MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A select group of area high school students got a living history lesson in Mobile. They also took on the role of the media by questioning Alabama's top politician.
"It's always good to be here in Mobile," said Governor Robert Bentley.
Congressman Jo Bonner's annual workshop for high school leaders met at USA's Mitchell Center.
About 200 civics and economics students received a rare opportunity to speak to their governor in person.
"I was here. In fact, I was here Saturday. I was here honoring the Vietnam veteran's cause. I'm a Vietnam Veteran," said Governor Bentley.
The governor offered the group some homespun advice on leadership using his time as a medical doctor for background.
"I'll tell you. You can't fool babies and you can't fool dogs, and you can't fool people," said Governor Bentley.
The governor spoke about Alabama's economy. Then the quasi-journalists got their turn to ask him some tough questions, and the governor didn't pull any punches when answering.
"This four-by-four system that we have has disenfranchised a number of students in this state who are not going to go to college," said Governor Bentley.
One concerned college-bound student wanted the governor to give him a straight answer on possible education cuts:
"Our education budget is fine. I know education says they never have enough money, but it's going to be okay. It's going to be around $5.5 billion, and that's enough," said Governor Bentley.
Governor Bentley also said that high schools need more emphasis in career technology.
"So, I do put an emphasis on higher education, but it's also important to get people trained for jobs," said Governor Bentley.
One Foley high school student, who wrote Governor Bentley a letter earlier this year about the digital renaissance, got his answer in person.
"You know so much more about technology than I do. My granddaughter had to teach me how to text," said Governor Bentley. "And so, technology's part of life, and we understand that. And iPad's and things like that can certainly be used in your education."
The governor said if it saves money and educates, it's a good idea.
"I don't agree with it because they're getting rid of our textbooks. And honestly, that's what education is built on," said William McClelland, a senior at Foley High School.
Before leaving, the governor emphasized to the crowd that he believes local control of schools, strong principals and good teachers, is the way forward for Alabama.
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