When Birmingham Public Schools stopped offering free public speaking classes for birmingham students

By ALAN HARRISON | Staff reporterThe Birmingham Public School District will stop offering free speech classes for students who attend the school, which is part of a statewide overhaul of its curriculum that aims to make it more welcoming and diverse.

The move comes after a national outcry over what some called a “black-inclusive” curriculum, in which white students are largely absent and students of color are underrepresented.

The Birmingham school district’s board of education voted Monday to stop offering the free classes, which students must complete in person or online.

Board members voted unanimously to pass the move as well.

The board said they were forced to make the decision because of ongoing budget cuts and the closure of a private school, according to a release from the school district.

“I know this is not a decision that will affect all students, but it is a decision we have to make for our district,” said board member Michael C. Burt, a Republican.

“We have been very concerned about the impact that this will have on the lives of our students and for the students of our community.

It’s been a very difficult decision, but I know this has been the right one for us.”

Birmingham Public Schools Superintendent Tom Schlosser said in a statement that the school board’s decision to stop the classes was prompted by the district’s budget challenges.

“While we know that the district has been affected by the impact of budget cuts, the decisions made at the Board of Education reflect the best interests of our district and our students,” he said.

The district will now begin “a rigorous process to determine the best way forward” to ensure the district remains open.

The changes will take effect July 1.