Education

Talladega Band Looks to Crowdfunding to Help Pay for Inauguration Trip

The 200-member band wants to raise $75,000 to help pay for transportation, lodging and other expenses. A total of $6,625 has been raised through 110 contributions, since the campaign launched five days ago.

How Do National Championship Foes Alabama and Clemson Really Compare?

Most analysts compare defensive lines, secondaries, quarterbacks and ground games. But the Southern Education Desk decided to look at other facts about these two southern universities.

Despite Controversy, A College Band From Alabama Will March In Trump’s Parade

Talladega College isn’t known for its football team — because it doesn’t have one. But it does have a band — the 200-member Marching Tornadoes. It is the pride of the campus in this small town about 50 miles east of Birmingham, Alabama. The Presidential Inaugural Committee included Talladega’s band on its list of participants […]

Talladega College President Undecided On Band’s Inauguration Performance

Talladega College doesn’t have a football team, but it has a band – the Marching Tornadoes. More than 100 band members from the historically black college east of Birmingham have been invited to perform in President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural parade. The college president is undecided on whether the band will perform, a college spokesman said. Talladega […]

Many Schools Moving To Active Responses To Gunmen

The recent attack at Ohio State University is the latest to raise a troubling question: how should schools prepare for dangerous intruders? Many districts are moving away from the standard “lockdown” to more active responses that include fighting back, even against gunmen. But some security experts question that guidance. Joe Hendry is not one of them. […]

Alabama Admits Its High School Graduation Rate Was Inflated

Alabama boosted its graduation rate with questionable methods — but some policy changes also legitimately boosted the rate. It's hard to know how wrong it is, pending federal and state audit results.


This Mostly White City Wants To Leave Its Mostly Black School District

Jefferson County, Ala., schools have been under a desegregation order for decades. Now that a majority-white city wants to form its own district, a judge must decide if it's violating civil rights.

Gardendale School System Hearings End, Federal Judge Weighs Decision On Independent System

Federal Judge Madeline Haikala is considering whether Gardendale can pull out of the Jefferson County system & start its own without violating civil rights.

Alabama High School Grad Rates Inflated, Superintendent Says

“This is a black eye for the department and it makes the education system here look bad, and in some ways undeservedly so.”

UAB Breaks Ground on a new Business School

UAB leaders broke ground Friday on a new home for the university’s Collat School of Business.

Two Mountain Brook Students to take the Big TED-Ed Stage

Mountain Brook High School sophomores Brett Lewis and Sean Fredella have been selected to present their talks at the first ever TED-Ed Weekend in New York.

Tuscaloosa Teacher Investigated After Pro-Trump Image in Class

A Tuscaloosa high school teacher is under investigation after projecting a pro-Donald Trump image in one of his classes.

New “Nutritional Labels” For Trails Go Up At Oak Mountain

Hikers and runners who use trails at Oak Mountain State Park south of Birmingham have a new tool to help guide their outdoor fun. They’re trail signs, but they’re more than simple markers.

A Conversation with “Mr. Fred,” 86-Year-Old Learning to Read

Fred Oliver of Birmingham is 86 and a world traveler. He served in the Korean War, spent time in Japan, and has held more jobs than he can count. He loves to visit far-off places, but as we reported yesterday, his latest odyssey is close to home, at the Literacy Council of Central Alabama: he’s learning to read and write.

Fighting Adult Illiteracy, One Reader at a Time

Imagine not being able to read an email from your family. Or a job application. Or medication labels. How about a simple road sign? Adult illiteracy is a complex, stubborn problem. Based on conservative estimates, in the five-county area around Birmingham alone, there are more than 90,000 adults who have trouble reading and writing. There are almost as many reasons as there are people.

What Can Finland Teach Alabama About Education?

Several decades ago, Finland’s education system was considered mediocre. But starting around 2001, it came to be regarded as a powerhouse, usually at or near the top of the world’s nations on internationally normed tests. How? And can those strategies work in Alabama?

Education Activists Seek to Rescind Hire of Ala. Superintendent

About three dozen people organized by education advocate Larry Lee have signed on to be plaintiffs in pending legal action intended to rescind the hiring of Alabama Superintendent Michael Sentance.

Birmingham School Board Ousts Superintendent

After a heated meeting Thursday night, the Birmingham school board surprised many by voting six to three to fire the district’s Superintendent. Kelley Castlin-Gacutan, more often called “Dr. G,” had held the position for 14 months.

Birmingham Schools Host Charter School Forums

Alabama may very well have its first-ever charter schools next year. The approval process, which has already hit snags in other parts of the state, will go either through a state commission or through local school boards that have elected to become authorizers. Birmingham City Schools is one of just two authorizers in the state, and last night, school leaders held a meeting to explain what that means.

From CIA to United Way: Weld for B’ham on Diverse Agencies

This week, CIA Director John Brennan met with Birmingham City School students as part of a self-described crusade to make the agency more diverse. That’s one story in the latest Weld For Birmingham. Editor Nick Patterson joins us most Thursdays to discuss Weld's top stories. He tells WBHM’s Dan Carsen about Brennan's visit, and about Weld’s cover story on the United Way and area nonprofit groups.

Paddling Prevalent In Alabama Schools, South

One of the purposes in collecting this information is to determine if disciplinary polices are being used to discriminate. All the data so far tells us that black children are punished more harshly for the same offenses that white children commit.

CIA Director Visits Birmingham City School Students

Today Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan spoke to dignitaries and more than 50 high school students at Birmingham City Schools’ Central Office. His main goal was to get Birmingham students interested in careers at the CIA. He also acknowledged the CIA’s lack of diversity. “We need to have people from all different backgrounds and experiences,” he […]

State Board Approves Contract For New Superintendent Michael Sentance

Alabama’s new school superintendent Michael Sentance starts work Monday with annual salary and benefits of about $240,000. But the vote to approve his contract came with controversy over how the search was handled.

An ITT Teacher on the Human Side of Today’s Shutdown

ITT Technical Institutes are part of a national chain of for-profit colleges with three campuses in Alabama, including one in Bessemer. Or, they were. The Indiana-based company shut down all their campuses across the country today.

Birmingham Considering Spanish-English Charter School

The Spanish immersion dual-language school would be the first charter school of its kind in Alabama.

Cursive Law Writes New Chapter For Handwriting In Alabama’s Schools

Schools in Alabama were already required to teach cursive writing, but a new law now requires schools to provide cursive instruction by the end of the third grade, and report proficiency levels.

UAB CORD Program Helps Students Get Ahead of the Curve in Science

Students in Alabama and throughout the South are back in school this month. However, long before the first day of school, hundreds of kids spent part of their summer in labs at UAB. The goal? Getting ahead of the curve in science class.

Study of School District Borders Shows US, AL Economic Segregation

A wide body of research shows that students in poor school districts face real disadvantages. But the way the U.S. funds schools creates pockets of poverty right next to enclaves of wealth.

New Schools Chief Steps Into Turbulent Education Climate

Alabama has a new public schools chief. Last week, the State Board of Education selected Michael Sentance. He's the former Secretary of Education of Massachusetts and worked with the U.S. Department of Education. But he's never been a classroom teacher or principal and he was chosen over three Alabama candidates. That has some in the education community in an uproar. We talk about the situation with Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald.

State Board Taps Consultant for New Schools Chief

It took repeated tries, but today the state school board named Michael Sentance, a consultant and former Massachusetts Secretary of Education, its choice to be new Alabama Superintendent.

JeffCo Schools Personnel Director Faces Federal Child-Porn Charges

The legal picture for Jefferson County Schools’ jailed human resources director has become even darker. Brett William Kirkham already faces charges that include having sex with a student. Now he faces federal child-pornography charges too. Joyce White Vance, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, today announced the indictment against Kirkham, a longtime area […]

New International Baccalaureate School And Other Changes Ahead For Jeffco Middle School Students

Changes are on the way at some Jefferson County Schools following a federal judge’s approval of a realignment plan eliminating the systems’ three remaining K-8 schools and spreads the seventh and eighth graders out to nearby high schools.