Right Isn’t Enough for Gardendale School Supporters Tired of the Limelight

When organizers of an effort to separate Gardendale from the Jefferson County School System began their work, they had no idea it would attract so much attention from national news media — or that much of that attention would be unfavorable to their cause.

The effort to break away and form a new municipal system, which began five years ago and has since landed in the federal courts, has been covered by well-known media such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. The latter aroused the ire of parents of Gardendale High School students when a photographer was allowed to work inside the school. Additionally, reporters from online outlets that specialize in educational issues, racial issues or both have also focused on the city and the separation effort.

Last month alone, two stories were published nationally about the Gardendale breakaway, both casting the effort as part of a larger issue of resegregation in urban public schools. Read more.

JefCoEd Head Won’t Say Whether He’ll Seek Open State Superintendent’s Job

With State Supt. Michael Sentance having stepped down Wednesday after a contentious year at the helm of the state school system, the man whom Sentence originally beat out for the job is, by his own admission, playing his plans close to the vest.

Jefferson County Schools Supt. Craig Pouncey told reporters Thursday that he would not commit to seeking the state’s top education position for a third time, but he wouldn’t exactly rule it out, either. Read more.

Jefferson County’s 12 School Systems Getting Windfall From Bond Issue

Don’t be surprised if school board presidents and superintendents attending a luncheon with the Jefferson County Commission skip the cake or pie that follows their main course.

They’ll have a much bigger treat awaiting them.

While meeting in committee this morning, commissioners authorized the county manager to distribute the remaining unspent proceeds from the education sales and use tax, an amount totaling $69 million. Read more.

Michal Claims Birmingham School Board District 2 Seat

Terri Michal has been declared the winner in a tight race for the Birmingham City Board of Education District 2 seat.

Just 10 votes separated her from Brandon McCray after provisional ballots were counted and the vote certified Tuesday. Michal got 1,719 of those to McCray’s 1,709. Read more.

Most of the Birmingham Board of Education members will be new after the election. What do they have to say?

BirminghamWatch has put together a package on the Board of Education that includes a Q&A of candidates on some of the top issues the board will be facing, along with stories on challenges before the board and a rundown of what the board could look like after the new group is elected and takes office. Read more.

Contenders for the Birmingham Board of Education Discuss Challenges: A Q&A With the Candidates

Whoever wins the nine seats in the heavily contested race for the Birmingham Board of Education on Aug. 22, one thing is certain: the winners will find a big school system facing substantial challenges.

Some of the challenges are well publicized. For instance, 13 of the Birmingham City Schools 43 schools were listed by the Alabama State Department of Education as failing in 2017. In a city where a third of the residents live below the poverty line, nearly 50 percent of the students do, according to recent Census data.

But as the new school year begins, the elephant in the room may be that the BCS will be working with its ninth superintendent in 21 years.

With all that has gone before, all nine seats on the board are up for grabs, with 31 candidates in the running. Read more.