High court should explain its decision

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 22, 2002

Alabama public schools remain in a slight state of limbo, and their future needs to be resolved soon.

Last week, the Alabama Board of Education approved a $1.7 billion annual increase to help make the state’s schools "adequate."

If approved by the Legislature, the Board of Education’s plan would boost the annual expenditures for raising the educational bar to $5.7 billion per year.

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The move comes on the heels of a mysterious decision by the Alabama Supreme Court to reopen the 9-year-old court order that aimed to make state education more adequate and fair.

The court order was in direct response to a 1990 lawsuit over the inadequacies inherit in Alabama’s public education system.

If approved, the new plan would provide money to hire 3,300 additional teachers in an effort to shrink class size, increase the minimum number of school days, improve outdated and dilapidated schools and increase funding for textbooks and technology.

The plan is a thoughtful, important one that takes a big step toward improving Alabama’s public education system.

And all of those items specified in the plan would go a long way toward solving the "inadequacies" the courts have ruled are inherit in the system. And that’s a great thing. All

Alabamans need to have the best education possible.

But the Supreme Court’s decision to reconsider a court order, with little explanation, is puzzling. The court should explain its motives, and explain why it is revisiting this issue now.

We’ve debated the minimums, the basic adequacies of public education. And we’ve made a plan to address them. So why re-open a nine-year-old lawsuit?

The limbo should end, or else the traditional limbo song may become more apt, "how long can you go."

Our children, and our education system, deserve better.  

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