"You have been noble in your profession, but it is not over and you are needed now more than ever." That's what blogger Larry Lee who has 200,000 followers with his impassioned blog told Jefferson County Retired Teachers Association.
The January meeting was held Monday, January 9 in the classroom at the central office building. Margaret Z. Beard presided as president of the organization. Lee drew a comparison between Massachusetts and Alabama education systems. He said, "Massachusetts spend $15,000 per year and Alabama spend only $9,000. It would take doubling the current Alabama education budget to level the playing field. Massachusetts is 18th in the country for property tax rate and Alabama is 49th. Also, no one mentions that while the average teacher salary in Alabama is $49,781, it is $76,981 in Massachusetts. Our teachers only make 65% as much as theirs make."
"He also cited the hiring of the current superintendent, the Alabama Accountability Act created in 2013 under the guise of helping poor kids stuck in failing schools by their zip codes. To date, we have now diverted $86 million from the Education Trust Fund to give vouchers to less than 4,000 students to attend private schools."
His blog provided a survey in December 2016 with 976 responses. When asked if his readers approved or disapproved of the job the governor is doing, only 1.5% approved and 87% said the governor opposes public schools. Some 92% said the search for a state superintendent was much too political and 92% did not agree with the decision to hire who was hired. Furthermore, 89% of the responses gave the state school board either a D or F. However, in spite of all of this, 53% believe our public schools are on the right track.
"What these numbers tell me is that there is a tremendous crisis of confidence in Alabama in those who should be working to make our education system better. No confidence whatsoever. Alabama educators are in desperate need of a voice."
"I urge you to keep working for your public schools. You are now the elder statesmen You will always have a special place in society. I encourage you to use your unique position to speak out today for our public schools."
View the Larry Lee Education Blog