Pushing Middle-Schoolers All The Way Through College

Fewer reading materials in the home. Less access to camps or museums. Those are some reasons summer learning loss disproportionately affects low-income kids. And there are many in the South, which can hamper efforts to raise graduation rates. But in the second part of this Southern Education Desk series, WBHM’s Dan Carsen reports on “GEAR […]

Summer’s Season Of Learning Can Impact Graduation Rates

National education leaders are trumpeting recent increases in high school graduation rates, yet about 20 percent of kids still dropout before completing high school. That number jumps significantly among the Southern poor in places like Alabama and Mississippi. And it costs money. Dropouts earn less and governments pay more to support them. One possible solution? Make summer a season of learning for students that could help them stay engaged and in school. Sherrel Wheeler Stewart kicks off the Southern Education Desk series on Summer Learning and its impact high school graduation.

America’s Promise Alliance Focuses On Increasing Graduation Rates

When school bells next month signal the start of another year, millions will head back to class, but others who have dropped out will stay at home. Alma Powell, a Birmingham native and daughter of a former Parker High School principal, leads America’s Promise Alliance. This non profit is focused on increasing the nationwide high graduation rate to 90 percent.

See Photos From Issues and Ales: Concussions and the Price of Playing Football

On Thursday, WBHM gathered a panel of doctors, former football players and concussion experts at Workplay for the annual Issues and Ales. Andrew Yeager led the panel and opened up the end of each session for audience questions. You can listen to the discussion on the air on Wednesday, July 29 at 2 p.m.     […]

The Thorny Issues of Alabama’s Black Belt

Alabama's Black Belt historically held the state's wealth. But now that cotton is no longer king, it's one of the most impoverished regions of the country. The Black Belt has beautiful antebellum homes, but those homes were built thanks to slavery. The contrast shapes how Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald thinks about that part of the state. He's traveling Alabama this month and spent time recently in the Black Belt.

In Football Country, Concussions Spark A Parental Dilemma

More and more people are learning about the risks contact sports pose to the brain. So even here in football-loving Alabama, parents and young athletes are wrestling with a serious dilemma, one that could affect them decades later: to play or not to play. To help parents facing that decision, WBHM’s Dan Carsen got some […]

Vestavia Hills Board Of Education Votes To Keep Name, Change Mascot

Vestavia Hills High School has been catching a lot of heat for their name, “the Rebels” and their mascot, a caricature of an elderly Southern plantation owner. Several weeks ago, the public was given a chance to weigh in on the decision to keep the name and mascot or eliminate both. Last night, the Vestavia Hills Board of Education unanimously voted to keep the name, but not the mascot.

WBHM Visits YouthServe’s Urban Service Grad Camp

This morning, WBHM’s Rachel Osier Lindley and Michael Krall visited the first day of YouthServe, Inc.’s Urban Service Grad Camp to talk about storytelling. YouthServe is an organization that encourages leadership and volunteerism while empowering young people in Birmingham. Lindley and Krall led a session of YouthServe’s Advanced Mini Camp, which features key community issues and allows high […]

INTERVIEW: Carsen & Lindley On Emotional Vestavia Mascot Meeting

Since the mass shooting by a white supremacist in Charleston, South Carolina last month, symbols like the Confederate flag have come under renewed scrutiny. In Vestavia Hills, it’s the high school’s rebel mascot — sometimes called Colonel Reb or The Rebel Man — that’s drawing national attention. WBHM’s Dan Carsen went to an emotional public […]

Capacity Crowd Turns Out For Vestavia Mascot Forum

An emotional issue across the South and the nation came to a head in Vestavia Hills last night — the debate over symbols related to the Confederacy. The school board held a public forum, partly spurred by residents who want the system to drop its “Rebel” mascot. Listen above or read below. Under the text, […]

Alabama’s Teacher Of The Year On Teaching, Common Core, Mascots And More

Vestavia Hills science teacher Jennifer Brown is Alabama’s 2015-2016 Teacher of The Year. The 16-year educator, who once wanted to be a professional basketball player, sits down with WBHM’s Dan Carsen to talk about her motivations and about controversial issues like Common Core, charter schools, standardized testing and Vestavia Hills City Schools’ “Rebel” mascot. But the […]

University of Alabama History Professor Speaks About Cannonballs Found On Campus

It's not every day you stumble upon a 150-year-old relic. But that's what happened last week when a sidewalk repair crew at the University of Alabama uncovered 10 Civil War era cannonballs buried in the ground. The university called in a bomb squad as a precaution but the cannonballs were removed without incident. WBHM's Stephanie Beckett spoke with University of Alabama history professor Harold Selesky about why they probably came from that time period.

Flags and Rebels — What to do with Confederate Symbols

If you walk around the Alabama statehouse now, you will no longer see the Confederate battle flag on the grounds. That flag along with three other Confederate flags were removed from a memorial Wednesday on the orders of Governor Robert Bentley. Last week's shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, sparked a conversation about symbols of the Confederacy. Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald talks about the flag and the mascot of Vestavia Hills High School's mascot, the rebel.

Common Core: Can Standards Really Prepare Students for College?

Over the last two years, there has been a lot of debate surrounding the Common Core standards throughout the country. But sometimes, all the political noise can make us forget about the main goal of these standards. Do they really do a better job of preparing kids for college and careers? And if not, what’s stopping them?

General Krulak Wraps up Time at Birmingham-Southern College

When Birmingham-Southern College President General Charles Krulak announced his retirement in December, he told students, “this was a great time.” The former Marine Commandant and former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came to BSC four years ago when the campus was reeling from major financial turmoil. Faculty and programs were cut. Its accrediting agency issued a warning against BSC. Krulak is recognized for a leading a turnaround at the school that gained accolades from students, faculty and the larger community. As he prepares to step down at the end of June, WBHM’s Andrew Yeager spoke with Krulak in his office.

Re-branding Common Core – Does the Name Make a Difference?

Common Core education standards have been controversial since their adoption nearly half-a-decade ago. Some states have tried re-branding Common Core by changing the name. Others have dropped the standards all together. In the South, states are taking a different approach by asking residents themselves to reevaluate the standards.

Common Core: Challenges and Opposition

One of the hottest issues in State Houses this year was Common Core, national math and language arts standards released in 2010 and adopted by most states. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, this year more than 730 Common Core bills were introduced across the country, including 21 state proposals for repeal. This week, the Southern Education Desk examines why these public school standards are still so controversial in the South. Today Sherrel Wheeler Stewart from WBHM explains the roots of the opposition and the challenges the standards face.

State Superintendent Says Alabama’s Education Standards Shouldn’t Be Political

The Common Core State Standards have become a target around the country for some politicians and advocacy groups. Released in 2010, they're math and language arts standards intended to raise rigor and establish consistency across the nation. Alabama’s version, the College and Career Ready Standards, survived an attempt at repeal by state lawmakers this spring. In the above interview, WBHM’s Sherrel Wheeler Stewart talks with state superintendent Tommy Bice about the standards, the controversy they've stirred, and why he still supports them. And from Wednesday, June 17 through Friday, June 19, WBHM will air the Southern Education Desk's three-part series on Common Core, an issue that’s turning education standards into political battles.

Birmingham City Schools Released From State Takeover

State Board commends school system for improvements in finances and governance

Birmingham City Schools Free From State Control

Birmingham, Alabama’s school system is now free of state control. The state had taken over after financial mismanagement, corruption, and fighting among local board members so intense it sometimes got physical. Voters have since elected a very different school board. And now, Birmingham’s schools are independent again.

James Hanks, a Dropout “Recovered”

The U.S. Secretary of Education recently recognized Alabama for having one of the nation’s steepest increases in high school graduation rates. Birmingham City Schools’ rate increased even more – up roughly 23 percent in the last four years. The latest data reported to the state education department puts the system’s rate at 79 percent — just below […]

John Archibald on UAB Football’s Return

UAB backers don't have a specific date or a timeline, but they can still revel in Monday's announcement that UAB President Ray Watts would reinstate the football, bowling and rifle teams. It represents the work of fans, boosters, donors and many others who refuse to accept the decision in December to shutter the teams. While this turn of events makes for a great story, it also brings on a new set of questions. Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald comments on some of them.

UAB’s New Athletic Director Mark Ingram on Football’s Return

As UAB works to reinstate its football, bowling and rifle programs, a man who will have a big part of that is Mark Ingram. He’s UAB’s new athletic director who’s only been on the job two weeks. WBHM’s Andrew Yeager spoke with Ingram and began by asking when the team would return.

UAB Alumni President Speaks about Return of Football

The return of UAB’s football, bowling and rifle teams represents the work of many students, faculty, alumni and community members. One man who was in the think of it is Wes Smith. He’s president of the UAB National Alumni Society. He also led the task force that reviewed the decision to cut those athletic programs.

UAB Football’s Return Represents New Model But Challenges Remain

UAB football supporters cheered university president Ray Watts' decision Monday to reinstate the school’s football, bowling and rifle programs. He cut the teams in December citing costs. But Watts also had a message for those fans -- be ready to show significant support. That’s because football will depend on fundraising. Watts says the university will cap its support of athletics at $20 million dollars. Money to cover additional costs and new facilities will have to come from donors, business and the community. WBHM's Andrew Yeager spoke with Malcolm Moran. He’s the director of the Nation Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University.

UAB Football Retuns

UAB President Ray Watts addresses the media in a July 1, 2015 press conference   BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – UAB President Ray Watts said Monday he is bringing the football program back in 2016, reversing a decision to shut it down because it was too expensive. Watts cited renewed financial commitment from supporters, students and […]

UAB Needs Ray Watts and Football

UAB President Ray Watts should announce by Monday whether the university will revive its football, bowling and rifle teams after shutting them down in December. Football backers have aimed a lot of anger at Watts with some calling for him to go. A few voices have said this was the correct, albeit painful move for an institution of higher learning. But one prominent alumnus says UAB needs both Watts and football. Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald talks about that and case of business incentives he says shows bad citizenship on the part of an Alabama bank.

Community Involvement in a Possible Return of UAB Football

UAB President Ray Watts is expected announce by June first whether to bring back the university’s football, bowling and rifle programs. It’s a decision that many students and alumni have an interest in. The business community is watching too. We talk about it in this week’s Magic City Marketplace.

No Decision Yet On UAB Football Says President Ray Watts

University of Alabama at Birmingham President Ray L. Watt says "no decision has been made yet" on the future of UAB's football, bowling and rifle programs.

Awaiting a Decision on UAB Football

UAB football backers are examining a report released this week that details the viability of bringing back the university’s football, bowling and rifle programs. University President Ray Watts ended those teams in December citing finances. That sparked a huge uproar among students, alumni and some community members. But Watts he says he’ll announce by June 1st if he’ll reinstate those teams. We talk about the report and what’s to come with Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald.

Birmingham’s New School Superintendent Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gucatan Returns Home, Prepares To Lead

Dr. G begins work as superintendent of Birmingham City Schools on July 1.

New Hoover City Schools Superintendent Starts June 1

It’s been a headlined filled year for Hoover City Schools, with controversies over zoning and busing, and the resignation of their superintendent. Now a new leader, Dr. Kathy Murphy, is on deck to take the helm. WBHM’s Sherrel Wheeler Stewart sat down for a conversation with her as she looks ahead to this new assignment.