North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


March 8, 2013

Our Views: School flexibility bill shows how fast AEA has lost its influence

AN NJN EDITORIAL — Last week’s lightning-quick action — by Alabama State Legislature standards, anyway — on the so-called school flexibility bill was something to behold. And it only serves to indicate something that is now obvious to all in Montgomery: Paul Hubbert and his allies are either absent, or totally powerless.

The Republican majority in both chambers of the Alabama Legislature rammed through a bill that was originally designed to give school districts greater leeway in setting their instructional calendars each year. Instead, once the bill emerged from committees, it had been transformed into an act which would give tax credits to offset private-school tuition costs for parents with children in failing public schools.

Let’s put the merits of the bill aside for a moment, and take note of the lack of opposition by the Alabama Education Association, once the most powerful political force in the state — second only to the Democratic Party, with which it worked hand in hand and often as an extension of each other.

The GOP pushed this bill through both chambers before the AEA could man the phone banks. The deed was done in one day, and all that current AEA head Henry Mabry could do was watch.

Mabry was able to get the Senate to agree to an amendment that would eliminate so-called “dual-track” hiring for employees who would not being trying to get tenure, and also address some other workplace issues for teachers. But still, Mabry was largely left with table scraps, at least compared to what Hubbert would have cajoled out of legislators in his heyday.

Of course, if Hubbert and Joe Reed were still in power, this bill never would have seen the light of day. But when they saw how the composition of the legislature was taking a sharp turn to the political right, they bailed. The once-powerful AEA is now just an interested observer in the Capitol Hill scene, though still an important one — just not as important.

It is a day that many in Alabama thought they would never see.

Editor's note: Since this editorial appeared in our March 6 newspaper, the bill has been renamed the Alabama Accountability Act.

Text Only
  • Danielle Cater: Be strong in moments of weakness

    A sad scene took place on Sunday at a church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The founding pastor of Calvary Chapel stepped down from his position of head pastor due to “moral failing which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church.” This church is home to over 20,000 members who worship together in 10 locations across Florida.

    April 15, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Old dogs can learn new tricks

    You’re never too old to learn something new. I’m of the opinion that you can, indeed, teach an old dog new tricks.
    So as an old dog, I’ve been trying to pick up a new trick.

    April 7, 2014

  • Commentary: Bad vacation attitudes won't last forever

    In these photos, everyone else in the family is smiling as if this were their favorite vacation of all times, but I am huffing with my arms crossed and a literal frown on my face.

    March 26, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: I’ll never live down running out of gas

    Have you ever had one of those days where you are functioning on four hours of sleep, and yet you still have to get up at 5:45 a.m. to get the family to church by 7 a.m. on the other side of town? After church you run home to get ready for your 6-year-old’s birthday party and then head straight back to church to help with the services until after 9 p.m.? That just might be a good description of our Sunday afternoon. Whoever said “easy like Sunday morning” obviously didn’t have kids and probably didn’t go to church.

    March 20, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Most people aren’t politically correct

    I probably work in the wrong profession to hate political correctness, but I do. I can’t stand it when I feel as if I need to walk on eggshells all the time to keep from hurting people’s feelings. I don’t try to be excessively offensive, but people are so easily offended these days, it’s almost impossible not to tick someone off by everything that you say or do.

    March 14, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Lessons, fun times make retreats enjoyable

    I did something recently that is apparently out of the ordinary for most people. I went to a marriage conference while I was not in the midst of marital problems.

    March 6, 2014

  • Letter to the editor: Thanks to Gardendale citizens for hospitality

    We, along with many other travelers, spent the next two days and nights in your splendid center. We are of the opinion that we couldn’t have been stranded in a better place.

    February 28, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Be sure to give your kids what they need

    Once the snow melted this week, life went back to normal and we all found ourselves busy with our regular day-to-day activities, and trying to catch up on everything we had put on the back burner during the snow days.
    Our household had a busy weekend, and among the events of the weekend, we celebrated our second birthday in three weeks. That’s right, our perfectly-blended family has given us two daughters who celebrate birthdays within three weeks of each other.

    February 18, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: Find excitement in the boring days

    Many people got to take a vacation day this past Monday for MLK Day. What this day stands for is a great cause and an issue that should be addressed, but for many people, it was just another holiday.
    Our office is like most other offices, so we were open to the public Monday. But since schools and daycares were closed, I got the privilege of staying home with the four best daughters in the world. We started off the day with the attitude of fun.

    January 22, 2014

  • Danielle Cater: One year down, rest of my life to go

    Dec. 29, 2013 has come and gone, and for many people it held no lasting significance. But for me, it marked the first anniversary of marriage to my amazing husband.

    January 9, 2014