Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Edit~The sad,sorry,state of separate and unequal education in Selma Alabama

LiA blogger countrycat posted a diary requesting donations to help educate Alabama school children via email from a friends daughter who is assigned to a school in Greensboro, AL with Teach for America. Which prompted the following comment from another public school teacher in Selma; 
I could use a hand too while you're all at it...
sorry its been awhile, busy personal life and transition from being unemployed to being fully employed has kept me from posting.

I have 135 students and only 82 textbooks for my kids. Out of that 82, probably only 40 are fit to be distributed. This isn't just a problem in Greensboro, or for newly minted TfA'ers (still not happy that they are displacing local, unemployed teachers, but I digress), most teachers in the state are feeling the pinch after now 2 years of proration.

I've had to be pretty creative, which means that I have killed my copier budget for the year printing pages out for students to take chapters home. I would be happy to set up an account on to help facilitate those interested in helping my students.

countrycat used the diary to illustrate the negative effects the Alabama Constitution has on public schools. However it lead me to question why educators are requesting donations to serve public school students in the black belt? What I discovered was a separate and unequal school system. One public. One private. One white. One black. Guess which one needs donations to help educate the students. *sigh*
There are 21 public schools and 4 private schools in Selma.

While the private school gets a new name and new life
When Gary Lamar Crum heard that Central Christian Academy’s low enrollment threatened to close the school, he decided to do something about it.

“We saw the school turning financially, and we said we need an angel, we need help,” said Carl Rawls, assistant principal. “[Crum] said I’m your angel.”

With funds from Ellwood Community Church, Crum, pastor and board chair, and the church purchased the pre-kindergarten through senior high school in March, changing the name to Ellwood Christian Church at the end of May.

The Selma School board wants voters to pass a 3-mill tax increase in order to build a new school and keep one open.
Earlier this year former school system superintendent Austin Obasohan had suggested closing the School of Discovery. The school costs more than $635,000 each year to operate. Obasohan also had recommended cutting staff in the Central Office to save $350,000. Both measures would provide most of the $1.4 million needed to pay off the debt service each year for construction of the new high school, Obasohan said at the time.

The lone white member of the school board is calling for fiscal responsibility
The Selma City Schools are asking for a raise in their allowance from the citizens of Selma. Understand that all citizens participate in a tax increase. Those who do not own property will see their rent increase and the price of goods will increase from local merchants so as to pay the tax. We all will equally suffer this increased tax burden. But if every effort has been made to be efficient and the public schools are producing excellent results an increase is certainly justified. This sadly is not the case.

There are approximately 4,000 students enrolled in the public school system, 97% African American, 2% white, 1% other. Approximately 1000 students are enrolled in private schools, 97% white 1% black, 1% other.

The public school system is begging for donations and the private school system gets new life.

The school system that serves the masses is struggling, the school system that serves the status quo is thriving.

The school system that depends on the state for funding is begging for what it needs.

Only in Alabama.

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