Alabama Department of Education

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More than two dozen Alabama legislators have taken state officials up on an invitation to visit schools in their districts and talk with students, teachers and school administrators.

Legislators said they were impressed with the teachers and students they met during the visits Tuesday. But several legislators said they were disappointed to find overcrowded classrooms and not enough money for supplies.

Republican Rep. Greg Wren of Montgomery says he's disappointed teachers have to spend so much time filling out paperwork when they could be teaching students.

The state Department of Education is planning to unveil its new way to address barriers to learning and teaching and to re-engage disconnected students.

   Department officials will join other educators Friday in Montgomery to present the Comprehensive System of Learning Supports design documents.

   The director of the department's Office of Learning Support, Linda Felton-Smith, says the design moves student supports away from reacting to problems and moves them toward a system emphasizing prevention and early intervention.

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Advocates for the disabled say they're concerned about the future of special education programs since state officials plan to inspect them less often.

The Anniston Star (http://bit.ly/13QW7Qp ) reported Sunday that the state Department of Education will transition from inspecting the programs once every three years to once every four years beginning this school year.

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Alabama education officials say more than a third of college freshman from the state needed remedial coursework last fall.

Deputy Superintendent of Education, Sherrill Parris, says the amount of students who graduated high school and needed remedial coursework factored into Plan 2020 — a statewide initiative to improve education over the next seven years.

Parris and executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, Gregory Fitch, say standards requiring students to enroll in remedial courses varies between the state's public colleges and universities.

A three-member investigative team appointed by the state Department of Education is looking into allegations of mass grade changes at three public high schools in Montgomery. School Superintendent Barbara Thompson sought the department's help earlier this month after the Montgomery Advertiser reported that teachers who worked in Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis and Sidney Lanier high schools said they witnessed or participated in the improper changing of hundreds of grades.

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A lawsuit has been filed accusing the Alabama Department of Education of refusing to release school data showing the impact of Alabama's law cracking down on illegal immigrants has had on Hispanic students. The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery filed the lawsuit, which contends education officials have declined to release data on student enrollment before and after the immigration law was enacted. The lawsuit says the SPLC has requested a copy of information that education officials have sent to the U.S. Justice Department.

State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice says his department will investigate allegations of widespread grade changing in the Montgomery County public school system. Bice said on Friday that Montgomery Superintendent Barbara Thompson sought the department's help, and the investigation is beginning immediately. Teachers who worked in Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis and Sidney Lanier high schools in Montgomery said they witnessed or participated in the improper changing of hundreds of grades. Nearly 30 current and former employees were interviewed. The majority worked at Lee.

Birmingham Schools to Consider Layoffs, Demotions

Jul 16, 2012

Birmingham's school board is set to consider proposals by a state intervention team to lay off or demote about 200 people and delay the start of school by three days.

The items are on the agenda for the board's Tuesday meeting.

The layoffs have been considered in the past, but the board rejected them June 26, leading to the Alabama Department of Education taking over the city school district the following day.

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