Many of us remember the 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray’s character, a local weatherman, discovers that every day is really the day before, which happened to be groundhog day.
Nothing really changes. Just round and round we go.
Which is what we’re doing in the Alabama Senate with the latest attempt to repeal the Alabama College & Career Ready standards. Last week, GOP Senator Dick Brewbaker, chair of the Senate Education & Youth Affairs Committee, gaveled another hearing into session. Brewbaker said to the committee and audience, “After many years and at least six or so public hearings on this bill in some form or fashion, I think I have come to the conclusion that our problem is not content standards, but rather the fact that we are a low-funding state.”
I did not attend this hearing. I’ve seen enough already. If you’ve seen a bad movie once, why go back the second time? Time after time I’ve listened to well-meaning folks tell us of the evils of Common Core and describe how the use of the new, more rigorous standards will scar our children for life. And I always find it interesting that educators I know well and trust do not share the opinion of my Tea Party friends. In fact, I have asked some opponents to go visit a school with me to see how the standards are being used. So far, none have agreed to do so.
One of the educators I trust is Jennifer Brown, a science teacher at Vestavia Hills high school and the current Alabama Teacher of the Year. She was at last week’s hearing. She spoke in favor of AACR. Here are her thoughts.
Time after time I have asked one of the opponents what they would like to do if ACCR standards are set aside. “Why, we’ll go back to the old standards.”
I invite everyone who really thinks this to go to this link on the Alabama Commission on Higher Education website. This is ACHE’s most recent compilation of Alabama high school graduates needing remediation when they get to college. These are for 2014 graduates who were enrolled in college in the fall of 2014.
Data is from 350 high schools. Only two had no graduates who did not need remedial classes. Little Fruitdale high in Washington County sent nine to college that fall. None of them had to remediate. And Loveless Academic Magnet Program in Montgomery (a school that has received national honors countless times for academic achievement) had 56 students enter college. None needed Remediation.
Of the 23,379 students in the high school class of 2014, 7,514 had to retake either (or both) math or English when they got to college. That is 32.1 percent.
Auburn high sent 307 to college, 54 needed remediation. Spanish Fort high had 20 of 129 who needed remediation. Vestavia Hills high had 25 of 312; Hoover high had 83 of 381. And of the 193 Mountain Brook high grads, eight had to repeat courses.
And this is what some folks want to go back, to?
This is as incomprehensible as someone who yells “Roll Tide” saying they want to replace Nick Saban with Mike Shula.