9 months ago

Marsh, Ivey to propose historic overhaul of state school board

MONTGOMERY – Yellowhammer News has learned that Governor Kay Ivey and Senate President Del Marsh (R-Anniston) are moving to replace the elected Alabama State School Board with a new body that would be appointed by the governor.

Marsh will soon introduce a constitutional amendment in the legislature to establish the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education.

The effort will attempt to historically reform the structure of Alabama’s governing body for education and turn the state’s public education system around.

Sources say this legislation, which is supported by Ivey, would provide for a referendum to go to the people during the March 2020 primary election if passed by the Alabama legislature during its ongoing 2019 regular session.

The proposal will likely include the appointment of commission members by the governor, and subject to confirmation by the Senate, initially in staggered terms. Terms of the current state school board members would end when the respective new appointments are confirmed, with the exact timing to be determined by the legislature after the hypothetical approval of the constitutional amendment in 2020.

The legislation will mandate that members make up the geographical, gender and racial diversity reflective of the Alabama public school system. Terms will run six years, with a maximum of two full terms per member.

There will be nine total members, with each Congressional District getting a member and, as needed, at-large positions filling the remainder to ensure the total membership is always nine.

Another highlight of the bill is that the State Superintendent position would be abolished and replaced with a Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, appointed by the commission and subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Terms and conditions of the employment of the secretary will be determined by the commission. A secretary would continue to serve in the position until a new secretary is selected and confirmed by the Senate. If a vacancy occurred outside of a legislative session, an interim could be be selected but must be confirmed within five legislative days once the legislature is back in session.

The legislation also provides that the State Department of Education would work under the jurisdiction and direction of the commission and in coordination with local boards of education.

Immediately upon the new commission’s confirmation, the governor would appoint a diverse team of current and former educators, administrators and other experts from throughout the state to consult with and make recommendations to the commission on a regular basis relating to the operation and functioning of the Department of Education.

Why this is being proposed

The motivation behind the legislation is simple.

“It’s obvious that what we have been doing in Alabama has not been working,” a source with direct knowledge of the legislation emphasized to Yellowhammer News.

The latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) ranking put Alabama at a dismal 49th in 8th grade Math and 46th in 8th grade Reading nationally.

Marsh has been working for months to bring stakeholders together to allow them to provide input – which they have done.

The powerful senate pro tem, long considered a top leader on education policy in Alabama, looked at what other states that are successful are doing with their leadership structure. One commonality with those states is a school board structured the way his legislation would provide.

Alabama is currently one of only six states with an elected school board appointing a chief state school officer. The Yellowhammer State’s current model provides the governor with the “least amount of direct authority over education.” Additionally, this model has “limited ability to press for expansive policy changes.”

For comparison, all of Alabama’s neighbors have governor-appointed school boards, and all of the top states in NAEP rankings have governor-appointed boards.

The commission’s functions would be provided by general law but also explicitly would include development of the following:

  • Course of study standards that ensure consistency and transferability around the country, in lieu of Common Core.
  • A comprehensive teacher certification program.
  • A comprehensive teacher professional development program.
  • An accountability and assessment program

This comes in the wake of Marsh introducing a bill this session to replace Common Core in the state of Alabama. That bill has stalled in the House Education Policy Committee. He cited the state’s poor educational outcomes and ranking in bringing that Common Core repeal.

This topic has been an issue at the forefront of recent state policy discussions, and 43 percent of Alabamians even ranked education as the most pressing issue facing the state in a 2019 PARCA poll.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

10 hours ago

Alabama voting rights activist jailed on drug charges while on bond for capital murder charge

An Alabama activist is jailed on assault and other charges.

Records show 54-year-old Kenneth Glasgow was being held without bond at the Houston County Jail on Tuesday.

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He was arrested Saturday on charges including drug possession, assault and evidence tampering.

Police tell news outlets that Glasgow struggled with an officer who tried to arrest him after finding crack inside his pocket.

Glasgow has worked for years to register prisoners to vote inside Alabama jails and prisons.

He was charged with capital murder in 2018 after a fatal shooting but was out on bond.

He’s the half-brother of nationally known activist Al Sharpton.

 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

RELATED: Al Sharpton’s half-brother, already facing Alabama capital murder charges, arrested again

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10 hours ago

Hurts: Time back in Alabama going ‘really well’ — ‘Love’ for Bama will ‘never go away’

MOBILE — The Senior Bowl Week Media Day was held on Tuesday at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center, and former University of Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts had droves of reporters on hand hoping to capture yet another classic Hurts press conference. The humble Hurts did not disappoint.

To kick off his remarks, Hurts commented once again on being back in the Yellowhammer State. He, of course, played at Oklahoma this past season as a graduate transfer from Tuscaloosa. Hurts finished as the runner-up in the 2019 Heisman Trophy voting.

“I think being here and being back in this state is [going] really well. I’m having this opportunity to play in this game and showcase my abilities and show what I’m made of. I’m thankful for it, I’m appreciative of it. And I’m ready to attack it,” Hurts said.

Asked on a follow-up question to compare the Alabama and Oklahoma fanbases, he responded, “I have a lot of respect for both universities. Both have rich tradition, history. I appreciate all the support.”

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The quarterback would later say both programs have “great coaches.”

RELATED: Hurts on Saban: ‘We always had a love for each other … our relationship will never die’

Of the universities, Hurts added, “The appreciation I have for them both, the love I have for them both, it’ll never go away. The way that they’ve accepted me, both schools, not many people can say that they’ve experienced that or they have that … so I’m thankful for it.”

Hurts said that during Senior Bowl Week and in the game on Saturday, he simply wants to “be the best version of” himself. He listed executing, learning and being a “student of the game” as priorities.

The former Tide star was also asked if he has had the opportunity to visit with the outgoing Bama players at the Senior Bowl, his former teammates Jared Mayden, Terrell Lewis, Raekwon Davis and Anfernee Jennings.

“Yes, sir,” Hurts answered. “It’s been well [sic]. Great seeing them. Good to be out there on the practice field with them again. I think they have the same approach I have in terms of maximizing this opportunity.”

RELATED: Bama’s Jared Mayden glad to be reunited with ‘natural leader’ Jalen Hurts for Senior Bowl

Hurts later quipped that he plays with “a boulder” on his shoulder rather than merely “a chip.”

Asked about the reception he expected back in the state of Alabama and what it has been like so far, Hurts commented, “It’s been pretty hectic so far — in a good way. Just being back here, a lot of love. I’m appreciative of it all.”

“I get on the elevator, one of the workers at the hotel we’re staying at — she let me have it in terms of just screaming,” he continued with a smile. “‘Jalen Hurts is really on my elevator,’ just stuff like that. That’s special to me, and I know it won’t be like that forever. I’m just soaking it all in.”

You can watch Hurts’ full interview below:

Media Day followed the Senior Bowl Week introductory press conference that was held Monday evening.

RELATED: Senior Bowl Week kicks off in Mobile as director praises ‘beloved’ Jalen Hurts — ‘He’s come so far’

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

Byrne: Impeachment is nothing to smile about

For three years now, the American people have been forced to endure the efforts by Democrats and the liberal mainstream media to impeach President Trump and remove him from office in the face of his clear electoral victory in 2016. They have tried everything, from a needless special prosecutor investigation, which resulted in nothing, to an Adam Schiff-coached whistleblower who admitted he had no firsthand information and relied on news articles by that same liberal media.

The farce produced just two articles of impeachment, neither of which alleges “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” as required by the Constitution. An unprecedented and totally partisan process in the House produced nothing that Democrats could even allege is impeachable.

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Then Nancy Pelosi, after insisting for weeks that impeachment couldn’t wait and had to be done by Christmas, held onto the articles, refusing to send them to the Senate as is required. This prolonged the spotlight on her, as the ever-worshipful liberal media gushed over her political brilliance, ignoring the inconvenient fact that her strategy of forcing the Senate to adopt her preferred process for the trial completely failed.

The Constitution is clear. While the House has “the sole Power of Impeachments,” the Senate has “the sole Power to try Impeachments.” And the Constitution clearly states that each house of Congress sets its own rules. Pelosi had no right or power to dictate trial rules to the Senate. Her behavior was unconstitutional and brought embarrassment and dishonor on the House. So, I filed a resolution censoring the speaker for her inappropriate behavior.

Finally, last week as Democrats began to abandon Pelosi’s position, she relented, and the House appointed seven “managers” to present the House’s articles and “case” to the Senate. Led by Schiff, who literally made-up words for the transcript of President Trump’s call to the President of Ukraine in his first day of impeachment “hearings,” and by the bumbling and incompetent Jerry Nadler, the House managers will finally have to behave according to the rules of a truly fair process, presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the competent John Roberts, who will tolerate none of the misbehavior the Democrats repeatedly engaged in as this mess moved through the House.

Pelosi couldn’t stand to lose her spotlight, and, in one last shameful act, had a “signing ceremony” where she and other Democrats smiled and laughed as she pronounced President Trump “impeached forever” and handed out pens. Even some of her adoring fans in the liberal media said she went too far.

What now? The Senate will meet every day except for Sundays beginning at 1:00 p.m. Every senator must attend. They cannot talk or bring electronic devices. They will initially hear the House managers’ “case” for the articles of impeachment, and then the president’s lawyers will finally be allowed to present his case. Be prepared for the House managers to be longwinded and ineffective. Be prepared for the president’s team to be briefer and speak clearly to the essential points of weakness in the articles. Then senators will be allowed to ask questions through Chief Justice Roberts.

What happens next is unclear. Will the Senate dismiss the articles? Will they acquit the president? Will they unnecessarily delay things further by calling witnesses? We don’t know.

But, we do know that not a single Republican voted for these articles in the House and even a few Democrats voted against them. One Democrat changed parties over the vote. We also know there are not nearly enough senators to meet the two-thirds threshold to remove President Trump from office. And we know this will have all been a complete waste of time.

This fall, in the general election, the American people will finally have their say, as the framers of our Constitution intended. I predict Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler won’t be smiling.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope. He is a 2020 candidate for the U.S. Senate.

12 hours ago

Watch: Jessica Taylor touts ‘humble roots’, takes aim at ‘The Squad’ in first TV ad

Jessica Taylor, an attorney in Prattville seeking the Republican nomination for Alabama’s second congressional district, released her first television advertisement on Tuesday.

The ad, which is titled “My Squad,” is mostly composed of footage and soundbites from Taylor’s viral announcement video that garnered national attention.

The video begins by touting Taylor’s “humble roots,” and the candidate goes on to say she wants “to protect life, the Second Amendment, our borders and President Trump from socialists in the swamp”

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Taylor’s competitors in the March 3 Republican Primary will be former Alabama Attorney General Troy King, former State Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman.

According to Taylor’s campaign, the spot “will air on broadcast and cable over the next two weeks in the Montgomery media market beginning this Wednesday.”

Predictably in an ad titled “My Squad,” the spot makes references to “The Squad” while displaying images of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

The Squad” is a group of four U.S. Representatives that are new to Congress, female and represent the furthest left wing of the Democratic Party. Cortez and Omar are two members of “The Squad” that have generated particular ire among Republican primary voters.

As a response to “The Squad,” Taylor led the effort to create the “Conservative squad,” which is composed of four female conservative Republicans currently seeking election to the House.

In a statement sent to reporters that accompanied the ad, Taylor said one of her goals in Congress would be to “fight back against radical socialists like AOC and Ilhan Omar.”

The spot also continues to use the language and iconography of basketball, which Taylor grew up playing.

“Alabama, put me in the game!” proclaims Taylor to conclude.

Watch:

14 hours ago

Bama’s Jared Mayden glad to be reunited with ‘natural leader’ Jalen Hurts for Senior Bowl

MOBILE — Reunited and it feels so good. That was the sentiment expressed by one of Jalen Hurts’ former University of Alabama Crimson Tide teammates during the Senior Bowl Week Media Day on Tuesday.

Hurts, of course, played for the Oklahoma Sooners this past season as a graduate transfer from Alabama. He finished as the runner-up in the 2019 Heisman Trophy voting.

He will play for the South Team during Saturday’s Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, as will the Tide’s Jared Mayden, Terrell Lewis, Raekwon Davis and Anfernee Jennings.

As captured by Yellowhammer News, Mayden spoke with reporters during Media Day about how it feels being on the same field — and the same team — as Hurts once again.

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“It means a lot,” Mayden stressed. “Especially since he’s on my team [as opposed to playing against him on the North Team]. I’m glad he’s on my team because Jalen’s a leader, a natural leader. He doesn’t have to try too hard. It just seems like it comes natural to him. I know he’ll probably have some things to say that’ll get everybody ready to play. He did it at Bama; I expect no less from him [now]. So I’m excited to get the opportunity to play with him again.”

If you missed Yellowhammer’s coverage of the start of Senior Bowl Week, read more here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn