An editorial in the September 22 edition of The Birmingham News cited the work of Birmingham City School Superintendent Craig Witherspoon and the potential for one day winning the Broad Prize for Urban Education. We’re not there yet, as the editorial points out, but so many good things are happening under Witherspoon’s leadership, including Parent University and Advanced Placement work with A+ College Ready.
We believe Birmingham’s new Education Foundation (known as “Ed”) also is one of the ingredients of possible prize-winning success for Birmingham City Schools. Ed has joined with Witherspoon in pushing for these promising efforts, because Ed knows that parents want to be involved and they want their sons and daughters to succeed.
The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham played an important role in the creation of Ed through the grassroots initiative Yes We Can! Birmingham and the Community Agreement that guides the work of Ed. We still support Ed with leadership, advocacy and currently with a grant to a model dropout prevent program and we see positive change in the making.
Birmingham’s city system could and should be considered for a future Broad Prize if expansions in AP classes, career academies and other programs bear fruit, and it would be great to see our students receive $550,000 in college scholarships that go along with the prize. Whether we win the prize or not, improvements in our schools will benefit Birmingham as a community, because our students will get an even better education to prepare them for a bright future.