It’s not a surprise that Birmingham is in a state of crisis.
The city has become a symbol of decay.
More than 90 percent of its schools are in need of significant reform, according to the Birmingham Civil Rights Project.
Its mayor, Christopher L. Clements, is now running for governor, a position he’s been holding since he took office in 2014.
He’s promised a major overhaul of the city’s schools, but the public isn’t buying it.
As we all know, we’re on the verge of a major meltdown, Clements said in his 2016 campaign announcement.
“The school system is in desperate need of reform, not a wholesale reorganization of it,” he told the Birmingham News.
We’ve seen that, with the closure of schools across the country, from Detroit to Chicago, where teachers, principals and students are all in a panic, he said.
“I don’t think we can continue to have a system that we have where we’re just getting better but we’re also having a meltdown.”
Birmingham’s schools were once a magnet for families with kids in grades K through 12.
But the number of students at the school has plummeted in recent years.
In 2014, only about 25 percent of the students in Birmingham’s school district were in the eighth grade, according the school district.
Today, that number is just 14 percent.
By 2020, that figure is expected to drop to 13 percent.
The district’s graduation rate has dropped by more than 50 percent since 2010, according data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Birchdale Elementary School, where students sit on the floor, is also in crisis.
Its enrollment is currently at about 975 students, down from 1,800 in 2016.
And in March, the Birmingham Independent School District voted to shutter the district’s oldest elementary school.
At the same time, schools across Alabama are struggling to find funding for teachers, and other school leaders say the state isn’t paying enough attention to their needs.
One school district that has received a lot of support is Birmingham City Public Schools.
It received $1.7 million in federal stimulus funds in 2016, according an audit released by the Alabama Department of Education.
It is still trying to figure out how to pay for new classrooms, according Education Secretary Tom Perez.
He told the Alabama News that the district is on track to raise $1 million in the coming months.
Perez said in an email that Birmingham City School has received over $1 billion in federal funding, but that he can’t give an estimate on how much it will need in the next few months.
“Our funding formula has been adjusted over time to reflect a $4 billion increase in the federal stimulus,” he wrote.
Other states and localities have also taken notice.
New York City is also trying to fix its public schools, as is Washington, D.C. But even as these localities try to find the money to fix their schools, Birmingham has remained an outlier.
This is a crisis in America, and we’re going to fix it, Mayor Clements told the news station.
“We need to be focused on what we can do right now, not what we want to do.
We need to get to the root cause of what’s going on.”
Birmingham is not alone in its struggles with schools.
Other cities, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New Orleans, and Seattle, have been dealing with the same issues.