Is It Still 2002 for Alabama’s Schoolchildren?

If you look at what we’re spending for Alabama’s children to be educated in our public schools, you might think it is. With renewed discussion about how Alabama is second only to Wisconsin in cuts to spending on public education since 2008 (the zenith of public education spending in Alabama), I couldn’t help but wonder what […]

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Protecting Student Privacy: FERPA and PPRA Notification Requirements

Student privacy. Protecting educational records. Hot topic these days. There are only a couple of ways parents can impact who has access to their child’s educational records in a public school. One of those opportunities comes at the beginning of the school year when parents are notified of their rights under the Family Educational Rights […]

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Scholarship Granting Organizations: What Do They Do?

With the Alabama Accountability Act’s provisions entering the second school year, here is a little better look at Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) and what role they play in assisting students who choose to attend nonpublic participating schools (see this for more information about nonpublic participating schools). The questions and answers below have absolutely nothing to do […]

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Number of Nonpublic Schools Participating in AAA Grows

The number of students using options provided through the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA) aren’t yet publicly available, but with the 2014-2015 school year opening in the next few weeks, here’s an update on which nonpublic, a.k.a. private, schools have agreed to take students from “failing” public schools along with the scholarships from donations that were […]

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Residency Requirements – What’s the Fuss?

This is the time of year parents and families dig out the utility bills and ask for copies of leases and deeds to prove they live where they say they live in order to enroll their children in a school district. Typically, proof of residency is required in order to establish residency within the actual school district and […]

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Enrollment Procedures: Which Documents Are Required?

It’s that time again. School registration time. As you begin to fill out forms and submit your proof of residency to school officials, you need to know which documents school officials can and cannot request during enrollment. In May 2014, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) sent a letter to State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice delineating various ways school officials […]

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Civics Education in Alabama’s Public Schools

Having celebrated the 4th of July, a.k.a. Independence Day, a few days ago, I thought you might like a look at what our children are expected to learn about civics in our Alabama public schools. I wrote about this a couple of years ago, but figured that since a new Social Studies course of study will be implemented in […]

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2014 Legislative Session Wrapup

Yes, the session ended months ago. A number of these laws go into effect tomorrow, July 1. Most folks concerned with education haven’t had the time to really dig in to what new laws the Alabama legislature laid down during this year’s session. So here’s your rundown. [The full list of education-related laws we followed was provided […]

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We Don’t Need No Federal Dollars for Education! Or Do We?

So goes the battle cry. Particularly now that it’s election season. Candidates opine about the good old days before the United States Department of Education (USDOE) existed. Candidates enlighten us with how we Alabamians would be so much better off if we could just determine our own education policies and not have to listen to what […]

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Tying Student Test Scores to Superintendent Evaluations

Everybody’s talking about tying teacher evaluations to student test scores. What if student growth, achievement, and/or test scores were tied to superintendent evaluations? What if, building upon the superintendent’s management skills, community-building skills, fiscal management skills, personnel recruitment and retainment skills, the superintendent was actually held accountable for how well students achieved (or didn’t) in his or her […]

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About Those School District Spending Numbers…

A whole lot of y’all looked at that table of per student spending by district I published on Monday. That’s a good thing. Hopefully you poked around and compared districts and did some thinking about whether those amounts were in line with what you expected. Here’s a different look at those numbers. A map of […]

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LIVE BLOG: Special Education Advisory Panel Meeting – 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP) meets today (Wednesday, June 18) from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Public comment is allowed from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m. LIVE BLOG and additional information here. Learn about Alabama’s SEAP as well as other states’ SEAPs for you to peruse. This is the only official state advisory panel where parents […]

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How Much Does Spending Differ Among Alabama’s School Districts?

Last Thursday, we heard the preliminary findings from the school funding study commissioned by the State Board of Education. There is so much to say, it is hard to know where to begin. Over the coming weeks and months, we will take a verrrry close look at how Alabama’s school districts spend money. The toughest […]

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Staying Informed: Board of Education Notice and Agenda

A central tenet of engagement is being informed. How do you stay informed without knowing what your board of education is up to? And how do you know what your board is up to if you don’t receive the proper notification and an idea of what will be discussed in advance of their board meetings? Most, but […]

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After the Primary, Who Is Heading to Montgomery?

After the primary, we now know who 63 of our 105 state House representatives and 16 of our 35 state Senators are for the next four years. The primary election was held on June 3. Twenty-five winning candidates (23 House and 2 Senate) are heading to Montgomery since they face no challenger in the general election. Add to that the incumbents […]

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Special Education in Alabama – The Numbers

  So. I’ve been wanting these numbers in this format for a long time now. And no one seemed interested in making it happen. So I decided to do so. Here’s what the numbers looked like before (one set of information for each school district): What follows are what those same numbers look like presented […]

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Who Are You Sending to Montgomery to Represent You? VOTE Today

Yeah, it’s June. Yeah, you’re probably not really thinking about who you will send to Montgomery to the State House for the 2015 Legislative Session. But in 32 of the 62 state legislative primary races (27 House and 5 Senate) across Alabama, the winner of the primary will be the one heading to Montgomery because he or […]

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Which Candidates Have Indicated Their Opposition to the Common Core?

You asked for it. So here you go. Based on indicators detailed below, I have compiled a list of candidates running in the primary on Tuesday, June 3, who have indicated their opposition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) through one or more of three indicators detailed below. In many cases, the primary election will decide the winner […]

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Do Your Research Before You Vote in the Alabama Primary

Here’s my best shot at collecting what has been written about the June 3 Primary Elections. It is limited to Alabama’s print and digital media. If I’ve left something out, please post it in the comments or send me an email. I’m only including articles here, no opinion pieces. [View the story "The June 3rd […]

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Class of 2013 Remediation Rates: 2- and 4-Year College Breakdown

We recently looked at the remediation rates for the class of 2013. In the initial examination of those rates, I couldn’t help but notice that in many cases there was a tremendous difference in remediation rates among the 2- and 4-year Alabama college enrollees graduating from the same high school. Statewide, 46.1% of the class of […]

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The June 3rd Primary Matters – VOTE!

Most folks don’t pay much attention to primaries. They believe the real race is run in November. But in Alabama, in many places, the real race is the primary, particularly where one party dominates the district. This is particularly true in three of the four State Board of Education district races which are up for election. While Dr. […]

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Nonpublic K-12 Schools No Longer Regulated by State Department of Education

Nonpublic schools, which include private, church and home schools, are no longer subject to licensing or other regulations by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) effective July 1, 2014. Unless they intend to enroll students eligible to transfer from public schools through the provisions of the Alabama Accountability Act, that is. According to numbers provided […]

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The Integration of Hoover City Schools – The Numbers

These are the numbers that show an Alabama school district whose racial and ethnic diversity has been growing steadily for the past ten years. This story is important because, 60 years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, this community is still wrestling with what it means to accept children of all colors and […]

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Not Just the Problems of Other People’s Children

This provocative new study from Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance and Education Next debunks the myth that “other people’s children” are the ones who are lagging behind where achievement measures are concerned. That myth is pervasive and one that brought me to the table of education activism more than a decade ago. I continue to have […]

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Remediation Rates for the Class of 2013

With high school graduation ceremonies beginning soon, and students contemplating their next steps, now is a good time to look back at the Class of 2013 to see how prepared they were for their first year of college in Alabama. We have only one real, publicly-available measure that allows that view: remediation rates. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education […]

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