Sunday Discussion: Alabama Schools

This story has been making the rounds down here in Alabama.  A bill going through the Alabama Legislature would force school systems all throughout Alabama to not start school so early in August.  The bill would mandate schools to start within two weeks of Labor Day.  And the school year must end by the Friday before Memorial Day.  The thought is that tourist areas especially in Mobile and Baldwin Counties would see more people taking vacations which would generate more tax revenue.  But I am afraid if this bill is signed by Governor Bentley it will cause kids to become even more bored and parents will have to spend more money on day care for their kids.  Not many of us can afford to take extra vacations down at the beach right now.  So I do not know why the legislature would even consider such a bill.

At the same time this bill is being debated.  A report has come out saying that most high school students are not ready for college when they graduate.  Some of these figures are shocking.

Last year, 85 percent of 11th-graders passed the math portion of the Alabama High School Graduation Exam. However, on the ACT college entrance exam — required to get into most Alabama colleges — just 32 percent scored well enough in math to be considered college and career ready.

Eighteen percent of the state’s students scored high enough in all four categories of the ACT — English, reading, math and science — to be able to do college-level work, with 24 percent of white students and 3 percent of black students meeting the career and college readiness standards. Meanwhile, more than 95 percent of students who take the state’s graduation exam pass it.

A report released last week showed that 35 percent of Alabama’s high school graduates must take at least one remedial course when they enter public two- or four-year colleges in the state.  Graduation rate in Alabama’s high schools is 65%.

So why are we wanting to shorten the school year in Alabama just to please some business owners in the beach areas?  Are they addicted to cheap teenage labor?  Do they think that having a longer summer vacation will make them more money.  Or do they watch too much “Phineas and Ferb?”  I think this bill is a huge mistake for the kids in Alabama.  And there is another way to do things so that kids can have a successful future.

Schools needs to be in session longer throughout the year.  That means summer vacation might need to be shorter.  Alabama needs to stay competitive in a global economy.  If anyone went to schools in China or Europe they would see how different things really are.  Plus I would look on how taxpayer money is spent in schools.  Do some school systems have too many overpaid administrators.  Can some smaller school systems be combined to save money?  How easy can it be to fire bad teachers?  Or could some activities such as sports be cut back to save money and make kids learn better?  Alabama has got to try new things so that kids can perform better in school!

This article by Marty Nemko is long but a good read on how to fix schools.


Carrollton Georgia Mayfest

Part of the mission of Geek Alabama is to cover the events in NE Alabama and NW Georgia (I am located in Anniston) that the blogs and websites in Atlanta and Birmingham will often ignore.  So this event was on my to do list.

On Saturday I went to the 27th annual Carrollton Georgia Mayfest.  This event featured many things for everyone to do.  Part of the event featured the brand new AMP at Adamson Square.  A state of the art amphitheater that can seat up to 700 people.  The photos of the new venue are great!

Performances were held throughout the day and the act with the West African Drummers, from the Carrollton Cultural Arts Center was outstanding.  Even the kids were dancing along to the music.

The Soccer Collies made an appearance at Mayfest.  These trained collies play the game of soccer with people being the goalkeepers.  But the dogs win all the time!  This is one of the many reasons I love dogs!  And I hope one day soon the Soccer Collies comes to the Anniston/Gadsden area.  More info. at

The Children’s Village at Mayfest featured many things for the kids to do.  Some things included a mobile zipline, rock wall, bounce houses, rides, tennis court, bike rodeo put on by the Carrollton Bike Police for the little ones and much more!  The kids had a great time.

They had a mobile zipline that measured 25ft high and 80ft long.  Many kids enjoyed flying down the zipline.

Mayfest also had numerous vendors and organizations located throughout downtown.  Some of the things being sold were interesting.  And did you know that the City of Carrollton has a smart-phone app you can download.  Never seen something like that before.