- Cullman, Alabama


February 17, 2013

Editorial: Stand firm for what is right

CULLMAN — The legislature’s Senate Education Committee last week voted for a flexibility bill that would grant more powers to local school boards and superintendents.

The move by the committee is promising, because local school districts need the ability to come from beneath the weight of blanket rules and regulations made from afar. While oversight is always advisable, as checks and balances, local school districts need more freedom to move in the direction that best suits improving education in their communities.

Standing in the way of this bill, which is supported by Gov. Robert Bentley and most of the Republican leadership, is a looming argument over teacher tenure. The Alabama Education Association, has already inserted an amendment through the committee to protect tenure. The tenure amendment got through the committee on a 5-4 vote.

The AEA, the ever-powerful union representing the state’s teachers, has long pressed its will in the Alabama political process. Expecting the organization to step aside for the sake of improving how school districts operate is nothing more than a dream. Lawmakers will have to ensure that the AEA is appeased or simply stand up to the organization and deliver the message that a new day of leadership and progress has arrived in Alabama.

While long, productive service should be appreciated in any profession, it goes against logic to tie the hands of leadership with union-demanded rules that don’t examine the larger picture. In the private sector, personnel is retained because of productivity and commitment to the business. The rule should not be different where education is concerned.

Lawmakers are on the right path with their effort to provide more flexibility for school districts. If the AEA threatens to derail the plan, legislators should stand firm and do what is right for the state’s children.

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