Low Academic Expectations = Low Academic Achievement
Alabamians should give thanks to the good Lord for New Mexico public education leaders. Alabama is no longer ranked last in K-12 education. According to a 2019 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, Alabama ranked 45th in College Readiness, 49th in Math, and 46th in Reading. Alabama’s graduation rate ranking was (not so for education insiders) oddly omitted from this particular study. Alabama Democrats and other authoritarian- leftist organizations proudly and loudly proclaim that education is a legal “right” which must be adequately funded and legislatively protected. Well then, when will left-authoritarians cease and desist from obstructing Alabama school children’s “right” to receive an adequate education? Alabama K-12 public schools consistently rank near the bottom in almost all core academic achievement standards. It is long past time for all Alabama school children to receive an adequately funded legal right to school-choice? The most recent world-wide spread of the Chinese Communist Party’s (COVID-19) bio-weapon has forced a state wide shut-down of all Alabama schools, sadly, but not unexpectedly, the rapid response from the Alabama Department of Education has been an almost complete elimination of all public-school academic expectations which is sure to help Alabama retain its next to last place ranking.
The right to receive an adequate education should be as fundamental as the “right” to choose one’s house, automobile, insurance carrier, or dining experience. Market choice increases quality and efficiency, but most importantly, market choice secures every individual’s right of personal freedom and economic liberty. When it comes to education in Alabama, only a select few possess the legal right of market choice. It is very important for Alabamians to recall when and where the right to receive an adequate education was legally established. Remember the racist Democrat Governor George Wallace once declaring, “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” Democrats then and today continue to fight against the individual right to choose an adequate education (1954: Brown vs. Board of Education). The United States Supreme Court ruled most recently in 2002 (Zelman vs. Simmons-Harris) a legal right to attend parochial schools as part of school voucher programs. Eighteen State Governments, including Washington D.C., provide more than twenty-nine school choice programs for students. School choice programs are not new or unproven educational concepts; school choice programs have been in operation since 1869. When it comes to Alabama school children’s “right” to choose their educational wants and needs, most, but not all, Alabamians are politically denied their legal “right” of choice. Why do Democrats continue to force the vast majority of Alabama school children into a failed bureaucratic government monopoly? More importantly, why are a select few Alabama school children legislatively privileged with the right to school-choice while others are denied equal protection?
In 2013, just three years after the Republican Party of Alabama gained control of the Alabama legislature for the first time since Reconstruction(1865-1877), they legislatively attempted to create school-choice programs for all Alabama students. They faced tremendous opposition from Alabama Democrats and other leftist organizations, such as the National Education Association(NEA) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Why do leftists oppose school-choice when they seemingly support individual choice in the public policy areas of abortion, marriage, gender identity, and naturalization? In 2013, the State of Alabama legislated the Alabama Accountability Act which provides a select few Alabamians with the legal right of school-choice. According to a 2019 review conducted by the Alabama Department of Revenue, 62% of black students in Alabama, 20% of whites, and 11% of Hispanics are eligible to receive this legislative privilege of school choice provided for by the Alabama Accountability Act. According to the (July 1, 2019) U.S. Census Bureau, Alabama demographics by race are categorized as follows: Whites are 65.4%, Blacks 26.8% while Hispanics encompass 4.4% of the state’s population. Recall the fact that Alabama public schools are ranked 49th and, in 1954, the SCOTUS required equal access to an adequate education be provided for all students. Why then does the Alabama legislature continue to discriminate and deny equal protection to all of its citizens? Who says history does not repeat itself!
One net positive that has come about from the spread of the CCP Virus (Covid-19) is that the general public (parents) gets to witness and/or experience the ridiculous incompetence on full display throughout our public-school systems. Governor Kay Ivey’s signature, on the most recent 7.1 billion-dollar education budget, is rock solid proof that money and technology are not the solutions to resolving Alabama’s consistently low academic achievement record. As of March 2020, the general public should take an objective look at the irrational CCP responses set forth by the Alabama State Department of Education: One, the high school senior graduation exam (U.S. Citizenship Exam) was canceled. Two, fourth-quarter curriculum assessments have been postponed or eliminated. Three, students are limited to two assignments per week not to exceed two hours of work. Four, all fourth-quarter curriculum is assessed as complete or incomplete. Completed work receives a grade of 100 while incomplete work remains a mystery for students at this time. Five, and without any rational explanation, unexcused student absences and grades, beginning in January of 2020 through March of 2020 have been eliminated. This irrational list goes on and on and without any thought or consideration having been given towards our student’s opportunity and legal right to receive an adequate educational experience.
“Relationships before rigor, grace before grades, patience before programs, and love before lessons,” states motivational speaker Dr. Brad Johnson. Too many public-school leaders have abandoned their professional duties and obligations to teaching and learning by subscribing to flamboyant, yet meaningless, quotations from motivational speakers. Teachers are paid to teach, so why don’t the politicians allow them to teach? What are chartered, private, and parochial schooled students learning from home during the state mandated CCP closures? Public school parents have begun asking these questions and are increasingly concerned that their children are being cheated out of an education. Yes, they are and have been cheated for decades. It is long past time for the Alabama Republican Party to live up to its political promises and implement a school-choice program for every K-12 child in Alabama. It is time for parents to stand up and defend their children’s right to an education worthy of something more than forty-ninth place.
Lectio D. Album