James Rogers, Tony Jones and Jim Myles have three things in common. 1. They all live in the Huntsville area. 2. They are all retired Army generals. 3.They think the idea of repealing the Alabama College & Career Ready standards is a very bad idea.
Reporter Lee Roop with AL.com interviewed each of these men and came up with this report.
“Three Army generals who helped lead Huntsville’s recent growth have a message for Alabama lawmakers: Leave Common Core alone, they say.
“I just don’t understand it,” Maj. Gen. James Rogers (Ret.) said Thursday of the issue’s return. “It’s crazy.”
Ending Common Core would throw sand in a machine that is creating tens of thousands of jobs in Alabama and sending hundreds of millions in tax dollars to Montgomery, the generals say.
“We can’t continue the successes we’ve had if we can’t maintain the standards,” Lt. Gen. Tony Jones (Ret.) said Thursday.
“We’ve already fought this fight, and we’re making progress,” said Maj. Gen. Jim Myles (Ret.) “This isn’t moving forward. It’s moving backward.”
All three are surprised the issue has risen again after being defeated in the Alabama Legislature in 2013.
The generals say the repeal wouldn’t be fair to thousands of families who have decided to move to Alabama for jobs at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Airbus in Mobile, and the various automobile plants around the state. And it isn’t fair to families who aren’t moving anywhere, they say, but whose children might.
Jones, Rogers and Myles were leaders in the Army and at Alabama’s Army posts. Jones was chief of staff at U.S. Army Headquarters in Europe and commanded the Army Aviation Warfighting Center at Fort Rucker, Ala., among other commands. After retiring, he ran Boeing’s operations in Huntsville.
Jones mentioned the skilled FBI employees moving from Washington now to a new campus in Huntsville. The FBI has already announced 1,350 moves, and local leaders expect 4,000- to 5,000 new FBI jobs before the move is done.
“You’ve got a lot more engineers, scientists, business management people here,” Myles said. “They bring a certain pedigree and DNA inside of them. They realize the education’s important so, naturally, they want their kids to have the same input (they had).”
Joe Windle is the superintendent of the Tallapoosa County school system. Like the three men in Huntsville, he retired from the Army as a colonel in 1996. Since then he has been commandant at Lyman Ward military academy, principal at Reeltown high and superintendent. He totally agrees with the three generals.
“Our system has made a huge investment in time, money, resources and professional development unpacking the math and reading standards. Partnerships with AMSTI and ARI are paying off. Four of our five schools increased report card grades four to seven points. Two increased letter grades from C to B.”
“The contention that ACCR is bad for our schools is totally wrong.” adds Windle..