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Morton: Good news to share about education in Alabama

By By MICHELE GERLACH – Publisher
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Joe Morton said there's good education news in Alabama and bragged on local schools in his speech at the annual Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday night.
Morton said when he took office as state superintendent, the state Department of Education had a 71-page strategic plan that had evolved out of necessity and court cases.
Wanting to focus on the parts of the plan that were really important, he appointed a committee to shorten the document. After much work, the committee reduced the document from 71 pages to three.
Morton said he got an appointment with the governor, who serves as president of the state Board of Education, and went to present the three-page document to him. As he went through the presentation, Morton said, he was getting no feedback from the governor.
When the governor finally responded, he said, &#8220Joe, if you can get 71 pages down to three, it ought to be pretty east to take three pages and make it one,” Morton recalled.
Morton's answered the challenge, and used the one-page &#8220educational rule” for making and measuring progress grade by grade in Alabama as his topic Thursday night.
Every student should have safe and disciplined schools, quality teachers, challenging curricula and effective school leaders to prepare students for college, work and adulthood in the 21st century, he said.
Morton said the state hasn't tested beginning teachers since the 1980s because of a federal lawsuit.
Turning to local schools, Morton said he often talks about Brewton schools.
Morton praised the success Brewton Elementary School has had with reading scores as a result of the Alabama Reading Initiative. He said the county's schools also have done well, particularly Huxford Elementary School.