Gov. Bentley says Alabama education system “sucks”

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is under fire for recent comments he made about the state school system.

In an address to the Alabama Association of Regional Councils Conference luncheon, he said “our education system in this state sucks.”

Bentley went on to say the state scored 51st on NAEP test scores, a result that he found “intolerable.”

“We ain’t got but 50 states,” Bentley said. “That’s pretty sad. It’s intolerable, and we’re going to do something about it.”

On Wednesday, Bentley tried to clarify what he meant.

“We have to have new ideas. What we’re doing now is obviously not working,” Bentley said. “So we have to come with different ideas, different types of schools, we have to be flexible.”

Not everyone is happy with the governor’s explanation, including people like Amy Marlowe of the Alabama Education Association.

“We are appalled that the governor has chosen to use words that would not be allowed in any Alabama classroom to discredit the work that goes on every day by students doing the best they can and the hardworking men and women that serve those students,” Marlowe said.

Hansell Gunn is the principal of Gunn Christian School. He said he was shocked to hear the governor’s comments.

“I’m totally against that statement saying it sucks in a sense,” Gunn said. “Basically, I’m speaking for our teachers and the good schools I know I have been in.”

New State Superintendent of Education, Michael Sentance, praised teachers for their “commitment,” but said he agrees there’s room to improve.

“I certainly share Gov. Bentley’s passion about the urgency to make every aspect of public education in Alabama better-including its performance on national assessments,” Senteance stated.

On Wednesday, Bentley said the problems won’t necessarily be fixed by putting more money into the school system.

Instead, he said focus needs to be put on competent teachers, and said remedial training could be critical for teachers not comfortable with the material in the classrooms.

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