When it came to our schools, what went wrong?

Published 10:22 pm Saturday, February 15, 2014

What went so wrong, so fast?

When the Alabama Department of Education released their very detailed and very harsh report on its investigation of the Selma City School System, it called for the school system to provide a detailed corrective action plan.

Not long after that, it appeared everything was on pace on the part of the Selma School System to have a plan sent back to the state for its approval.

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But something happened.

The state said the plan needed more details, more hard deadlines and ways to track results and needed more input from the community.

But something happened.

There was even a letter sent to the Selma System from the state saying they were pleased at with the response and looked forward to moving forward from the results of that scathing report.

But something happened. What was it?

In a matter of just weeks, the tone of the relationship between Selma and the state changed dramatically to the point where in mid-January, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice called for the state board’s approval for the state to intervene in the Selma System.

Wednesday, that resolution received unanimous support from the state board.

What happened so fast for the tone of the relationship to change? Some members of the Selma City School Board don’t even know what happened.

For his part in this, Bice has appeared to be slow to get his blood pressure up, but his words Wednesday were anything but veiled.

“I’m a pretty collaborative, working sort of fellow, but don’t get between me and what’s right for a child,” Bice said following Wednesday’s meeting in Montgomery. “There is no patience for individuals in that school system that are not doing what’s right for children.”

He also made it very clear to the Selma City School Board what he expects in this takeover.

“It’s really up to the Selma board as to how they want this to work,” Bice said. “Our main thing is there are children that need to be served, and they are currently not being served the way we expect them to be. We’ll work with them on making decisions, or we’ll make them on their behalf if we need to.”

It is clear the Selma City School Board and the leadership of the Selma City School System failed to make decisions many would consider correct.

Not that many of the school board members have answered the public at all, it would be interesting to ask them what they would do if they had it to do it all over again.

Then again, it would be a more interesting question to ask them, “What went so wrong, so fast?”