News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


A big, fat F for State Board of Education

The State Board of Education and interim Chancellor Thomas Corts had fundamental differences about cleaning up the two-year college mess. That's why he resigned Wednesday amid public criticism from board members that they were dissatisfied with his performance during his seven-month tenure.

Dr. Corts, the retired president of Samford University, wanted to reform the system; school board members wanted to clean out the nepotism and other activities within the system without getting to the crux of the problems.

He said the board's duties are too spread out, ranging from kindergarten to adult education. He suggested a separate board to run the two-year college system. Doing that, however, would cost board members the political power they wield.

Forcing Dr. Corts out doesn't make the school board look like its members want substantial change. They hired him because of his impeccable record and integrity at a time the board was under attack for the wide-ranging activities of former Chancellor Roy Johnson.

Hiring him was a masterful public relations move. Board members should have anticipated that Dr. Corts would first focus his cleanup operation at the top. After all, it took The Birmingham News to point out to board members the scandals taking place under their noses.

In a system where its students live and die by a grading system, the board gets a big fat F for allowing the scandal to flourish and for being unwilling to even discuss the possibility that the board needs to give up some duties.

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