State feel­ing buyer’s re­morse on Su­per­in­ten­dent of Ed­u­ca­tion

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS -

When we hear the words, “buyer’s re­morse,” we usu­ally think of some­body who bought a car they couldn’t af­ford or some lux­ury item that ended up not be­ing as great as they thought it would be.

But the term also ap­plies to the way a lot of mem­bers of the Alabama Leg­is­la­ture and the state Board of Ed­u­ca­tion feel about our school su­per­in­ten­dent, Michael Sen­tance.

The warn­ing signs should have been there from the be­gin­ning.

Af­ter all, Mr. Sen­tance isn’t even an ed­u­ca­tor! He’s an at­tor­ney by trade (spe­cial­iz­ing in tax law), and hasn’t spent a sin­gle day of his life in the class­room as a teacher or prin­ci­pal. He has no de­gree in ed­u­ca­tion, and his only pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence as an ed­u­ca­tion ad­min­is­tra­tor was from 1991-1996 as Sec­re­tary of Ed­u­ca­tion in Mas­sachusetts.

Be­fore be­com­ing Alabama’s Su­per­in­ten­dent of Ed­u­ca­tion, Mr. Sen­tance had been re­jected for sim­i­lar po­si­tions in Ken­tucky, Ne­vada, Ne­braska and Ohio.

In Alabama, his can­di­dacy was adamantly op­posed by those who wanted some­one who un­der­stands our unique needs. His ad­vo­cacy for char­ter schools also caused a lot of heart­burn.

Mr. Sen­tence orig­i­nally with­drew his ap­pli­ca­tion due to lack of sup­port, be­fore be­ing con­vinced to reap­ply. Shortly there­after, an anony­mous com­plaint against his strong­est op­po­nent, Dr. Craig Pouncey, be­came pub­lic, fol­lowed by a whis­per cam­paign that Dr. Pouncey would be in­ves­ti­gated by the state’s Ethics Com­mis­sion (no in­ves­ti­ga­tion ever took place).

If only the drama sur­round­ing Mr. Sen­tance had ended there.

Since tak­ing over the state’s De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, Mr. Sen­tance’s ten­ure has been one dis­as­ter af­ter an­other.

His pro­posal last month to re­or­ga­nize the state’s ca­reer tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion and work­force de­vel­op­ment pro­grams caused a huge back­lash from ed­u­ca­tors, stu­dents and mem­bers of the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion. Mr. Sen­tance pro­posal was deeply un­pop­u­lar and would have un­der­mined all the suc­cess the pro­gram has achieved.

Equally as trou­bling, Mr. Sen­tance left the mem­bers of the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion out of the loop on what he was plan­ning. Board mem­bers were caught off guard by plans and blind­sided by the me­dia.

This is be­com­ing a dis­turb­ing trend with Mr. Sen­tance, where a fail­ure to com­mu­ni­cate puts oth­ers in im­pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tions when the me­dia comes call­ing.

We saw this again just a few weeks ago when Mr. Sen­tance an­nounced a drop in high school grad­u­a­tion rates, fol­lowed by a pub­lic re­lease of num­bers that were not only in­cor­rect but had also never been seen by any of the state’s lo­cal su­per­in­ten­dents.

Mak­ing mat­ters worse, Mr. Sen­tance never truly ac­cepted re­spon­si­bil­ity and chose in­stead to blame oth­ers. But it’s not like this was a sim­ple ty­po­graph­i­cal er­ror, or one or two stats be­ing a lit­tle off. “Just Plain Neat in­for­ma­tion” from Leann McCoy, page editor

WASH­ING­TON, D.C. — Most folks know that small busi­nesses are the back­bone of our lo­cal economies. These small busi­nesses pro­vide good-pay­ing jobs for fam­i­lies across East Alabama.

The week of April 30May 6 is rec­og­nized as Small Busi­ness Week where Congress takes time to take a look at the small busi­nesses across the United States and the role they play in our econ­omy and lives.

Did you know there are 29 mil­lion small busi­nesses across the United States? In Alabama, ac­cord­ing to the United States Small Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion, we are home to over 380,000 small busi­nesses that make up 99.4 per­cent of Alabama busi­nesses.

These small busi­nesses pro­vide over 700,000 jobs across our state. That is 48 per­cent of Alabama em­ploy­ees – so al­most half of our state is em­ployed by a small busi­ness. Be­fore Pres­i­dent Trump was in of­fice, I reg­u­larly heard from our small busi­ness own­ers that un­nec­es­sary govern­ment red tape and reg­u­la­tions were hurt­ing their bot­tom line and forc­ing them to cut down on em­ploy­ees.

Now, with a strong ad­vo­cate in the White House, Congress can move from de­fense to of­fense in work­ing to help make the lives of these job cre­ators better. For ex­am­ple, in Jan­uary, I voted for H.R. 5, the Reg­u­la­tory Ac­count­abil­ity Act of 2017, which in­cluded a pro­vi­sion that would fo­cus on how regu- la­tions im­pact our small busi­nesses and ways to re­duce bur­den­some rules.

This bill and our use of the Con­gres­sional Re­view Act are just com­mon- sense so­lu­tions to undo some of the hard­ships that our small busi­ness own­ers dealt with.

I will con­tinue to work with Pres­i­dent Trump on sup­port­ing ac­tions that help build up our small busi­nesses and makes them stronger. I want to hear from you on this or any is­sue. Please sign up for my e-News­let­ter by vis­it­ing www.mikerogers.house.gov.

To stay up to date, you can also like me on Face­book at Con­gress­man Mike D. Rogers, follow me on Twit­ter, Pinterest and In­sta­gram at RepMikeRoger­sAL, on Tum­blr at www. repmikeroger­sal. tum­blr.com and you can also sub­scribe to my YouTube page at MikeRoger­sAL03.

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