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(The Birmingham News file/Joe Songer)
school leaders; and training middle school teachers and providing resources for pre Advanced Placement courses in those schools.
These aren't ideas handed down from on high by business, political or civic leaders. They were culled from more than 100 community meetings. They are ideas from people whose children attend Birmingham schools.
This region's leaders have exhibited far too few of those 13 behaviors over the years. Yet, there are signs of trust building, even in what, hands down, is the least trusted institution in the region: a scandal plagued Jefferson Adidas Originals Trainers Cheap County government.
It helps that county government has responded competently to the April 27 tornado devastation. Also, the commission earned the trust of eight cities and a majority of the county legislative delegation that support a limited home rule bill in the recently completed session of the Legislature. The bill would have allowed the commission to raise taxes by up to $50 million to maintain key services threatened by the loss of the county occupational tax.
billion and on the brink of bankruptcy, thanks to overspending, misspending and corruption. About two dozen people, including four former county commissioners, have been convicted or pleaded guilty to criminal activity related to the sewer system. Plus, the loss of $74 million in the county general fund after the occupational tax was ruled invalid has led to hundreds of layoffs among county employees and cuts in services.
So far, so good. But one senator, Scott Beason, R Gardendale, blocked the bill, not because he distrusted the commission, he said, but because it could have used reserves to make up the budget shortfall.
Birmingham area leaders must earn each others' and citizens' trust to improve the Adidas Neo Silver
For starters, Witherspoon appears to be the right superintendent at the right time, bringing ideas, energy and a sense of urgency to a system desperately in need of them. The Yes We Can! Birmingham effort, which grew into Ed, laid the groundwork for a unified voice with community input and business involvement. This past year, Huffman, Wenonah and Ramsay high schools, the city's three schools taking part in the A+ College Ready program, increased their passing scores 150 percent, proof that academic success stories are possible. Add Froning's great expertise on inner city schools, and Ed has a real chance to succeed.
Ed may well hold the key to our community's future by helping rebuild trust in a region saddled with corruption, incompetence, racial and geographic divisions, self interests all those things that shatter trust. That's a huge load to dump on Ed, but Ed could well be up to the task.
We recognize there are huge hurdles to overcome in creating trust for Ed and other efforts to improve our community, but there are also huge payoffs. Covey, who wrote "The Speed of Trust" and makes his living teaching business organizations what trust is, why it matters and how to grow it.
Ed has taken on no small challenge: improving Birmingham city schools. In April, it kicked off a $5.2 million fundraising campaign with plans to spend the money on four areas: boosting the involvement of and empowering parents through a Birmingham Parent University; establishing career academies at all high schools; supporting continued professional development for Adidas Originals Trainers Rare
The county's sewer system is in debt $3.2 Adidas Consortium Primeknit Pure Boost Review
Covey in today's Page 1 story by Charles J. Dean and Jeff Hansen describes 13 behaviors needed to build or restore trust: talk straight, demonstrate respect, create transparency, right wrongs, show loyalty, deliver results, get better, confront reality, clarify expectations, practice accountability, listen first, keep commitments, and extend trust.
So why trust Ed to the task, when improving Birmingham schools has been a staple among elected officials and superintendents for, quite literally, decades? For a number of reasons:
So who is this Ed guy and why is he so important? He is actually they. The members of the Birmingham Education Foundation, or Ed, as it is known, are a who's who of metro Birmingham business, civic, faith and neighborhood leaders working with top officials in the Birmingham City Schools system. They include: Ed board chairman Dr. Will Ferniany, CEO of the UAB Health System; Fred McCallum, president of AT Alabama; Ruffner Page, president of McWane Inc.; Donta Wilson, president of BB of Alabama; Robert Kelly, of Kelly Construction Co.; Birmingham City Councilman Roderick Royal, who chairs the council's education committee; neighborhood leaders Lee Loder, Gate City, and Leona Payne, Jones Valley; the Rev. Lawrence Conaway, a pastor at the Guiding Light Church; Elaine Jackson, president of the Birmingham Urban League; Myla Choy, vice president and general counsel of the Birmingham Business Alliance; and, of course, city schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon. Michael Froning, retired dean of the UAB School of Education, is Ed's executive director.
Do you trust Ed? And if you don't trust Ed, but Ed does something good that you never thought could happen, will you trust Ed and others like Ed when they try to do more good things?
Voters took it upon themselves to start rebuilding trust last fall when they elected new commissioners who have won generally good reviews for their ability to work together instead of engaging in petty, partisan battles and personal clashes like previous commissioners did.
Whatever the reason, Beason's shameful stand short circuited the commission's efforts to prove to citizens it can govern competently and earn their trust.
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