Educators ‘In Limbo’ Amid Accountability Act Debate

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Since the Alabama Accountability Act was pushed through and passed in a House Conference Committee nearly a week ago in Montgomery, Republicans, Democrats and state education agencies alike have had plenty to say. Some say the ‘flexibility’ inherent in the 28-page bill is actually a detriment to public schools in disguise, while others argue the measure is most important piece of legislation Alabama has taken up in a generation.

What is certain, though and seemingly universal among educators on the ground — in the daily trenches of  preparing our children for the future, for the workforce, for life — is the uncertainty.

Last-minute bill substitutionstemporary restraining orders, and court hearings seem to be all too much to digest for those with a much bigger task at hand.

“There’s just not enough information right now,” says Principal Towana Davis of Montview Elementary School in northwest Huntsville. “Not enough to really say what the benefits will be, what the effects will be so we are truly in limbo not knowing because it’s really going to be determined by whatever decision is made in Montgomery.”

Davis says the law is the law and educators have had to adapt as best they can to changes long before talks of so-called flexibility or accountability initiatives.

“I became an educator because I wanted to help children,” said Davis.  “I wanted to make the difference in a child’s life.”

As far as Principal Davis is concerned, she, her faculty and her staff cannot concern themselves with the back and forth.  They are too busy, she says, focusing on creating an environment where failure is not an option.

(PHOTO: David Wood, WHNT)

(PHOTO: David Wood, WHNT)

“I can confidently say that 95 percent of us — 100 percent of us — are here for the children. I cannot run my school effectively and be a proactive leader if I’m concerned about whatever the lawmakers in Montgomery are doing,” Davis insists.  “I have to understand that there will be changes but continue to run my school.”

Davis says her and her colleagues will continue to wait and hope whatever outcome emerges is the best for their students. She says she is not burying her head in the sand but simply knows involving herself in politics, finger-pointing and financial hypotheticals will certainly not advance the interests of her ‘babies’.

“The rubber hits the road in making sure our children  are academically sound,” Davis said.  “We’re here for these children.”

Wednesday afternoon a Montgomery judge issued a temporary restraining order to keep Governor Robert Bentley from signing the bill. Judge Charles Price scheduled the next hearing on this matter for March 15 at 10:15 a.m.