The Pachyderm Club of North Alabama will hold their next meeting on Friday, February 28th at 7:00 AM in the Sunny Street Cafe. The speaker this month is Mary Scott Hunter.
If you plan to attend, please email George Williams ( george1120 @ aol.com ) to let him know your headcount.
Mary Scott Hunter has extended an olive branch to her opponents. It is a nice gesture but too many in the opposition have dug in their heels. I doubt that her offer will be accepted.
In November the State Board of Education rescinded the Memorandum of Agreement with the publishers of Common Core State Standards. In January the State Board of Education removed the exemplar texts from the state standards documents.
This was a move designed to quiet objections by standards opponents. The exemplar texts list is published by Achieve. It contains some books that many people considered objectionable. Many opponents wrongly asserted that Alabama students would be required to read these books because future testing would include questions on these books. The assertion was wrong because the list was just a list of examples of the reading difficulty levels that students should be exposed to.
But to quell the objections the state board removed the entire appendix from the state’s Course of Study documents. The new English Language Arts Course of Study does not contain links to the exemplar texts.
A story on AL.com reports that the ALBoE has rescinded the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Many times in past months I’ve seen claims that Alabama cannot change the standards in part because of the MoA.
But now that the Alabama Board of Education has rescinded the MoA every Common Core opponent that has anything to say about the issue says that the move is meaningless. A document that was once central to their argument against Common Core State Standards is now meaningless.
Why has the importance changed? Because the MoA never had the power that opponents claimed it did. Alabama has always had the power to change the standards and always will.
The ALBoE only took this action to remove the fear that somehow the MoA restricted Alabama. They knew it wasn’t so but took the action because of the false claims of opponents.
What the ALBoE probably did not take into account is the duplicitous nature of the Common Core opponents. The opposition is based on falsehoods and gross exaggerations and no logical argument will dissuade them. No action short of returning to the old standards will mollify them.
When faced with unreasonable people it is best to ignore them and direct information to those who haven’t given themselves over to hysteria. It is people who are willing to listen to facts that the ALBoE must direct their efforts toward. The recent symbolic move by the ALBoE will help.
The folks with Graduate Ready, Impact Tomorrow have developed several brochures for teachers, parents, and businesses to help spread the facts about Alabama’s College and Career Readiness Standards. Take a look and share them with friends and neighbors.
Alabama State School Board member Mary Scott Hunter recently appeared in an interview on Alabama Public Television’s Capitol Journal. Don Dailey was the host and interviewer. The segment featuring Mary Scott Hunter starts at about 24:28.
The ALSDE has published a collection of documents about the College and Career Readiness Standards. Here is a good quote from the Frequently Asked Questions document.
The standards simply establish a clear set of goals and expectations that will prepare students with the knowledge and skills to help them succeed. It is up to local teachers, principals, superintendents, and others to decide how the standards will be reached. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their classrooms.
The website Alabama School Connection has an excellent article describing the process of adopting standards and fitting what is taught in the classroom to those standards – and everything in-between. It’s long, but an interesting read. I especially liked the graphic at the end that shows how the pieces of the process fit together.
If you are looking for something that you can give to people in defense of Common Core State Standards, go to this link. It will take you to a flier that dispels some of the prevailing falsehoods that are spread about Common Core State Standards.
A good question. This page on the Education Week website has several articles written by teachers who are using the Common Core standards. They each give advice on how they present the standards to parents of their students.