News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
MONDAY, MAY 22, 2006


Byers for fourth term on state school board

Jonathan Putman of Birmingham is like so many other people who look from the outside and have definite opinions about solving public education's problems.

The former chief financial officer and executive vice president for Hanna Steel Corp. thinks he has something to contribute to the state school board and wants to replace incumbent David Byers in the 6th District, which includes Morgan County.

But he has some ideas that may not be best for public education, such as paying for students to attend private and religious schools and allowing those in poorly performing schools to transfer outside their district.

He would "empower" the public to remove "education bureaucrats that fail to do the job."

The Republican challenger sounds strident at a time when the state school board is moving public education in the right direction.

David Byers, in his three terms on the board, is part of that forward movement.

He cites academic accountability measures, the graduation test, and the testing program that rewards achievement and punishes failure.

There's more. During his tenure, the state began the highly acclaimed reading initiative, teacher testing, smaller class sizes, longer school years and higher standards for teacher education at colleges.

Sure, schools still have academic and discipline problems, but the state is making progress in resolving some of them.

Mr. Byers is an integral part of the solution and deserves nomination for a fourth term in the Republican June primary.

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